I am back in America and anxious to see all of my friends, so traveling to three cities in six days didn’t seem like a big deal when I planned my trip to visit friends in New York, Boston and Cape Cod. It sounded like a great adventure, a return to my crazy city- and country-hopping days in Africa.

I landed in New York’s LaGuardia airport somewhere around 11:30pm. After a long day of work it took all my energy to pull my luggage through the airport and throw myself in cab. Driving through Queens and across 125th St. in Harlem at midnight doesn’t inspire much awe, but it was good to be back. I lived in NYC for a few years so I knew what to expect. The sweet smell of garbage on the summer sidewalk, the overheated subway cars, the noise. It was wonderful to take it all in my first morning back. I walked the upper west side, wandered through central park (in the rain), and had an essential NYC brunch. Then it was off to the races as I attempted, in 48hrs., to see all of my college friends, old work friends, and high school friends before making the slightly misguided decision to board a 2am train to Boston.

There is nothing like Penn Station at 2am. It’s too quiet, there are too few people, and too many of those few people are not getting on a train. You have to beware of the large zamboni type machine cleaning the floors and come prepared because nothing is open. It was a great relief to see one of my close friends from college walking towards me. We were meeting another friend on the train to Boston. She had ridden in from D.C. after work and we would join her, thus our 2am departure time.

Time passed slowly on that train, finding awkward ways to lay and attempt to get some sleep. The sun rose, the brakes stopped and we arrived in Boston. Luckily, we were being picked up from the station; because I’m not sure any of us had gotten enough sleep to do much navigating. We pulled our sleepily selves dressed in last night’s attire through the station as people rushed by in their business suits already late for work. It was as if we had done some kind of New York to Boston walk of shame.

After a wonderful and refueling diner breakfast we were off to Cape Cod! It was my first time and I was long overdue for a little time on the beach. Driving through the quaint town of Osterville, I fought my body’s deep desire for more sleep; there was far too much beach to be seen! With our cooler in hand we made our way to the sandy beach for an afternoon of lounging and catching up. It was the perfect setting for a girl’s weekend and was only topped by the ice cream, grilling and margaritas to follow. By 3pm my body was begging me to get back in bed, and my crankiness was starting to show, but I refused to relent. By 8pm my body had given up on getting the sleep it needed, by 10pm I had crashed. Clearly, the days of all nighters are over for me!
After Cape Cod it was back to Boston for a day at Southie Beach, rooftop margaritas and a night on the town, then back on the train to NYC (at the respectable hour of 1pm). After another night with friends in NYC it was back to airport and back to Chicago. It was a travel marathon well worth the lack of sleep!