Today was a beautiful fall day in Chicago. It was cold but not yet so cold that you don’t want to leave the house. Since I’ve been traveling so much I haven’t had a chance to make it up to the forest preserves North of Chicago since the beginning of Spring. I love fall, but just wish it wasn’t followed by winter.
Every time I am sent to Jersey City for work I try to make the most of it, visiting Manhattan, because I never know when I’ll be back. Somehow I’ve been to New Jersey seven times this year so far but I never run out of things to see. I’ve even bought an out-of-state membership to MoMA on my last trip.
My second visit to New York this year (the second in January) took me to Chinatown for dumplings and a comic exhibition at The Museum of Chinese in America. I decided to stay a few extra days and got a hotel room in midtown. I’m not sure what I was thinking “vacationing” in New York alone in January but it was cold and, honestly, a little miserable.
As it turns out, Hotlanta in January is pretty beautiful. My work required me to stay on the edges of the city in a typical business park, but I allowed myself an afternoon in the city before flying home. When I’m visiting a new city in the U.S. I do a little research but everything written about Atlanta focused on corporate-sponsored tourist attractions. Friends recommended a few neighborhoods I might like but they all inevitably were difficult to get to on the metro, especially on a Sunday with reduced service. When I asked to be taken to the nearest metro stop, the hotel concierge warned that I shouldn’t visit the neighborhoods I was interested in, even in daylight, even if I was a “tough city girl from Chicago.”
Being warned tends to have the opposite effect, and did nothing but encourage me to see what I was missing. As much as I wanted to prove him wrong, the transit gods were not in my favor that day so I headed downtown to the central business district. I walked along Peachtree looking at archetecture, recommended by someone on Twitter, and visited the aquarium. Chicago has a pretty cool aquarium so I wasn’t too impressed, especially since it was designed so… childish. Because I spend so much time at art museums I’m often take aback when everything is “family friendly.” After my cartwheel in front of the Coca-Cola museum and Atlanta’s skyline I sat outside and simply enjoyed being outside without a coat.
Growing up near Chicago has trained me for winter and I’m used to much more snow than we’ve been getting in recent years. What is it about this year’s winter that has everyone I know pleading for it to end? Despite the lack of snow it seems we’re well below average temperature for March. I don’t mind the cold, but I miss the sun.
My early flight home from Minneapolis yesterday morning was delayed by two hours. After a while I gave in and bought a magazine in the airport gift shop. I was halfway through before realizing I had already read it–and that I’d bought it two business trips ago.
The day before I insisted I was in Michigan (I was wrong) and that it was Tuesday (it was Monday). Should I take this as a sign I’m traveling too much?
I found myself working in New Jersey twice in January this year. When I’m there I try to make it over to Manhattan for museums and shopping, but this time I visited Brooklyn for the first time. Meeting up with a friend who grew up there he laughed at the fact that I picked Williamsburg, since he doesn’t consider it real Brooklyn. Next time I’m out East with nice weather I’ll try to make it further into Brooklyn.
I can deal with the cold temperatures, it’s the weeks without sunshine that get to me during the Chicago winter.
Despite my lack of updates, I managed to take quite a few trips this year. Only a few were non-work related but I try my best to spend a little time in each city I visit. Both St. Louis and Detroit trips were in and out in one day, but I always arrange extra time in New York and D.C.
Who knows what sort of travel is in store for me in 2013, but I hope for at least one international trip. I’m still toying with the idea of biking around Iceland but, for now, all I know is I’ll be visiting New York and Atlanta.
January: Washington D.C.
February: St. Louis
March: Virginia, Syracuse
April: NYC, Jersey City
May: NYC, Jersey City
July: Washington D.C., Detroit
September: Connecticut, Houston
November: Sydney, Pittsburgh
I may be a bit behind on my posting, Chicago’s Open Streets happened in September. Even so, I wanted to post about it because it was an interesting event. One and a half miles of Milwaukee Avenue was shut down for a good part of the day in Wicker Park. I was hoping it would simply be a clear open street for cyclists, but small areas were set up with activities like 4-square, fencing and areas for kids to play. As nice as it was to casually ride down Milwaukee without worrying about being doored or running over a jaywalker, I pointed out to friends that this happens every Sunday and holiday in Bogota and, although this is a start, I hope we can make streets safe and open more than once a year.
Since I’m working this week I voted last Monday. I’m grateful that Illinois allows early voting, although I was looking forward to seeing my new polling place a few steps out my back door.