It’s a sign of the times that we’ve just spent the weekend in Vermont celebrating the union of a Jewish friend who works for the Huffington Post with a non-Jewish friend who works for Facebook married by a gay rabbi who conducted the wedding ceremony with an iPad.
Though I’ll always remember our own wedding as the best wedding ever, my friends Matt and Dana may have set a record for corralling the largest number of the most interesting and attractive people in the U.S. And they gathered all these folks together in idyllic Pittsfield, Vermont in a converted barn at Riverside Farm, and mixed it up with a non-stop stream of booze and an outrageously talented band who covered everything from The Jackson Five to Katy Perry with a flare that had everyone, young and old, out of their seats, kicking off their shoes and raising the roof like they’d just been told this was their last chance to dance ever.
And to think this wedding almost didn’t happen because of Hurricane Sandy. Last year’s devastation in Vermont at the hands of Hurricane Irene was fresh in everyone’s minds in the week running up to the wedding while we waited and wondered what would become of Vermont this year. At the time, Ryan and I hadn’t even booked our plane tickets because we couldn’t be sure until the last minute which airport we would fly out of or where we would be after the hurricane passed. In the end, we booked a flight out of Norfolk, Virginia, giving ourselves a deadline, which is always a worry when traveling by boat. But a deadline it was, so we pulled on our thermals and our winter hats and we motor-sailed like maniacs into the blistering wind for two days to get to a marina that would keep Hideaway and our cats safe while we took off for the green mountains.
I can tell you it didn’t take me long to adapt to land life again, especially since we were now indoors and enjoying the grossly underrated luxury of heat. Plus, I finally got to put on my running shoes and literally take off for the hills, which came in handy for sweating out some of my morning hangovers and lifting my mood (sailing in arctic temperatures + not getting off the boat for a week = grumpy Tasha).
My only concern then was how to answer the inevitable conversation starter, “Where do you live?” since we’d be mingling with lots of strangers. But as it turned out, this wasn’t a concern, as we were not unusual in this internationally savvy wedding crowd. No one even batted an eyelid when I said, “We live on a sailboat” or “We’re on our way to the Bahamas.” In fact, we found new friends in amazing couples of all ages, some of whom were sailors themselves, or travelers, or had quit their desk jobs to become snowboarding instructors, or did any number of fascinating things that fueled stimulating conversation for hours.
So, while I reunited with some good old college friends, Ryan and I also made some great new friends who we hope to keep in touch with and maybe even meet again one day when they themselves sail to the Caribbean or when we go up to Vermont to do some skiing.
And though you would think it’s hard to maintain friendships when you’re constantly on the move, to some degree we’ve always had to do it because we’ve always been on the move, traveling for work or pleasure and relocating to new cities or countries every few years, just like many of our friends. Which I guess is also a sign of these modern times, that people are traveling more and living farther away from their families and friends than they used to. Thankfully, the computer geniuses of the world keep developing new ways to help people like me keep in touch with their ever-growing network of international friends.
But Facebook can only do so much to maintain a friendship. Nothing holds a candle to good old-fashioned quality time hanging out with friends, which is one reason I love going to weddings. Not only are weddings the most joyous of celebrations, they’re also great opportunities to rekindle old friendships and meet new and interesting people I never would have met if my friends hadn’t brought us together.
So, even if I have to fight off a hurricane to traverse both land and sea by boat, plane, train and automobile to get to a friend’s wedding, I’ll always make the effort. And I have no doubt that I’ll be reunited with some of our friends as we sail south. Because just as a destination wedding is a great excuse to book a vacation, so is having a friend in the Bahamas!