For the final leg of our journey, we packed up our suitcases and our Vegas hangovers and headed to the airport. For the last destination we were done with buses as we were headed east-side and although we prided ourselves on being troopers, busing it from coast to coast was a bit too ambitious. Two flights and a time zone change later, we landed in the sunny sleepy town of Richmond, Virginia, where we would spend the next week and a bit resting up and relaxing on Benji’s family’s ranch (not sure if it was technically a ranch, but they had horses so I think that qualifies it to be one! ) before heading back to reality.
After flying through the night, the first thing we did when we got to the house, was collapse into bed. Having curbed the tiredness slightly it was time to get dressed and head to the Richmond Ballet to watch a preview of their upcoming performance. I will never understand how those humans operate. They are so graceful yet strong and beautiful at the same time … I have so much respect for them, they’re insane! Next it was time to venture into town a little bit and grab some dinner. We ate at Heritage restaurant and my god was it goooddd, 10/10 would recommend if you’re ever in the area! After a lively few hours, you guessed it, it was back to bed to try and sleep off the rest of the exhaustion … it’s funny how you never realise how tired you are until you actually stop and rest!
The following day was Halloween. Now, the build up to this holiday had been going on since our stay in L.A. so we were expecting big things from the Americans. They did not disappoint. We headed to Benji’s cousin’s house on Hanover Street downtown and were met with absolute madness. It’s true what they say about America, everything is bigger and better. The street was drowning in lights, huge blow up Halloween characters, spider webs and people in the most bizarre yet fantastic costumes I’d ever seen. We spent the evening wandering about taking it all in and then relaxing with everyone at the house. It was so lovely to end our massive adventure with such a chill, homely last stop.
For the remainder of the week, we played it by ear each day and took advantage of having time to lie in and start the day at a leisurely pace. However being us, we couldn’t completely switch off and do nothing so we of course went on some excursions around the city. The VMFA art museum is well worth a visit. It’s got beautiful exhibitions with displays varying across all sorts of artistic genres, not to mention a really lovely restaurant overlooking the stunning grounds of the gallery. As well as the museum, we made it to a shopping mall – Short Pump, which was great and had every shop you could possibly want and more! I got up on a horse, which was something I wanted to do the moment I saw the majestic creatures milling around the paddocks in the front garden, and loved it. We also ventured to one of the city’s more hip areas, Carytown and tried the infamous fried chicken and waffles at New York Deli. Guys, honestly, this is the best thing to come out of America since McDonald’s. The rest of the time we either spent sleeping or hanging out with Benji’s family, walking their two gorgeous dogs!
Sadly, our time in Virginia soon came to an end and it was time to pack up for the last time (queue the tear drop emoji) as our holiday of a lifetime was over. Virginia was the best way I could possibly think of to end our rollercoaster of an adventure. It was perfect! We headed home feeling relaxed and recuperated and completely satisfied that we had seen and done everything that we had set out to at the beginning of our travels.
*SIDE NOTE: Seeing the world is an unrivalled experience that adds unspeakable value to your life and growth as a human being. If you haven’t already done it in some shape or form then, GO, NOW, FAST!
… back in the airport we were ready to face the next two days of travel – we had stupidly booked return flights from Vancouver so had to fly back up to Canada to get home. Landing back in Dublin was a strange feeling for both of us but we knew this trip was only the first of many more to come and we were both excited for what the future held back in Europe as we started our lives post graduation.