Last weekend found Mr. Muse and me on a weekend getaway trip with a couple with whom we’ve become good friends. They are actually like family, at least as close as you can get without being genetically related or have a legal document hanging around proving it. This couple has also become one of our favorite traveling/adventure-having friends. The subject of traveling, and traveling “easy,” came up with them over dinner one of the nights, which got me thinking about why it is that certain people are just easier to travel with than others.
I love traveling. I love seeing new places, exotic or domestic, because the novelty of the new sounds, sights, and smells is inspirational. These sounds/sights/smells snuggle up to my soul and wrap it in a big, warm hug. I’ve made fast friends with people I’ve met while traveling and adventure-having. Travel has opened my mind to new ideas and caused me to crack my hard shell, letting my Cadbury-egg-insides* ooze out just a little bit.
My love of travel runs so deeply within me that this first half of 2017 had me reevaluating my desire to work for myself, writing, and the income it takes to indulge in what, if I have one, is my life’s passion. Guess what won.
Next week starts a new chapter in my working career, once again, choosing the role of Super Awesome Office Ninja. The months leading up to this point have included a lot of conversations about what I find important, what Mr. Muse and I want to do in the future, and how we intend to get there. Writing is still something I want to do – and keep doing – but let’s face it, modeling is like writing: everyone wants you to do it for free. Since decent pay is a unicorn in the world of creativity, and one of the things I most love to do is write about where I travel, I wasn’t left with many options. If A, then B.
But, back to the subject I led off with! Traveling is a big adventure for me, and while I like to plan most of my days, whether at work or home, so I can arrange tasks in a logical manner, I don’t plan out everything for travel. Sure, there may be some solid plans; for instance, last weekend we had hotel reservations, had tickets to see U2 at Soldier Field for their Joshua Tree Tour, and we knew we were going to The Museum of Science and Industry, but everything else was on the fly.
There is a free-and-easiness to traveling without having everything scheduled. Some of my fast-friends-made-while-adventuring always seem to be off on adventures in distant locations (currently one is in South America, and another just landed in Morocco last weekend), and what I’ve found is that those who seem to get the most from their travels – only plan the basics. Everything else is a happy accident or serendipitous.
We arrived in Chicago with the thought that perhaps we’d go on the Architectural Boat Tour that all of us had heard about from various people. So, as we neared the city, rather than head to the hotel, we headed to downtown, bought tickets, and boarded Chicago’s First Lady Architecture Boat Tour. If you’ve never been on this tour – I recommend it. While our necks got a little sore towards the end, we were all enthralled with the vast quantity of information. I was happy to hear about buildings I’d wondered about in my past visits, and the tour had four elated customers afterward.
Chicago has recently redone their riverfront similar to what you’d find in San Antonio, or Austin, TX. We were delighted! After our tour we chatted, relaxed, and people-watched while we sipped expensive plastic cups of wine at Cyrano’s Café & Wine Bar and then headed back to our hotel where we grabbed dinner.
And this is where the conversation came up about the ease, or difficulty, of traveling with some people versus others. Mr. Muse and I like to plan the basics, but everything else is up for grabs; the same goes for this couple. There is no rushing about, virtually zero timetable, and an openness to trying new places and experiences; a desire to just enjoy the time spent with friends.
I’m sure we have all traveled with people who are the opposite. Everything is planned. Every moment accounted for and scheduled. Plans cannot change, or the planner is driven to such a high degree of stress that everyone else (who has already had the fun beaten out of the trip) gives into their every whim in an attempt to keep the stress levels somewhat bearable.
Trips like that are no fun for anyone. Now, that’s not to say you won’t create some wonderful memories, but there always seems to be this slight discoloration to the happiness surrounding them. The, “I had a good time, but it would have been better if” sort of thing.
So, our Saturday night was spent dining, enjoying a glass of wine, and resting up for the next day. Sunday, we spent six hours (including about 45 minutes at the Brain Food Court within the museum) at The Museum of Science and Industry. We didn’t see it all. Also, the self-service kiosks were goofy, telling us that the tours of the U-boat were sold out (but they weren’t, so we didn’t get to see the inside). We want to go back.
I attended my biggest concert ever with seeing U2 at Soldier Field with 40k+ attendees. We sat in the second-from-the-top row WAY up in the nosebleeds, but you know what? We had a spectacular view of Lake Michigan, the Navy Pier to the North, and all the way down into Indiana to the South. It didn’t rain, and the breeze was lovely.
We tried new restaurants for breakfast both Saturday (Blue Gilly’s Pancake Pier & Lunch Dock – it’s a gluten free PARADISE!) and Monday (Kappy’s American Grill – yes, LOTS of GF options, here, too) and were delighted with both of them. We had some fantastic pizza pre-concert in downtown Chicago – and yes, that included gluten-free pizza for me.
There was no real schedule, everything was natural and relaxed, and by the time we got home, we were all talking about the next adventure.
*For the record, I am NOT a fan of Cadbury eggs… if I receive them, I give them to Mr. Muse.
The Amusing Muse is a writer and blogger living in Southern Wisconsin. It’s deep into the gardening season, and after many salads made of arugula, she’s now heading into sautéed greens and radishes with lettuce not far behind. It also looks like she will have a bumper crop of sour cherries this year.