While cleaning out my Bay Area apartment this past weekend, I found my old travel diary from 2004—back when I decided to spend a few months rummaging through Eastern Europe alone. Not really the sentimental type, I quickly flipped through it to see if there was anything interesting I had forgotten about that summer, and came upon an interesting chart I had constructed at the very end of the notebook. After finishing the expedition and settling down in Germany (where I would spend the next eight months studying), I had made a list of my favorite cities and listed the reasons why I liked them, then cross-referenced that list with the cities where I had the best time (this is SO unlike me today, which is why it caught my attention). I wrote afterward:
“The cities where I had the most fun were the ones with the best people. It doesn’t matter how cultured or beautiful a city is if there’s no one there to enjoy it with. You need good people around if you’re going to have a good time. Note to self: make sure to have good people around in the future. It’s very important!”
Amen, 24 year old David Driscoll! You have no idea how right you are! I’m now following the advice of my younger self. The people are what make or break any city.