After enduring 12 hours of travel, evil slot machines, layovers, hipsters, and car-wrecked bodies, it was time for my primary mission in Portland: The 10th anniversary party for Bootsnall.com!

I hosted my first blog on Bootsnall (which held the top 10 for a long time) and have wrote a handful of articles/essays for them over the years. The forums were instrumental in planning my very first vagabonding trip and I found the people there to be extremely friendly and helpful, unlike the dreadlocked elitists over at Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree.

I highly recommend them to anyone looking for an online home to be among vagabond friends.

Rolf Potts, one of my primary travel inspirations was at the party and I was able to nervously chat with him for a few minutes before someone else broke in. His book Vagabonding (affiliate link) really helped click the proper relays in my brain to make my new choice of lifestyle clearer…and I’ve never looked back. It was a thrill to meet the guy in person (who was much taller than expected)!

Also at the party I managed to meet Sean Keener, the co-founder of Bootsnall.com as well as his partner Chris and some of the staff. Some names I recognized from the forums, some I didn’t — but there were hundreds of travelers there to chat with, many just off the plane.

I don’t normally like to flaunt pictures of myself on my blog (I’d rather be the enigma behind the curtain pulling the levers) but here’s another one of Sean and myself. No, that is Redbull in my hand, not urine. I only drink that in the desert.

It was great hanging with Amanda, Jessica, and crew at the party and I was able to meet some new friends. A bunch of bad (some REALLY bad) Santas showed up at the party from Santacon — which apparently got so out of hand last year that they are now BANNED from downtown Portland!

I laughed so hard at the mental image of a horde of drunken Santas descending (as planned) upon the bars in downtown Portland and the ensuing chaos that followed.

All in all, the party was great — despite not even coming close to winning the raffled RTW ticket and free trip to Africa. Sadly, some non-Bootsnall member won the trip to Africa…

She didn’t even know what the party was for, apparently they just crashed it for the free drinks!  [breathing deeply — bottling rage for later]

There was a dance afterparty with DJ and we pretty much closed the place…this just might have to be a new annual tradition!