I’m currently on a business trip – the kind where you spend more time traveling than doing business – and it’s landed me in Pittsburgh. Yesterday, I met Jasmine when she came to pick me up at the airport and shuttle me off to the hotel where I was staying for the night. The car journey was probably about 25 minutes, but I was the only passenger and Jasmine was friendly. She asked me where I was from and I told her New York and Boston. She said she’s never been farther north than Pennsylvania, but she has a goal to travel to all fifty states. She said she has a map where she checks off where she’s been and she counts it even if it’s a stop-over at an airport (which means she’s actually been as far north as Ohio). It reminded me of how I’ve technically been to half a dozen countries in Europe on the way to and from India, and dreamt my whole life about stepping out of one of the airports.
Jasmine asked me about Cape Cod – she wasn’t sure if it was in Massachusetts or Maine – and I told her that even though I had lived most of my life just outside Boston, I vacationed on the Cape for the first time last summer. I told her that the best time to go was the end of the summer because that’s when the weather would be warmest. I asked her what the best place she’d ever been was and she said it’s clichéd but Miami. I told her that I’ve been dying to go! We agreed that the best way to do it (or to travel anywhere, really) is to get a normal hotel (just clean, nothing fancy) and to spend your time out. She told me that she’s gone twice and is planning on going back this summer – it’s fast becoming her second home. Apparently the beaches are fantastic but the clubs are even more overpriced than New York – $39 for a couple “Sex-on-the-Beach”s?! Crazy. She told me she’s also been to Vegas and that was fun, but she’s really not much of a wild club-party type girl.
Then, Jasmine asked me what she should do if she visited NYC. Amongst my suggestions was to take in a Broadway play. This caught her attention – she told me about a Pittsburgh orchestra performance she had been to recently where the music was all from Pokémon. She said the whole experience was so different but she and her brother had been Pokémon fans as kids and the feeling when the whole audience sang the theme song together at the end was incredible. They are planning to attend a Final Fantasy concert later this year.
I liked Jasmine because she was so friendly and because I feel like in some ways we are at similar moments in our lives. We’re both trying to find new pleasures in life and remind ourselves that there are more things to do than just go out to eat or drink or to a movie. Sometimes all we need to do is say yes to something like a classical Pokémon concert, even if we don’t think of ourselves as classical music or Pokémon aficionados, because if we just say yes, we may just end up having the most unexpectedly great time.