If you're ever wondering where I developed my lust for planning, meet my mom. She's constantly planning events & trips for the family. As my brother & I were going to be in the States for Christmas, my mom decided that we should all drive up to New Orleans in the family RV, which she lovingly named Darvee. As soon as she uttered the words "New Orleans", the city began popping up everywhere in my & J's lives. We randomly started reading a novel called Hotel based in New Orleans & Jake's brother was accepted to Loyola University (Go Max!). On December 26, we packed up the RV and headed north.
Along the way, we stopped overnight in Pensacola at Blackwater River State Park and again in Mobile, Alabama where we saw Christmas lights at Bellingrath. These stops reminded us of the fun adventures that we've had at Fort De Soto & Hillsborough River State Park. On the 28th, we rolled into New Orleans & we were ready to explore. Although it was wet and freezing when we arrived, we braved the cold (literally) by getting onto the Hop On Hop Off open air bus. This is not a recommended activity if it happens to be rainy and 45° when you visit, especially if you have rice paper-thin skin like J. If you've ever even heard of New Orleans, you know that the first thing that you should do upon arrival is visit Cafe Du Monde, so we did just that. We waited for a cozy table for 8 of us & feverishly tore into some beignets and hot chocolate.
Over the next couple of days, we did everything that you could do in New Orleans. We went on a walking tour of the French Quarter & the Garden District, went on a (LAME) ghost tour and ate Po Boys. We also met John Goodman's dog, heard one too many stories about Nicolas Cage, met Phillip (the most soft-spoken tour guide alive), visited the WWII Museum & ate the yummiest hot dogs ever at a little dive on Magazine St. called Dat Dog (THOSE BUNS OMG).
One of the highlights of the trip for me was when J & I walked two miles in the cold to get to a sweet little record store called Euclid Records on New Years Eve. On our walk we talked about how scary growing up can be, our life goals & how happy we are that we get share so many experiences together. It's nice to have such a cool best friend // lover // partner in everything. When we got to Euclid, we browsed through records for over an hour. J & I were in heaven. Our final choices consisted of No Age, Descendents, No Doubt, Mean Jeans & Vampire Weekend. We were getting ready to head back when it started to pour. Rain + freezing cold temperatures = :( We popped into a little restaurant called Elizabeth's next door & got hot coffee then hitched a cab ride back to Jackson Square where we rung in 2014 with some fireworks, kisses & the dropping of the Fleur-de-lis.
We're also pretty proud of the fact that this trip led to the crossing off of two major items from our joint bucket list: "spend the holiday season together" & "be each others New Year's Kiss". I can't wait to knock some more of those out in 2014 (I'm looking at you, ride camels in Egypt.)
Traveling is always fun with J but this trip was even more special because we got to spend time adventuring with my family too. J & I absolutely cannot wait to fill the pages of Stellar Piece with more photos, words & memories this year. We're going to see new places, learn new things, eat more yummy food & grow together. Let's make 2014 the new "best one yet."
A & J