Fancy Coffee Friday: Peaceful, Easy Feeling

The Amusing Muse Fancy Coffee Friday Peaceful Easy FeelingLast 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.


About The Amusing Muse

Deep thinker whose mind operates at warped speed. Philosopher pondering the big (and little) things in life. Storyteller. Office Ninja. Model. Teller of bad jokes. User of big words.
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7 Responses to Fancy Coffee Friday: Peaceful, Easy Feeling

  1. sassycoupleok says:

    Despite many of the bad things you hear about Chicago it’s a fantastic place to see and enjoy. We once stayed 5 days in a downtown condo. We were able to walk to many sites and places we enjoyed. Lake Michigan was just about 4 blocks away and lovely walking there. We too were with friends, the experiences of dining were awesome. Pizza to die for and more, dining on sidewalks at night while people are walking by and all around, takes people watching to another level. Hitting one Martini bar one after another was a terrific adventure. One of our favorite was TCM (also my initials) where they had over 100 martinis available. Met some skilled and fun wait staff people at the restaurants. One of our favorite waiters was a young man from Poland, my wife’s heritage. She speaks a bit of the language and they had an awesome time. He was young, handsome and quite charming. She was ready to take him back to our condo but not while traveling with friends…….lol

    • I always get myself worked about about all the “bad” I hear about a location, but none of the bad ever seems to happen, for which I’m truly grateful. But, perhaps hearing about the worst creates a heightened sense of awareness that helps to avoid it? With the recent attacks in England, there was a great deal of security around Soldier Field, including helicopters flying overhead. It didn’t escape me that “bad” could happen, but if I focused on that, I wouldn’t have been enjoying the concert. I decided that between the security checks (including vehicle inspection for explosives when we parked), metal detectors, and scores of police – half of which were carrying automatic weapons, and statistically being safe – I could put the “bad” out of mind.

      I know that I enjoy our adventures, partly because we DO end up in ethnic neighborhoods. Our hotel appeared to be in a Greek neighborhood and where we stopped for breakfast on Monday, not too far away, was Armenian. Ahhh the melting pot that is the USA!

  2. I once hitch-hiked across Europe from the French coast to Greece meeting loads of people on the way and living on sandwiches and milk. Along the trip I met loads of people from different circumstances and cultures and loved the experience. I believe, rightly or wrongly, that if you had been one of those people, along with Mr Muse, we would got on like a house on fire. That is the tantalising quality of blogging which introduces you to the lives of many people you would love to know but never will.

    • Never?! Such superlatives! We’ve made the trip to England once before and I intend to get back – so, never say never. 😉

      And your adventure sounds delightful! I have a cousin who went to Europe right after high school and hitch-hiked, hiked, and walked about. I recall her mother saying how scared she was for her daughter who would call home once in a while to relay her recent adventures about sleeping in doorways and being invited to stay with an older couple who surprised to find this young woman sleeping on their doorstep. But, she loved her adventure and she will always have that. I think people forget that “comfortable” doesn’t always equate to memorable. I have a feeling you can recall your adventure with great detail and fondness.

      Now, as for blogging… YES! As much as I’m a hermit and need copious amounts of alone time, I enjoy conversations of deep with people I find intriguing. There are lots of people whose blogs I read, or have read, that I would enjoy meeting in person.

      • I remember, one of my experiences, and I was 19 a the time, was being picked up by a female motorist in Italy at about 10:30 at night and spending the whole journey lecturing her about the dangers of picking unknown males at night without fully understanding that I was one. I think she was amused !

  3. Aging Cowgirl says:

    Sounds like you had a wonderful adventure and with the Grands, am looking forward to July!

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