A three-day there-and-back trip involving airports and road trips is not my idea of a good time. However, I was promised two things: Charleston, South Carolina, and time with my little brother.
Jake, a group of our friends, and I left Ohio Friday afternoon to head south via Cleveland airport, flying into Myrtle and then, driving to Charleston. By the time we finally arrived at our hostel Friday night, I was in desperate need of beer.
We went out that evening, did a quick tour of downtown—which had changed markedly since my time living there nine years ago—and headed back to the hostel for some sleep. Everything felt crowded thanks to the Charleston Pride Festival, an event taking place in conjunction with our trip.
The thing about hostels: you share the area, which meant six of us friends had to share the room with two strangers, one of whom snored like a grizzly bear. I acquired approximately three hours of sleep from 2 to 8 AM, which was when I finally admitted defeat and took a shower.
No wonder horror movies take place in hostels.
(I did, incidentally, chat with Grizzly Bear Saturday morning. I jokingly asked him if he slept well. He didn’t get the joke.)
Pretty quickly, I realized Saturday was going to be a good day, though. Jake and I ditched our still-sleeping chums and headed to Sunrise Bistro for the best breakfast bagel in history, followed by The Bearded Café for cold brew coffee, where we were charmed by the cheerful owner.
With “the kids” awake (Jake and I call our friends “the kids” because they’re all about ten years younger than us), we headed to Folly Beach in our rented minivan. We stopped on the way for Firefly—sweet tea vodka, a Charleston staple. Cocktails in hand, we attacked the beach … or maybe the beach attacked us. The height of the waves was alarming, but we dove in headfirst. I only lost my top twice.
My bro and his wife arrived, and off we went to Taco Boy for margaritas and Mexican snacks. Something I love about Charleston is the endless beach vibe. The music, the clothes, the décor: everything screams, “You are on vacation,” even if you live there.
By the time I returned to my friends on the beach, I had a stomach full of tequila and quickly realized that, despite this, I was one of the most sober of the group because my gang hit up a bar and did shots in my absence.
Back at the hostel, we met a dozen other party animals, including travelers from France, England, and India (by way of New Jersey). As a massive group, we Ubered our way to the Recovery Room, where shenanigans included foosball, dancing to 90s rap, and having drinks spilled all over us by drunken strangers.
Following the purchase of thirteen-dollar burritos—worth it—we went to bed around 3 AM and got up at 8:30. Overall, I slept a total of about nine hours over the course of two nights. Again: worth it.
Sunday was spent reminiscing as we walked the Battery and Rainbow Row, stared over the edge of the Pavilion Hotel rooftop, and ate pralines before rushing to make our flight and, yes, almost missing it.
Whether it was the bit of confusion in regards to my guy friends (“Y’all must be here for that gay pride parade”), fear of the minivan back seat, or the realization that we were in “the path of totality” all weekend, I laughed for two days straight.
Did I feel worse Monday than Sunday? Of course, which means I must have still been drunk all day Sunday and the hangover just kicked in Monday morning. Am I a little old to be doing shots and dancing until 2 AM? Nah. That’s like saying I’m too old to laugh, and the laughter, the inside jokes, the awkward TMI conversations … those memories are evidence of a fabulous trip.
Good friends are great, but friends who can make you laugh until you might vomit are priceless.