After Seattle, I was seized by another fit of spontaneous action and booked a last minute flight to San Diego. I packed my only bright orange Virginia t-shirt, and something strange happened.

Orange power.

The West Coast UVA and Darden alums found me! Granted, it’s pretty hard to hide while wearing bright orange, and maybe since I’m a double Hoo (UVA undergrad and graduate school) it’s somehow more obvious to those in the know. At a coffeeshop a gentleman inquired about the shirt – turns out he’s a Darden alum with a superfabulous marketing gig at We had a pleasant chat and exchanged cards. Later on, browsing in a store, another conversation began with “Hey, did you go to Virginia?”

Why yes, yes I did. This UVA alum (who was rocking a cool Budweiser hat, no less!) has an equally awesome job running the Startup Garage and helping new entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground. It’s only a sample size of two, but I was struck by how friendly, nice and open both were. Random coincidence,  or the power of UVA orange in action? Either way, I’m loving the alum love. And I’m planning to be one of those enthusiastic alums with a sharp eye for UVA gear, ready to chat it up.  

After San Diego, I bopped up to Connecticut for a terrific Christmas, where I discovered I’m hilariously terrible at Wii dance (but really, why should lack of rhythm prevent anyone from Wii dancing?) and there’s nothing as good as a big funny friendly family. It’s been snowing like crazy here, and my flight back to Virginia was cancelled last night. I’m slightly worried about getting home to Charlottesville in time to make my next set of flights to the British Virgin Islands. It’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime, stretch-every-penny-of-student-loans opportunities I couldn’t say no to. In BVI, I’ll join 10 other Darden friends for a week-long sailing trip on a 46’ chartered catamaran! Had I been thinking (and packing) ahead, I would have made sure to include everything essential for the Caribbean already with me in Connecticut – in this case, my passport, a bikini and flippy floppies. And, of course, my orange t-shirt, just in case. Packing light, indeed. Happy New Year!

Just add bikini and buddies. Happy New Year!