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As Elton Would Say….Philadelphia Freedom

A week from today I’m going on vacation. Actually, it technically starts this Friday since that day begins the long holiday weekend. But I don’t leave town until Tuesday. I believe it was back in April that I wrote in this blog that I’m feeling edgy and just have to get away. I wanted someplace not too far/not too expensive…with beauty and history. I decided that Philadelphia would fit that bill…and that I would take my first ever solo vacation.

So, on Tuesday, I’m boarding an Amtrak train in Boston and getting off at MetroPark, New Jersey to meet up with an old friend from my high school days. We both worked at the Cape Cod Mall together squeezing oranges and serving Orange Julius’ to the blue-haired masses. And, in case you’re wondering, an Orange Julius contains “fresh-squeezed orange juice, crushed ice, simple syrup and an all-natural dairy compound.”. Amazing that I remember that 15 years later. And, for the record…simple syrup is sugar and water, and the all-natural dairy compound is essentially powdered milk and powdered egg-whites. It looks like cocaine but smells really good!

Anyway, my friend, Mel, is picking me up at the train station promptly at 6:53 p.m. and I’ll spend the following day with her exploring the New Jersey coastline (Point Pleasant, I think). On Thursday, she’ll drop me off at the train station and I’ll head to Philadelphia. I’m staying at the Latham Hotel…so if you know horrible things about that place, let me know ASAP so I can find another hotel!

I still don’t know if I’m going to do all of the traditionally touristy things in Philadelphia. I mean, I’ll probably check out the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, but I’m more interested in seeing the city itself. I like roaming neighborhoods and seeing how the city works. I’m bringing my digital camera and should return home with lots of pictures to bore you with in my Photo Gallery.

Anyway, after a day or so of solo Philly exploration, I’m meeting up with my friend, Chris. He’s going to drive me out to New Hope, PA (apparently Pennsylvania’s version of Provincetown…on a smaller scale…and without the ocean…and with less gay people. OK – it’s probably a typical charming tourist trap with some gay people thrown in). But it sounds fun and pretty.

The next day, we’re planning to explore Longwood Gardens (south of Philly). It’s an enormous botanical garden park with fountains, etc… The stuff I’ve seen in brochures and on-line make it look amazing.

Finally, I return to Philly and do some more solo exploration and head back to Boston on Monday afternoon (July 12th).

I think this trip will be good for me. I’ve never really done anything alone before. Granted, I’m meeting up with people (Mel and Chris) along the way, but much of my time will be spent with myself – something I’ve never really done before. I went from living with family on Cape Cod, to living in a college dorm, to living with 2 room mates, to living with Matt for 9 years. I’m hoping this time away will give me an opportunity for some self-exploration and growth, while also exploring new territory (personally and geographically).

I just hope I don’t find myself to be a bad travel companion. In the immortal words of bad 1970’s music: “I’ve been to paradise, but I’ve never been to me.”


  1. Comment by chris on June 29, 2004 11:48 am

    oh new jersy! i am a (former) jersey boy, so i know where youre going to be at. i used to surf-well fall off the board-at spring lake,nj back in my more youthful days. point pleasant is a great seaside boardwalk experience complete with games and drunken karaoke and funnelcake!
    while youre in that neck of the woods, you ought to see a town a few minutes north of pt pleasant called Ocean Grove. it used to be a christian summer campground back in the day and the gays came and took it over and tarted the houses up. theres an olde-fashioned mainstreet with cafes and souvenir shops that you shouldnt miss strolling down.
    and youre getting off the train at metropark, which is literally 5 minutes from my mothers house. funny!

  2. Comment by Underling on June 29, 2004 1:18 pm

    I envy you your trip. Ironic, a friend of mine from the office will be in Pittsburgh all week next week on vacation.

    Alone time is very important to me. I live with family right now, so it’s tough for me to have the sort of privacy that I need. I’m planning on spending a week and a half at our family’s cabin in the mountains of New Mexico this September. It’s my “Congrats on making it for 3 years as a social worker” trip. I’m not even taking my cell phone with me. Just me, a stack of books and my laptop. I’m looking forward to it.
    Have fun. Be safe.

  3. Comment by Erica on June 29, 2004 3:15 pm

    I took my trip to Britain a couple years ago on my own. I did stay with friends or family for nearly the entire trip, and did a lot of touristy stuff with others, but I also did several days on my own, and really enjoyed it. No one to argue with about what pace to go at, which type of attraction to prioritize, etc. I think in some ways the ideal is to go with a friend, go your separate ways many of the days, and then meet up at night for dinner etc. That’s the one thing to be forewarned on, is that dinner alone when traveling can feel a bit too lonely – at least for me. You may really enjoy it. Just don’t let being alone mean you only eat takeout-type stuff. Or if you do, eat it somewhere pleasant.

  4. Comment by Karl on June 29, 2004 5:35 pm

    Oh, baby — never a good sign when someone quotes Charlene’s obscure 1981 “hit” ‘I’ve Never Been to Me’

    …worries me even more.

    No talking to strangers! And, if you see dead people — just come back home to me and Dusty!

  5. Comment by Will on June 30, 2004 9:40 am

    Well, have a good time! Longwood Gardens was most enjoyable. Fritz and I visited it a couple of years ago when he went to a reunion at the Quaker school south of Phidelphia where he spent his high school years. It’s lovely country down there.

  6. Comment by marria on August 19, 2005 1:13 am

    News on every hour.

  7. Comment by Cellular Phone Faceplates on September 17, 2005 10:53 am

    Used Cellular Phone

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