Meet my friend Lori.

I first met Lori when I was living on the central coast of California; she was one of my favorite regulars that came into the coffee shop I worked at. A sassy, genuine person who tips well is not all that common in the customer service game, so whenever Lori came in it was like a breath of fresh air.

Lori and I hung out "outside work" (we actually hung out at the coffee shop, but I was off the clock so it counts) one time before I moved back to New York, and she patiently helped me wade through all the fears and wonderings and hopes I had about moving back across the country. For all I knew that was one of the the last times I would see her. She was leaving soon to travel around Europe with her brother, and I wasn't even sure if I'd see her again before I moved. We both agreed that if given more time we'd probably be really close friends, and were thankful to have met.

It's amazing to me how life plays out sometimes. I never would have thought that this random customer would become someone I walk through the ups and downs of life with, but I feel like God whispers to me through experiences like this and reminds me that He really does know what He's doing, and even working a crappy part time job (one that I actually really enjoyed, don't get me wrong) can lead to opportunities and friendships we couldn't have planned.

Remaining true to her traveling nature, it wasn't all that long before I saw Lori again, as she found herself exploring around the east coast and decided to stop in my small town for a few days. She has a job where she can work from pretty much anywhere WIFI is available, and decided to throw her stuff in storage and go see the world.

What's really inspiring to me is that she has all these adventures, and manages to live within her means. This is something I see a lot of young people struggle with, myself included. I see all the amazing places people are going and get really jealous, all to find out that a lot of them are trust fund kids or are incredibly in debt. Lori on the other hand has actually found a way to do it all while also being a responsible adult; something I hope to wake up and be someday.

2014 has been a year that is rich in new friendships, and I was really grateful for the chance to show Lori around Utica twice this year. I love this city, and though it can get kind of a bad rap, I love the opportunity to show people all the wonderful places and people it contains. While I didn't convince Lori to move here quite yet, she got a pretty good taste for the area, and I think we'll see her come through again.

Lori has continued to travel around the US since she left Utica, but will be leaving American soil soon and heading to India in January. I'm so excited to hear about all the adventures still to come for this faithful friend. Hopefully one of these days I'll figure out how to do the same thing, and can adventure out to meet her.