RTW Travel: The Last Stop

New Years in Louisville 2007

I’ve just achieved one of my biggest accomplishments. Trekking volcanoes, running three marathons, and making it through grueling design school were not exactly a piece of cake; but this, this has been a tough one! I have managed to keep a big secret from my best friend, and as this post is going live on my blog, I am touching down in Portland, Oregon to see her for my last stop on this 8 1/2 month journey around the world. And the best part? She thinks I’m on my way to Madrid. It feels like I’ve been keeping this secret for at least six months but the reality is it’s only been three since I made the decision. I told her the flights from Barcelona to Portland were about $1400 and just too expensive to come. While that was true, I took advantage of this handy thing called a Student Identity card and got a hold of a student ticket that was much cheaper. I can’t tell you how ridiculously excited I am to see her and her reaction!

Graduation Day!

A Sweet History
Emily and her husband have been my bestest friends for about five years now. She and I met the first day of our first architecture class when we both transferred in to the program. Within weeks we were celebrating my 21st birthday together, pulling all-nighters in the architecture building, having movie nights, and laying out at the pool between classes together. It was summer, campus was deserted, and we were both at a transition point in our lives and with friends. It was perfect timing and whole-heartedly fate. There was a lot of mix-up with my admissions and I thought I wasn’t entering the program for a few more months- funny how things work out.

John trying to teach us a new darts game & how to keep score. We teamed up against him & still lost.

Then, enter her husband (boyfriend at the time). He was living in a different city but after they got married the following summer, he moved to Knoxville, and we became next door neighbors in the same apartment building. Emily and I attended design school for about 20 hours a week together, but when we weren’t at work or sleeping, we were spending virtually every other moment together as well.  The three of us were super close. However, after graduation, while I was bounding off to Africa, the two of them were packing up and heading west.

Emily flew to Chicago to support me in my first marathon- and ran the last mile with me!

I made a couple of visits to Portland and they came east for Christmas, but even the phone calls three or four times a week couldn’t make up for the time lost together. So when I took off on this trip it became much harder! Skype calls every other week just didn’t cut it at the end of the day. John knew all along that I was coming, and while his clueless wife is babysitting, he’s heading to the airport to ‘pick up his boss’. Oh, I love schemes like this… plus I like being called the boss. :)

Who doesn't love a themed Christmas party? Jackie & Kitty from That 70's Show

I can’t wait to spend the next five days in Portland! It’s my third time here in 18 months, but I really like the city and am so anxious to see my friends! I can’t think of a better way to conclude this amazing voyage then to come full circle and end it with the people who became my very first supporters of this trip. I spilled out my crazy plan to quit my job and pack up for this trip, and without hesitation their response was that I should do it. No questions asked. No freak-outs. No advice on why I shouldn’t do certain things. Just positive support and love. I definitely needed this when I battled doubts from people that didn’t truly know me and worry from my caring family. So, now that you have the scoop, there’s only one thing left for me to say:

Surprise Emily!

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