I moved to New York City in the summer of 2005 for grad school. I had dreams of working in a museum so I took a job with one of New York’s largest and most prominent arts organizations, working 40 hours a week for a $330 paycheck. When the guy I was dating got hired to barback at a small bar in Gramercy Park, I asked if I could train to bartend. I’d wrap up my Sunday shift on the phones at the arts organization and head to the bar where Katie very patiently taught me the mechanics of bartending and, more importantly, how to manage the crowd. When a Monday day shift opened up, they offered it to me, and soon after that I left the windowless basement phone room at the arts organization. Monday led to more shifts, at more bars, and eventually to one of the oldest bars in the East Village.
Painting courtesy of Stephen Gardner
I worked several other jobs during my years at Vazac’s, from managing a bar based around local products at a farm-to-table burger joint to cranking out $16 cocktails from a dank little hole for a gorgeous hotel roofdeck service bar, but I always felt like I had a family at that old corner bar. I met my husband Dan there; we were coworkers for years before we realized our relationship was turning into something more.
He went back to school to finish his bachelor’s degree when we first started dating, joking that by the time he graduated, his degree would be old enough to drink. He loved his time at the New School and started thinking about grad school soon after graduation. We both began to feel burned out on New York around the same time. The city changed, we changed, and we’ve both lived here longer than anywhere else continuously. He applied to University of Glasgow, and his acceptance letter in the fall meant we were moving to Scotland!
Almost six years ago, I took Dan back to my hometown to meet my parents. From there, we drove five hours to my family’s cabin in northern Wisconsin. We both point to that trip as the first time we thought this thing between us might be serious: just the two of us in the cabin enjoying comfortable silences.
We also discovered we road trip well together. Before we leave the US for the foreseeable future, we want to see more of it, and what better way than driving around it in my old car?
Four months, countless forests, National and State parks, monuments, hiking trails, campgrounds, ballparks, and a few great cities that we either haven’t been to yet or want to revisit. I’ll post pictures and stories; you give me recommendations (please)!