It is a humbling thing to put everything one owns into a 10×10 storage unit. Storage units in general are weird places — it’s the place we put the extra stuff we care too much about to get rid of but don’t have room for in our house… or in my case, where you put stuff when you don’t have a house at all.
I sold my car last week. That was the moment when this thing became real: when I passed the keys to the Dawn Treader across the table to the nice lady and realized, “I’m really moving around the world, and this is happening.” Then I signed a bunch of documents and Uber’d to the airport to pick up my rental car. It is a Kia Soul, in case you were wondering. And, yes, I do feel a little like a hamster driving it.
I’ve been doing a lot of walking lately… or hiking, if you want to get fancy about it. There are so many great hikes in the DC area — two of my favorites are Prince William Forest Park and Manassas Battlefield (First Manassas, not Second — blue blazes, not red, just trust me on this). Both are pretty isolated if that’s what you’re in the mood for. If you don’t have much time, there are lots of beautiful spots just along the GW Parkway south of Arlington.
But the very best walks are on the National Mall… it’s crowded and hot and potentially miserable. But walking among the marble monuments to our heroes, listening to all the people talking in different languages and yes, even listening to the tourists who don’t know the difference between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials just makes me happy.
The magic of watching the sunset behind the monuments never really gets old and takes me right back to when I was 16 and saw it for the first time. But two words of advice – if you come to DC (and you all should, it’s great): leave your flip-flops at home, and don’t stand on the left side of the Metro escalators.
Title quote: Shakespeare’s As You Like It.
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Word of advice 3 – go to the National Mall and visit the monuments at night when all the tourists with kids are in their hotel rooms. It’s perfectly safe with the Capital police all over, and the Korean War monument is especially mesmerizing!