We’d already come halfway across the country for a family trip, and figured we may as well just keep on going. We knew we’d be heading to New York City to see Alexis’ brother Tony and Olivia, and of course our unofficial godson Gnarly. We wanted to see somewhere new first though. Alexis had never been to Philadelphia. It’d been a long time for me, and our friends Drew and Kelsie said they were in, so that settled it. It was a trip of exploration, late nights, loud music and drained glasses. I was run ragged by the end of it, but it’s always worth it. Tough to beat the company.

Going strong, fourteen years later.

One day my friend Drew told me he wanted to move into a new place with his girlfriend Kelsie. They really hadn’t been dating very long at all, and the new place was a pricey two year lease. There was never a thing not to like about Kelsie, but I still owed it to one of my best friends to warn him he might be rushing into something here. He agreed he was rushing in, but rushing into the right thing, so why wait. I remember thinking it to be pretty bold.

Turns out, they just signed a lifetime lease, and tied the knot. They married near Palm Springs on April Fools, because well, it’s Drew and Kelsie we’re talking about here. It was a beautiful Saturday.

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I asked the girl I’ve been crazy about (and driven crazy by) since the day I met her, to marry me. How we got from there to here is a long story. One that I’ll save for another time. But today, I want to tell you about the best day of my life.

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This is Michelle, and today is her birthday. She has a contagious smile and I swear, more teeth than the average person.

It’s really something when I stop to think about everything we’ve done, and everywhere we’ve been together. From my first drink, to my first stamp in my passport. Ten years is a long time when you’re young.

She’s seen me at my best, and helped pick me up at my worst. Through and through, one of my truest friends. I’ll know this one till the day I die.

Here we go.

Alexis. Drew. Magic Johnson’s Friday’s. LAX. San Jose. Terminal Drinking. More flying. My first stamp. Lima. Our apartment. Carolina. Sebastian. 4am 90s top 40. Taxis that weren’t taxis at all. Karaoke. Pisco sours. Sushi. Con permiso. Agua con gas. Agua sin gas. Tour busses. Catacombs. Chili’s. Our taxi ran out of gas. Ice cream. Another plane. Cusco. Our hostel. Cinemax. Michelle. Dancing in markets. Hiking. Hunted by wild dogs. Altitude sickness. Snickers grande. Canadian Irish pub. Dos mas please. A train. Aguas Calientes. Jurassic Park. Hot springs. Market bargaining. Machu Picchu. Touring. Hiking. Photo ops. Wonder. Naps. Rain. A late train. A missed bus. High-speed taxi driving. Intercepting and boarding our bus. Frostbite. Arequipa. Sand boarding fail. Rafting. Rafting rescue. Cerveza hunting. Bibs. Alpaca. Another plane. Back to Lima. More Chili’s. Ramada. Security cameras. More Cinemax. Another plane. San Jose. More flying. LAX. Mckenzie. Home.

That was my trip to Peru. Exhausting, but I wouldn’t do a thing differently. If this was difficult to grasp, then I described it perfectly. You really had to be there.

The best nights.

I’ve got some friends.

Taken in Chicago, Illinois, at Lollapalooza 2011. I’d tell tales of the adventure but I don’t want to break my poor sweet mother’s heart.

Michelle the Invincible.

Dan is one of my best friends. He’s a good guy, through and through.

This was his reply to our very dainty friend Michelle, when she was in pain from bumping her knee into I can’t remember what. I thought it was quite classy though.

My first car. My close friend Michelle’s Grandmother’s car. A brand new, used 1992 Ford Torus with 3 hubcaps, no AC, and a half broken tape deck. But she runs.