Last spring, Deborah Ayala Srabstein planned what friends referred to as her “Eat, Pray, Love” trip. The 37-year-old had just come off a breakup when she decided to spend a month touring Southeast Asia on her own, seeking equal parts solitude and adventure.
“I sort of just said, ‘I’m going to pick myself up,’ ” she recalls.
Until her July departure date arrived, Srabstein was determined to have as much fun as possible. She gladly accepted an invitation to a monthly full moon hike organized by friends of friends. But when a friend offered her a ticket to see Elvis Costello at Wolf Trap. Srabstein couldn’t resist and e-mailed the hike’s organizer, Ari Houser, with her regrets. “If you want to join us, we have lawn tickets,” she added, mostly to be polite.
Houser accepted the offer. He’d met Srabstein on previous hikes, and it always seemed to him that they could be good friends. The two sat among a big group at the concert; as Srabstein was chatting about her birthday plans, she realized that Houser was within earshot and invited him to the party.