I learned a valuable lesson in Colombia earlier this year – when you stay put, it’s only a matter of time before other world wanderers visit your neck of the woods. Of course it helps to live near a major city, and in my case, that city is the US capitol of Washington, DC.

Vanessa and I met Christmas Eve 2007, when we arrived in Queenstown via the same Stray bus. A few days later, we exchanged e-mail addresses as so often is the case, and stayed loosely in touch via Facebook. I skipped visiting her in Germany this past January, in part, due to the cold Winter weather. A few weeks ago I received a message that she would be visiting Washington, so I offered to play tour guide.

I took the metro to the Eastern Market station and walked to William Penn House, her Quaker-run hostel located on Capitol Hill. When I later joked about her hostel being run by Quakers, I realized she had no idea it was a religious group.

We set off down East Capitol Street, our first stop being the Supreme Court building. A few cameras were set up and a local homeless person was across the street yelling his objections to something or other. I mentioned it was the first day of the Court’s new session and this was a popular place for rallies to gain attention.



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  • David Lee

    In late 2007, I quit my job and left the comfortable life in the USA for the open road with nothing but a 20-pound backpack, a …

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