Getting out of D.C. (For the Day)

Getting out of D.C. (For the Day)

In the South, you really have to work to find something to do. A common pastime in Arkansas is wandering around the local Walmart for hours on end, not buying anything, just walking. If you want to travel in the South, it is a commitment, because often the nearest big city or vacation destination is in the adjacent state.

 

It is my theory that this constant struggle is how the concept of "Southern hospitality" came about. Since things are so spaced out, and life moves a little slower, one of the few consistent activities is conversation. Southern culture is centered on the concept of lazy afternoons on the porch - sitting, rocking, sipping, and always, always talking. So when I moved north (I know some people consider D.C. the South but....) it felt like a wonderland, where you can't help but try something different or travel somewhere new.

 

One of the biggest advantages of living in D.C. is that you can easily get out of D.C. A 30-minute Metro ride, and you're in Maryland or Virginia. Hop on a bus and in a couple hours you can be in some of the world's most famous cities: Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore. Luckily, you don't have to plan (or necessarily pay) for these trips either. The Washington Center plans weekend trips all the time that only require you to sign up!

 

Now, I haven't been to any of these cities (yet), but opportunities abound. Furthermore, even with my low low motivation to actually plan trips, I've been able to visit some wonderful areas. Hopefully this list of places will give y'all some good ideas, and simultaneously shame me to travel more.

 

The Great Outdoors

D.C. is beautiful in itself, but in a very metropolitan sense. Walking though cute neighborhoods and seeing huge monuments is lovely, but I often miss seeing more than four trees at once (shout out to Arkansas, the Natural State *air horn sound*). Luckily, my lovely sister lives in Maryland now and was kind enough to let me tag along with her to hike the Potomac.

 

Great Falls

Great Falls, where the Potomac River separates DC, Maryland, and Virginia, is great for hiking in DC

 

I understand that many do not have access to a car (or to a geographically close sibling). Fear not, for there are many more accessible places, just a Metro ride away. These include: Rock Creek Park, Anacostia River Park, and the National Arboretum! If you are feeling especially adventurous (and maybe if you just got paid) you can splurge on a trip to the Shenandoah National Park . I have not been yet, but if the amount of songs written about a place equates to how great that place is, then Shenandoah must be amazing.

 

Six Flags

While I do recommend Six Flags, I recommend it with some bitterness for I actually did not go - my friends went. This would have not been a problem if my roommate, who had never been on a rollercoaster before, had not gone. Much like a parent who misses their child's first steps, I was distraught.

 

Six Flags amusement park

Courtesy of fellow TWC blogger, Hélène

 

Regardless, especially for international students who have not experienced a bonafide American amusement park, I recommend spending a day with friends at Six Flags America. It's about a 30-minute ride away, but split among 4-5 people it shouldn't cost more than $10 each. And as I've heard (still bitter), it's very fun.

 

Business Trips

Depending on your internship site, you may or may not get the opportunity to go on a business trip. The people at my company are almost always traveling! As a PR agency, we have clients all across the globe and each particular campaign is almost always in need of interns to do the more menial tasks.

 

cute penguin with a briefcase

Courtesy of Giphy

 

So, while I was lucky enough to go to Portland, Maine for a week (and am being sent to Philadelphia next week), I spent most of the time on the trip stuffing envelopes. Despite the lack of exciting work, it was a great experience and I felt professional as hell (plus, a travel stipend here and there doesn't hurt). If the opportunity arises I strongly recommend taking it, but also don't feel pressured into going. These trips are fun experiences, but the point of a D.C. semester is to be in D.C. If you find yourself getting put on a plane every other week, speak to your supervisor, but once or twice won't hurt.

 

I know this hasn't been my usual reflection-based blog post, but I thought it was time for a break from reflection. So, remember my friends, opportunities abound! One of the most important things I've learned in D.C. is to say yes to every opportunity. That way, you don't necessarily have to plan anything yourself, just hop on other people's ideas and you'll be surprised how many amazing experiences you'll have by simply being open to them.

 

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