On an unusually warm Saturday evening in November, people from all walks of life gathered at REWILD in Washington, D.C.’s Capitol Hill neighborhood for Dreams Abroad’s inaugural Meet the Locals event.
There was a lot to celebrate at this inaugural event: over 500 published articles since Dreams Abroad’s launch, the success of the new “Meet the Locals” series, and the event itself—successfully bringing together an online community of local experts and travel professionals.
The event was hosted at REWILD, a plant store on a mission to connect people to nature. The co-owner, Joe Ressler, has been featured in Dreams Abroad’s “Meet the Locals” series, and REWILD offered the perfect backdrop for the event. The venue effortlessly established a celebratory atmosphere with its lush greenery and quaint charm, and REWILD’s staff were incredibly hospitable, going above and beyond to provide a great experience to attendees.
Surrounded by orchids, hoyas, and fiddle-leaf figs, strangers quickly became companions, connected to each other by Dream Abroad’s vision to create authentic spaces and cultivate community.
The evening began with light bites of apple cake and cider prepared by SugaChef—another D.C. local featured in Dreams Abroad’s “Meet the Locals” series. As they sampled the treats, guests swapped stories of traveling internationally and exploring Washington, D.C.
The group then wandered to REWILD’s back room for an official welcome by Dreams Abroad co-founder and the event organizer, Leesa Truesdell, followed by a few words from SugaChef. He thanked Truesdell for bringing the group together and called her vision for Dreams Abroad “inspiring.”
Then guests had the opportunity to get their hands a little dirty by learning how to build their own terrariums. The activity was led by Elyse and Paris, two incredible REWILD staff members and plant experts. They guided attendees on how to layer a glass bowl with rocks and soil, select succulents and cacti to plant, and finish off their designs with decorative moss in many colors, shiny rocks, and other art.
After they were finished, guests enjoyed walking around the table and hearing the inspiration behind each terrarium. One man created a terrarium with a dirt path down the middle, a nod to his love for hiking. Another used black stone in honor of a recent trip to Iceland where he saw lots of black terrain. Guests went home with their terrariums and instructions on how to take care of their creations.
Afterward, guests took photos with a Dreams Abroad balloon display and continued to get to know each other. “What brought you to tonight’s event?” was the most common question among guests, which easily segued to a shared passion for Dreams Abroad.
The party continued in celebration of Adam Rogers’ 60th birthday. Adam is not only a prolific writer, but also a longtime friend of Dreams Abroad and a noteworthy contributor. As a true global citizen, he’s celebrating his milestone birthday with six parties on six continents. This event was Adam’s party in North America, and the second in his series. Partnering with Adam in this celebration reflects Dreams Abroad’s mission of bringing people together, cheering each other on, and stopping to acknowledge the accomplishments of the community.
A sweet moment at the event included Dreams Abroad writer Austin Graff’s six-year-old daughter. After hearing SugaChef’s inspiring story of teaching D.C.’s youth about baking, she asked for a photo. “Your cake is very yummy,” she said before leaving for bedtime.
Other guests in attendance included Dreams Abroad co-founder Leesa Truesdell’s mother Ivette, and D.C. photographer Jarrett Hendrix, who perfectly captured the festivities.
With the success of this inaugural in-person event, Dreams Abroad is looking toward the future. Be on the lookout for upcoming meet-ups and additional opportunities to connect with locals, travel experts, and Dreams Abroad writers. The only thing missing is you!