When I’d made up my mind that I wanted to celebrate my 30th birthday at the Happiest Place on Earth, I was so relieved that Zack was on board. It’s an expensive way to turn the proverbial calendar to a new decade, but Zack respected that this was my wish* — and in the end, I think he had as much of a blast** as I did. We camped out at Coronado Springs from Monday to Saturday, giving us four full days to explore the parks. We did one park per day, and ended up with amazing memories and a solid ranking of our favorite rides and parks.
*Caitlin had been talking about a Disney World trip for years and after we went to Disney Land last year it only fueled the fire more. I had to help make her birthday wish come true.
**I really loved it too. I hadn’t been since I was 16 either so I loved going back and riding some old favorites with Caitlin and making new favorites together.
Back on October 5, Zack and I took a trip to my favorite city to see my favorite band perform* in a world-class venue. This was about as far as our planning took us — we had a couple more activities on our must-do list, but this was probably the least-planned trip we’d ever taken**. From my perspective, this was by design. I wanted us to be able to wander new corners of NYC I’d never seen before. I’d come up with this plan to have us spend a day closing our eyes and selecting random stops on the subway map so we could really get a sense of the giant, bustling city that never sleeps. This ended up being a better plan in theory than in practice, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s go back to the beginning.
*I should explain that we were here to settle our LCD Soundsystem bet. Since LCD played a show less than five years after “retiring,” she had to pay for a concert of my choosing. When Sigur Ros announced their tour and had no Texas dates, I suggested the idea to Caitlin. She happily bought our tickets and I cashed in free miles and we were headed back to NY.
**It’s true. Typically we over-plan our trips and try to pack in three days worth of activities per day. We had nothing more than the concerts, a late night comedy show at the Cellar and an afternoon matinee of “Oh Hello” planned.
We stepped off the plane directly onto the runway in the tiny, adorable Jackson airport just after 10 p.m. Friday night. Our bags had been waiting for us for hours so we scooped them up, hugged Suzy and Sky and headed to their condo, but not before making an important stop. We pulled over in a clearing on a dark road so we could look up and see the best sky full of stars Caitlin and I had ever seen. It was incredible being able to see the Milky Way and endless constellations lighting up the dark Wyoming night*. We enjoyed the view in the chilly 40 degree Jackson air and headed home to sleep and get ready for a busy day in Jackson.
*Right away, I turned to Zack and asked, “Is there some job we can do here so we never have to leave?” That’s how incredible it was. Continue reading
I’ve wanted to do it every time it’s been offered to me. Free travel. And all you have to do is hang out for a bit. There was always a reason not to do it. Work the next morning. A wedding we couldn’t miss. But there we were, having coasted through the Austin airport with TSA pre-check, ready for our flight to Wyoming. We’d enjoyed the quick flight to Dallas, grabbed Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, split a pretzel and were at our gate when the offer came over the intercom: “We’re looking for two passengers who would be willing to give up their seat for a later flight in exchange for a $500 voucher.” We thought about it, but didn’t pull the trigger. Then they upped it to $700 each, more than the cost of our trip. We consulted with Suzy, she suggested hanging with her one afternoon wasn’t worth $1400* so we should make a day of it at the airport. And like our boy Viktor Navorski before us, we made the most of our time in “The Terminal.” Technically, The Terminals. We were free to bounce around from one to another based on who had the best spa or ice cream options. Here’s how we killed
7 9 hours in the Dallas airport.
*I definitely disagree with this sentiment, but I also sincerely appreciate her flexibility so we could get some flight monies! Continue reading
I set a personal record with 22,145 steps, or 9.61 miles walked on Saturday*. I got 5,000 in before we even fell asleep. LCD played until 1 a.m. and we more floated than walked back to our campsite. We put our tent up in the dark with help from our trusty new lanterns**, wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags and blankets and fell asleep around 2:30 a.m. It wasn’t the best night sleep***, but we stayed warm enough in the middle of the night and woke to a toasty tent. We were able air the tent out, play some Uno and take a nap before heading in. The Goddess salad and a whole lot more music was waiting for us.
*I don’t count my steps, but I DID double my “Move” goal on my Apple Watch for the first time ever.
**Zack really loves these lanterns, which I find adorable. I can’t really blame him, they were life savers out there.
***I had to pee. In a Port-O-Potty. In the dark. #pray4me #lanternlifesavers
I was in a mood as Zack and I drove through the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm. Leading up to our trip out to the California desert, I was in high spirits — blinded by a particularly strong musical lineup (Miike Snow! Christine & the Queens! M83! Run the Jewels! LCD SOUNDSYSTEM!!), all I could think about was experiencing live music performed by my favorites, dancing and singing with Zack. But as our rental car’s odometer ticked up mile after mile from San Diego to Indio, the reality of a California camping festival starting to play mind games with me. Would it be freezing at night again, making us incapable of falling asleep? Would the festival be filled with skinny, tan fashionistas who would make fun of me like so many mean girls at so many cafeteria tables? Would we even be able to ENJOY the music we’d traveled so far to experience, with scenesters filling up the fields? WOULD I HAVE TO POOP IN A PORT-O-POTTY?!?!?
I didn’t have nearly this many questions. I was more focused on: “We’re still going the correct way to Indio, right?” I knew Caitlin would have and was having those concerns, but I was hopeful we’d keep her warm and happy in the moment. Except for the port-o-potty moments. Those are more or less inevitable.
LCD Soundsystem is our band, but we’ve never had the chance to see them together*. The last time each of us saw them was the night before we met. We were both there the Saturday of their 2010 ACL show, but wouldn’t meet until the following night on the shuttle home. In a story we’ve told many times, Caitlin played their latest album as she drove me home and “I Can Change” became our song**. A few months later the band announced their final show ever would be April 2nd, 2011 at Madison Square Garden. Caitlin desperately wanted to drop everything and go***. I assured her they wouldn’t be retired long and bet her they’d be back within five years. The bet was that if they did return within five years, she’d pay our way to the first show back. If not, I’d take her to any show she wanted and pay our way. The bet finally came to a head this weekend.
*This always blows my mind a little bit.
**They are seriously such a huge part of our meeting and connection — I didn’t even OWN This Is Happening until after their performance on Saturday, when I went straight to the Waterloo tent and picked up a copy. Serendipity, indeed.
***My concert guru Melissa DID drop everything and go. Since I’d been recently laid off, I just didn’t have the capital to make it happen. Continue reading