You might think we’d be worn out from all the traveling, right? Well, you’re right. Not gonna lie, this trip was a lot. Starting with a 10-hour drive from Georgia to Maryland. Attending a State Fair, visiting a haunted fortress, and surfing in the ocean, we were just about burnt out from the adventures. So you can imagine the struggle when we arrived in Philidelphia the next night at 2 am. with no plan and nowhere to stay, but with solely 1 goal; to experience Pennsylvania. While all hope seemed lost, we wondered if it’d be better to reschedule this state for another weekend. But we pushed forward! And decided, “hey, if we’re stuck here.. we might as well explore!”. So that’s what we did, all the while reaching out to any friends we knew within a hundred miles. It was then in our deepest sorrows that we learned Lauren (aka New Jersey) was, wait for it, IN PHILLY that night celebrating her birthday with friends! And the real miracle? They had an Airbnb 5 minutes from us, and they offered us the floor space!! WOOHOO!! We’d never turn down a nice floor, so we grabbed our belongings and made our way to the room. We spent some time catching up and kissing everyone’s feet in sheer thanks for the incredible gift they had given us. But not too long after, the sleep deprivation really kicked in, and we crashed.
Now if I didn’t tell you that those wooden floors in the Airbnb were the most beautiful creations we’d ever seen, we’d be lying. Getting a full night’s rest for the first time in days what exactly what our team needed to get back on our feet and rejuvenate our spirits for adventure. We thanked our friends and started to explore the city.
We saw the city hall, went to Carlos Famous Bakery! (who do you think recommended that idea?) and even stopped by a convenience store to stock up on breakfast burritos. (hey, we’re on a college budget, remember?) Still looking for a place to volunteer, we made our way to the steps of a church service just being released, at a building labeled, “First Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia.”
The pastor was all too friendly, and after sharing with him our story and our mission, he was more than delighted to help. He told us that he and his congregation hosted a daily food drive to the local homeless population. They provided meals, clothing, and other crucial supplies that these individuals would have never had access to without them, and we were so grateful to be a part of that effort.
After a huge ‘thank you’ to the church and its volunteers, we made our way deeper into the city for one more quest: Cheesesteaks. You don’t have to be from Philly or even Pennsylvania for that matter to know that this city owns the cheesesteak. With hundreds of rivalring joints claiming the city’s greatest sandwich, we found ourselves right in the middle of the city’s most heated debate: Pat’s or Geno’s. Located right across from each other on a narrow street, it’s no wonder these two cheesesteak restaurants face competition. Having only cash, we decided to hit Geno’s first. One delicious cheesesteak later, and we had made our decision… But we could NEVERR tell you, otherwise, you’d never figure it out for yourself!
Well.. That’s about it. We waved goodbye to a newly aquainted city, and as we shared the road with Amish stagecoaches on the way back to Georgia, we reflected on our experiences from the past week and the lessons of humility that we would bring home to our own community.
–Hunter again! Something that really stood out to me on this trip was the kindness of strangers and friends alike. Our friends did not owe us anything, nor were they expected to, but offering their floors to us was the kindest and most needed relief we could have ever asked for. As well as the pastor and his congregation at the food drive. To simply see that no matter where we travel, there are individuals fighting for what’s right and supporting their community is inspiring, and continues to drive us towards completing our ultimate mission to make an impact all over the country. Thank you for the wisdom, Pennsylvania.
In loving memory of Brendon’s Mavic Pro drone, which was damaged in the field of service. You will be greatly missed.