It’s one of those Saturdays that feels like a Sunday and you’re chilling in Barnes and Noble because your bookshelf is way too familiar now. There are new architecture books, and though you know nothing about architecture, you plan to build an adult tree house one day and you need ideas. A fine, bowlegged gal, fine as all outdoors, is fingering through the neighboring photography books, and she smiles, and you smile back.
A caramel macchiato for her and vanilla bean frap for you, and you two are discussing favorite flowers, being frugal, and all the places you’ve been in the world, and how you both long to return. Like anytime other time in a bookstore, you sit for hours. This time it’s with company, and this time is better than all the other times. She has to leave to meet girlfriends for drinks, but would love to do this again. Or something just as great. You have an idea.
You remember catching the glimpse of a crazy dope flight deal this morning when you woke up. Something like a $50 round-trip flight to Bozeman, Montana. “Have you ever been to Montana,” you ask, having never been there yourself. “No,” she says, packing her bags to depart the cafe. “We should go next weekend. A first date. On me.” She laughs. Before she can stop laughing, you’ve already calculated that an average first date usually runs you close to $117. “Sure,” she says, smirking like “is this guy serious?” You are.
And why not? For the couple of days, you can find an Airbnb for cheap, discover new places together, and enjoy the “getting to know” phase in the same fashion as those who actually meet while traveling; faster, better, and more honest. Of course this requires that high levels of trust be in place, but you’re a true traveler, and you believe most people are good, so you trust her, and you know how to get her to trust you.
And if Montana is too strange, grab that same weekend bag and hop a flight using one of those Spirit or Frontier $20-$50 deals to Detroit, San Francisco, Seattle, or whatever that city was in Wyoming.
Here’s the catch: If you set the bar up there, you have to keep it up there.
Go. Date. Fly.
Darnell Lamont Walker, a self-professed traveling foodie, has been found sitting at tables eating baby goat sweetbreads, drinking tequila, and laughing loudly with strangers. The writer, filmmaker, artist, and sometimes photographer puts happiness above all.