Spirits of 76 Arlington VA

Two Weeks Transiting the US from Asia to Europe: Stop 3 Washington, DC

After five glorious months as digital nomads in southeast Asia and Australia we spent two weeks transiting the US from Asia to Europe.

We landed in Los Angeles from a pretty awesome but also kind of weird Hong Kong Airlines business class flight from Hong Kong.

Then we spent a few days in LA hanging out with a Hollywood actor.

From there, we moved on to Boulder, Colorado to spend some time with my kids!

Next it was on to Washington, DC, where we had lived before launching as digital nomads, to spend time with my family and see friends and former work colleagues.

Lisa was in the front seat of our Uber so my daughter had to do the video honors this time:

Getting to DC

As we were planning our 2 weeks in the USA, Lisa stumbled upon a one-way business class fare between Denver and Dulles Airport in the DC area that was basically the same price as a one-way coach ticket.

And best of all, it was for a business class seat on a widebody 787 with layflat seats!

So we splurged just a little and took the big plane.

We should have known it was too good to be true. Our flight kept getting delayed…and United kept changing their story as to why.

First it was that it left late from London. Then they blamed thunderstorms Denver. Then, mysteriously, they blamed thunderstorms in Denver YESTERDAY for the delay today.

In the end we didn’t board until about 7 and didn’t land until well after midnight.

But when we finally flew, we flew in style!

Where to Stay

DC is an expensive place to stay.


Luckily, when we left DC to become digital nomads, our good friend Elaine gave us a standing offer to crash at her house in the Courthouse area of Arlington, Virginia.

Elaine’s hobby is renovating houses and her current home is practically a work of art: every detail is curated!

Bathroom vanity? Recovered and restored bureau! Yeah, it’s like that. Martha Stewart…with taste!

So we enthusiastically took her up on the standing offer!

Plus it gave us someone interesting to talk to in the morning other than each other for a couple days! 🙂

Family Dinner

I was raised in Arlington, Virginia. And most of my family still lives in the DC/Northern Virginia area.

So when I told my parents that we were coming to visit for a couple of days my dad suggested a big family dinner.

Our family is WAY too big for a family dinner at home so, as a nod to our keto way of eating, he arranged for dinner at an all-you-can-eat Brazilian Steakhouse in the Tysons Corner area.

Both of my surviving brothers were there with their wives and kids. My oldest brother sadly passed away a couple years ago, but his son was there. My sister and her daughter were in attendance despite being freshly back from a cruise across the Atlantic. My daughter who lives in DC (see video above) came and brought her roomate along. And my cousin and his partner showed up too!

It was a wonderful evening of catching up and swapping stories.

It was also a keto-friendly meal to remember, with pounds and pounds of meat being pounded by hungry family members!

Washington DC for a few days
Matt’s Family Dinner
Washington DC for a few days
Matt’s Mom and Dad – Yes, My Mother is a Lannister (Her Necklace)!

My dad (being my dad) gave a really lovely/sardonic speech/toast. First he described me as the prodigal son who had come home (briefly) from whatever it is that makes such sons so prodigious.

Then he pointed out the facts: Lisa and I are unemployed, homeless and live our lives moving from place to place.

In other words, he asserted, we are hobos.

There was much laughter and agreement.

Lisa and I are hobos riding the rails!!! Cheers!

A Photo of Lisa Helping Me Into an Airplane Business Class Cabin, Circa 1932

Nightcap Charlie

After dinner my parents invited us back to their house in Arlington for a nightcap.

This has become a bit of a tradition…one we really adore.

So we sat talking about business and life and plans and dreams for a couple more hours over some lovely wine.

And I got to bond with my sister’s dog, Charlie, who was spending the night at my parents’ house.

Charlie is a cute dog, but his real talent is camouflaging himself into his doggie bed.

No, seriously! See if you can see him! It’s like ‘Where’s Waldo’!

Washington DC for a few days
Wait! Where the Hell Did He Go!?!!?

Visiting Former Colleagues at the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association

The next day Lisa and Elaine took a mani-pedi spa day and I went and visited my former colleagues from work.

I wrote extensively about my ambivalence over leaving a fast-rising career to become a digital nomad. And some days that ambivalence is as strong as ever. Other days it is completely gone because, well, digital nomadism ROCKS!

I also wrote about my former CEO whom I considered to be a mentor.

Well, he decided to move on too…not to digital nomadism…but to lead a different organization that aligns perfectly with his passion for boating and fishing.

So I went to Reston, Virginia and saw the team before he left.

I enjoyed the personal conversations so very much. There are so many brilliant and talented people working in that organization.

And I also got some invaluable business advice from the Go RVing advertising team.

They are top-notch social media gurus and gave me some great (and free!) advice about this blog as well as our social media efforts around Saucey Socks and Chic, including this awesome weekender bag that Lisa designed and sourced while we were digital nomading in Chiang Mai.

Overall, though, it was a bittersweet visit.

Everything was exactly the same: it felt like I never left.

Yet everything was completely different: I saw that life goes on without me.

I won’t lie: I laughed AND I cried.

I really and truly do miss being a part of that team.

Now please don’t get me wrong: I don’t miss it nearly enough to leave the full-time travel lifestyle!! But – you know – enough to sigh heavily. 🙂

I invited them all to my birthday party in London in November. They BETTER come!

Back to Our Local – The Spirits of ’76

I also invited them all to our former local that night: the Spirits of ’76 in Arlington, Virginia.

It just so happens to be the best bar in the world.

The owner is Paddy Doody. I met Paddy 15 years ago when he was a young bartender running a pub quiz on Wednesday nights.

As a bar owner he has created the PERFECT neighborhood bar. We met and become friends with so many awesome people at Spirits because it’s a SOCIAL bar, not a meat market or a dive bar.

I don’t know how he’s pulls off a social neighborhood bar in the Yuppie mecca of Clarendon, but he does.

So we arranged to have a happy hour there while we were in town.

And we were thrilled as well as humbled by the turnout. Old friends, new friends, work friends, FlyerTalk friends.

Spirits of 76 Arlington VA
The Gang at One Point In the Evening

We stayed late into the night as other Spirits of ’76 regulars popped in to say hello. It was just like old times!

Bottom Line

We had a fun, jam-packed and emotional couple days in the DC area. It was wonderful to reconnect with friends, family and former colleagues.

But the reality was that we had flown half way around the world for a dance recital. And that dance recital was happening in a couple of days in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

So we jumped in our rental car and headed north!

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