I drove into Brooklyn this week to experience my first legit networking party. I didn’t know what to expect, but that’s what intrigued me about it. I’ve been reading and obsessing about this online travel magazine called Matador (and now sosauce) where there are endless, really well written articles on everything from inspiring people who travel for a living, to ‘fifty things to do before you die’, to travel writing tips. I joined their network and started another blog- a travel blog. I’m not yet the traveler, but one can dream, right?
A post for a BBQ in Brooklyn popped up while I was drooling over the numerous adventure stories, so I RSVP’d and called my fellow spontaneous-random-trip-taking friends and filled my tank. My girl, Karen, came and we swapped life stories on the drive down the belt parkway… I hardly take my trusty Pontiac into the city, so thank goodness for my iPhone…
The party was in an adorable neighborhood ‘garden’ hugging the side of a bunch of apartment buildings. I recognized the enchanting trees and walkway from the pictures. We grabbed our raffle ticket (which I later had won a prize with!) and weaved our way through the group of eclectic individuals. We weren’t sure how to approach these people who all seemed to already know each other, but within minutes of absorbing the bright greens of the garden and the soothing, but fun music from the DJ, we were greeted by a warm, enthusiastic woman, Cindy. She welcomed us, asked us about our lives, made us laugh and introduced us to her brother and friends who are a part of or started these travel communities… I’ve been lusting to change scenery, climate, states, countries- anything to culture and enrich my life- but after this week, it’s confirmed that I officially admire travelers, writers, adventurers, do-gooders or anyone who takes risks and goes wherever life takes them.
Meeting new people is different and intoxicating. Something can be said about strangers who want to bring you into their world and educate you. I do, however, consider myself lucky to have the life I do, the close, large family I live with and the friends who, well, mean the world to me. I have inspiration all around me and every day. Of course, I’m still teaching myself how to capture and exercise it all…but it’s there! …Cindy and her friends were wonderful people and her stories about living in Africa and being a nutritionist were awe-inspiring, but someone else there amazed and captivated me- and not for the first time…
We all have our strengths, positives and that special something that sets us apart from the others. (It’s obvious that I’m still learning to use mine.) Karen is one of my best friends, even after only a few years. Her life, stories, charm, strength, family, beauty and heart fascinate me. I can certainly say this about all of my friends, but she left a particularly strong impression on my this week and I felt compelled to tell her. Spending the evening with her at this event left me appreciating and admiring her all the more. We reminisced about becoming friends and this is pretty much how it went down. Karen: “Hi, gina, you’re cute, can we be friends?”. We have been bests ever since. Something we have in common is we can read people well and were attracted to each other’s energy. While talking to our new Brooklyn friends, I listened to her, and was reminded why we’re friends. She’s exploding with this energy and brightness I don’t think I’ve seen in anyone else I’ve ever met. She can charm the pants off anyone, every time, including me (and I’ve heard her stories tons of times)! I thought I was sociable and an extrovert, but I find myself listening more than talking when she’s around. Recently, I heard of her dreams to move to BK and work her ideal job and I respect and support it completely… it’s also closer and more tangible than I think she knows. I’ve habitually been better at giving advice than receiving and my advice to her has been what everyone we met that night was also telling her; to cut the strings that have been holding her here and pursue. Because exuberance like hers needs to be let loose!
I hope to employ the admiration I have towards these people or their lives and motivate myself to set goals and eventually live out my aspirations. Whether it be as small-scale as getting my writing published or as life-changing as moving across-or out of- the country, I’m slowly setting priorities to make things happen. 😉