The great thing about traveling alone is that you’re only alone as much as you want to be. Since I’ve been on the road I’ve made more friends and been invited on more adventures than ever. Take Beaumont, TX for example, I got in touch with Stephanie Molina, Director of Beaumont’s CVB, before I rolled into town and she helped me map out a day’s worth of things to see and do. She also suggested I stay at the MCM Elegante which was a welcome change to the FEMA trailer. I even had my own private hot tub.
Stephanie met me for coffee at Rao’s Bakery on Calder Street. We ordered coffee and shared a dark chocolate iced doughnut. Owner, Jake Tortorice joined us and before long I felt like a regular at the place. (The following day I returned for a coffee on my way out of town and asked for directions from a local legend I met the day before, and the whole place jumped in to tell me their favorite scenic route.)
After Rao’s I met up with Chef Monica at The Banh Mon Renegade Food Truck where I was greeted by Nathaniel. He may be the best-looking cowboy in town and one of the friendliest guys I’ve ever met. He insisted on taking me horseback riding for the afternoon and I wasn’t going to say no. More on that in a minute.
Meanwhile, Monica’s sidekick, Kimberly introduced me around and John, Monica’s husband, entertained the lunch crowd on his guitar. Before long everyone was trading instruments and throwing out requests. Then Maggie showed up and insisted I check out of the hotel and stay in her casita for the night. She wouldn’t take no for an answer so I obliged.
After the lunch crowd thinned and Monica and I chatted, Nathaniel showed back up to take me riding. We went to his friend’s ranch and saddled up two horses, went riding for a while and talked about life a little. No better place to get to know someone than out in the middle of no where on horse back. When we got back to the barn he and his buddy taught me how to rope a steer. Full-on roping lesson. Checked it off my list.
About that time Monica called to say that Jack’s Pak Itwas having a cookout that night and we could pick up steaks and have a little party at Maggie’s. Seriously, I couldn’t believe how cool these folks are. So, Nathaniel and I left the barn and headed back toward Monica’s. On the way, though, he took me to his favorite creek for a quick dip. It’s a sanctuary of a spot and I hesitate to even out it by name.
The party at Maggie’s was so fun– kids were swimming in the pool and everyone treated me like I was a regular in their little gang. The steaks were great and the wine was flowing. After dinner we walked across the street to Logon Cafe to hear John play some more. Stayed late but once Maggie and I got back to her place we talked until way after midnight. At 8:30 that morning I had no idea what a fantastic time I would have. Their kindness and openness taught me a lot about what it means to be truly hospitable. I arrived knowing no one and walked away with great memories and new friends. Thank you.
Beaumont Convention and Visitor’s Bureau Take a look here for great things to see and do in Beaumont.
Rao’s Bakery 2596 Calder St, Beaumont, TX Order the featured drip coffee of the day and a dark chocolate iced doughnut. Trust me.
Banh Mon Renegade Food Truck Don’t miss! Order the Blackstrap Pork Banh Mon.
Jack’s Pak It 4505 Calder Beaumont, TX
Logon Cafe 3805 Calder Avenue Beaumont, TX
I’m a big fan of the Stretch 2012 – it is great to receive live coverage of this authentic and often-times spontaneous adventure.
I also had the opportunity to soak up every word at a recent conference from some folks following their bliss. Some that really inspired are John Durant, sometimes referred to as “the Caveman,” whose blog, http://hunter-gatherer.com/ outlines his healthy lifestyle in the confines of NY city. The other is Michael Malice, http://www.michaelmalice.com/, a real comedian who cowrites novels with celebrities.
I hope to someday give back the way these two young guys already are, and to be as kind and genuine to everyone coming across my path… Thanks John and Michael for the inspiration!