When I packed my bags and moved to Chicago, I arrived by train. And ever since that May day in 2009, I find myself taking the train quite often. While the CHI—STL length isn’t nearly as glamorous as travel up on the East or West Coasts, there’s still something comforting in the travel. Train travel seems timeless to me, classic. I love finding myself in Union Station and knowing the rush of traveling and the look of the building were what people many, many years ago experienced.
So imagine my excitement when I came across Amtrak Residency. There’s a ton of press going on about the program, though here’s the gist: Reporters tweeted at Amtrak how cool this would be. Amtrak agreed, and made said writers take a train ride. And now, the Residency is open to writers of all levels for various lengths of time.
What I really love about this whole initiative (despite the fact it’s right up my alley) is it came about from one writer just tweeting about a love for writing on trains. Amtrak listened and decided there was something powerful there. As more brands continue to use their consumer base for more than just customers, I’m excited for more things such as this to come to fruition.
As this weekend is another family wedding, I’ll be taking that well-traveled CHI–STL train ride. And I’m excited to sit there, put in the headphones and just start writing.
To see the power and beauty of train travel on the Coast, visit my gal pal Leela’s blog. Last month she spent 36 hours on a train from California to Seattle (now she’s moving all throughout Europe).
“At the end of hours of train-dreaming, we may feel we have been returned to ourselves — that is, brought back into contact with emotions and ideas of importance to us. It is not necessarily at home that we best encounter our true selves.” — Alain de Botton, “The Art of Travel.”
When I’m staying at hotels, I’m always itching to get out of the room, no matter how immaculate it is. And then I saw this and figured my hotel ways would for sure change.
The Algonquin Hotel just announced a partnership with Simon & Schuster that will feature a Simon & Schuster Suite and Package. The Suite, stocked with bookcases of classics, book memorabilia and advanced copies of new releases, features a living room and king-sized bed and a turn-down service where you walk away with a soon-to-be-released book.
Brands doing campaigns that don’t feature their product(s) front and center is my kryptonite. You know, those brands that put on an event, show or stunt just because they can. And they want to brighten consumers’ days.
“I didn’t know the city at all, but I was so happy to be in New York I cried. I was so excited.” –Greta Gerwig
Very rarely do I travel alone. Or rather, very rarely do I travel alone where I stay at a hotel all by my lonesome. I’ve been fortunate enough to always have a traveling companion or a friend/family member eagerly awaiting me to step off the plane. Even when studying abroad, I made a friend, we met at the airport and experienced the hilarity of our situations as we attempted to find our apartment together. But that will all change come June when I head out to New York. And navigate without a smartphone. Cue the maps.
I’ve always had this weird pull to New York, despite not spending much time in the city. As a kid, without knowing exactly what the job entailed, I wanted to be a Broadway producer. It just seemed like the job that would mix a little business with some art. And one I could spend my days completely enthralled with music. My latest stint to NYC was with Amanda last year, though we didn’t really venture north of Midtown. As this trip is happening for a creative recharge, I’m excited to find other ways outside of class to gain some inspiration and insight.
A few years ago, I saw this The Sing for Hope piano installation. Pianos are placed throughout the city and available for you to come and play a little tune. And what do you know? They’re back at the beginning of June. So I will step up and play the Ladage Family Staple: The Garbage Man (at least I think that’s what it’s called…) the minute I see one.
And last year, I saw this intriguing exhibit in London Rain Room. It’s a room where it’s raining and when you walk in, the rain stops. You essentially control the weather. I’ve been waiting for this exhibit to make its way to the States and it has! Finding its home at MoMA and on exhibit through July.
Our classes have us visiting other locations and destinations for keynote addresses and projects, though if there’s a hidden gem, pray do tell!
It’s that time of year when I start to get restless. Amanda and I have become quite the travel companions and this year, we plan on doing something just crazy. After harnessing the Treat Yo’ Selfmantra, we take a vacation that goes somewhere neither of us has been. And Amanda has this gift of finding things to do you never would have guessed (sleeping on a pirate ship in Boston Harbor anyone?).
We’re having our meeting of the minds on Monday. We’ve thrown out attending Firefly Music Festival in Delaware and doing an international excursion at the end of August. Amanda’s not only great at finding activities, she knows how to get the most of your vacation days (we can stay for 10 days using only three vacation days and 2 Summer Fridays). Girl has a gift.
Despite this article seeing publishing light back in 2011, it’s recently come across my desk and not at a moment too soon (or late for that matter). It’s the ways to be a practical traveler from The New York Times. Two key pieces I love from this: 1) The anticipation alone makes you happy and 2) End on a high note.
Despite the fact I’ve never had any desire to visit Norway, this commercial makes me want to hop a plane to see this scenery, wear sweaters and hang with Grandpa Norm. And of course, fly on Widerøe Airlines.
It’s no surprise that I’m a sucker for just pure inspiration. Came upon this latest one from USATODAY about “Around the World in One Charge.” Yes, it’s an ad for a processor in a cell phone, but it’s by far one that proves its point, and worth, in just two minutes.
The phone ships off to various places in the world over two weeks and during travel, the phone powers off.
Yesterday, CNN Living re-published an article from Oprah.com about dreams that you should never give up on. I’m quite the dreamer, and have an ever-expanding list that I feel guilty moving away from. Like the dream of producing a Broadway play? Pretty sure my copywriter funds are never going to be able to make that one happen. And learning a second language isn’t going to be happening anytime soon, I could barely handle it in high school and college.
So how do you know what dreams to hold on tightly to and when to let the wind carry them away?
But after seeing this Dream Never to Give Up On #5, I found myself reverting back to the idea of standing on every continent. To feel like I’ve touched all parts of the world and left an impact, even if it was with my feet.
So continent-exploring is back on the table. Maybe I should just turn all of my dreams into a “Around-the-World” trip to knock out more than a few birds with one stone.
Are there any dreams you find yourself holding on to?
This past year has been a crazy year of firsts. Going on my first blind date, my first trapeze class, my first Blackhawks game as a Chicago resident, the first time I read over 50 books in a year, the first time I took a challenge to write a novel, the first time I went rafting and the first time I spontaneously hopped a plane to travel.
But I didn’t stop there. This year also marks the first time I marched down Michigan Avenue in the Festival of Lights parade as a balloon handler. With Kara, Sarah, Durda and Amanda, we manned the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer balloon. The balloon, as big as a house, was a beast in the wind. Thankfully, we only had a couple of scares while walking down Magnificent Mile, including the reindeer game of getting Rudolph’s head stuck in a tree.
It was a fantastic time with the gals and I’m not sure if we had more fun creating a spontaneous sing-a-long while moving down the street or helping deflate the balloon at the very end. All in all, such a worthy bucket list item.
In 44 days, three guys (Rick Mereki, Andrew Lees and Tim White) visited 11 countries and flew 18 flights across 38,00 miles. They captured footage of the adventure and paired all of the clips to three categories eating, moving and learning. Each film lasts one minute, but packs fantastic editing, grooving beats and breathtaking views and experiences.
Needless to say, I’m itching for a traveling adventure again. Perhaps I should just steal the itinerary from these three musketeers.
Note: Andrew Lees is the star of the films and yes, so very easy on the eyes.