Going Home Part II

In just under four months, I am excited to say that I will be briefly returning to Chicago again, this time to watch the first session of the Laver Cup and to see the White Sox play the Cubs on the Southside.  What a surprise it was when Brother invited me to join him and his best buddy for some tennis and some baseball! 

The trip I took in March brought out a lot of feelings. I had, honestly, avoided going back to Chicago because of the conflicted relationship my parents have and because out of sight, out of mind is much easier than to admit feelings. I was pleasantly surprised to have any stretch of time during which my parents got along in my presence; sadly it was short-lived. Though most of the news focuses on the bad things about Chicago and I myself spent a good amount of time voicing my displeasure with the politics and policies of Chicago and of Illinois, it was tough to see all of the places I missed. Walking around downtown Chicago is awesome, with many great places to eat, things to do, and just seeing the buildings. I am truly grateful for the time I had to enjoy the city and to see my parents acting like people, instead of enemies. It was also great to see a dear friend, chatting with her for a few hours on my last day in Chicago.

I live in Central Texas for many reasons, though not for the food. Many people think that food in the greater Austin area is great, and I beg to differ. To each his own.  Also, there are some cool places and attractions in the Austin area, but Austin’s downtown is not on par with any of the major cities. You have to go to specific areas for shopping, movies, and other activities, not because it is a growing city, but rather this is the way it has evolved. It is my personal belief, that too many people in the  Austin area have a slacker mentality, lacking integrity and much urgency about anything. Obviously we have found enough to like about living in Central Texas that we have stayed for almost five years and bought a house, but one of the best trade-offs is the weather and not having to shovel snow as we did in Chicago.  We both prefer the sun and heat over snow and cold.

Anyhow, I look forward to not only seeing parents (we are all going to see tennis together), but my brother and his friend, and that we will get to enjoy our hometown together for the first time in five years.  It’ll be good!

Road trip!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Trains, Planes, and Automobiles.”

On my own to one destination across the country, I would likely opt for an airplane as I did for my recent NYC weekend trip. It made sense to keep the travel as concise as possible on a relatively short visit with my Brother and his girlfriend, especially with the real possibility of crazy rain or snow between New York and Texas. Also, for this reason, I fly nonstop, as I don’t which to be stranded at an in-between spot due to bad weather somewhere else.

However, I see the value of a road trip, especially with someone you love AND get along with. this very important when you are driving through the middle of nowhere confined to an enclosed space! Boyfriend and I have taken many road trips, some for fun but also for family reasons and moving to Texas.  Also, it is important to like driving because the trip will not enjoyable if driving is a chore. Taking periodic breaks helps.

Two of our road trips lasted about two weeks and involved multiple states. The Southern Road Trip took us to Louisville, KY;  Lynchburg, TN; Atlanta, GA, Hattiesburg, MS; New Orleans, LA; Houston, TX; San Antonio, TX; and Austin, TX before we headed home. That road trip taught me lessons about planning with friends you haven’t seen in years and involving them integral parts of your trips because this trip should have included Columbus, MS and didn’t because we left Hattiesburg unexpectedly and kept going. The details need a post of their own, enough said. The Mountain Time Zone Road Trip took us to Colorado State University/Fort Collins, CO; The Royal Gorge/Canon City, CO; Billy The Kid/Fort Sumner, NM; Santa Fe, NM; Moab, Arches National Park/ Moab, UT; Utah State University/Antelope Island/Salt Lake City/Ogden/Logan, UT; Bear lake and Idaho State University/Pocatello, ID; Grand Tetons National Park/Jackson, WY; and South Dakota State University/Brookings, SD. Whew!

Two months later, we took a short trip around the Midwest to Mankato, Minneapolis, and Duluth, MN and to Winona, WI. The Mountain Time Zone and the Midwest trips were taken to help Boyfriend and I determine to where we wanted to move but we chose the Great State of Texas over the rest for many reasons. If we had not driven to and around some of these destinations, we have missed out on some really cool things and also the things that would help factor into the decisions we made.

I like having a semi-structured plan on our road trips with room to add destinations we hear about or to re-route if needed, which is easier to do driving than it is with coordinating flights to multiple locations. Boyfriend is very good with a map and he has navigated us through a good portion of our American adventures.  In fact, we have only been lost using printed directions from MapQuest and Google. So much for technology!

We technically took a road time this past summer but it was just to the Chicago area and back to Texas due to Boyfriend’s mother’s death and for him to tie us loose ends. I only hope we can plan another fun road trip for summer 2016, but I know we plan to take a few short trips around Texas to state parks or to Fredericksburg.  We have only lived in Texas for a little more than two years and there is much left to explore!

How do you like to travel?

© 2015 blogdaysofchrell

Saying hello to the neighbors… Blogging 101

So, in my limited time this evening I wanted to do the assignment of reading blogs in the reader using different tags. I chose to search “cats”, “Texas”, “introvert” and “career change”.

I found lots of blogs, some of whom I have perused recently and some that were new to me. I was very happy to blogs and posts about cats, as I am a cat owner. I live in a mostly dog-friendly world – at work, at my apartment complex and in my family – so I am always pleased to find cat-friendly people, blogs and environments. Not that I am opposed to dogs, although I am not fond of yappers, it’s just that I prefer and I identify more with cats. I found many blogs referring to introversion, being an introvert and being a “highly-sensitive person.” This topic is something I have read books about, as I have mentioned in my blog, and it continues to fascinate me. In searching career change, I found lots of related posts and topics, including “being trapped in the wrong career”, “transitions” posts about interviews, following your dreams, and “how to build a successful global career and lifestyle”. Regarding Texas, I found about blog about an Austin newcomer but mostly news blogs about the police pool party situation in McKinney, TX and a story or two about the abortion laws being upheld.

I bookmarked a few blogs to go back and read in my spare time, and I think that I will continue reading a few of them, even though I sometimes have a hard time reading all of the blogs I follow currently. It seems that you try a few blogs, a few stick and a few don’t but there are some many options to tickle your interests that you will eventually find what you are looking for.

A few that caught my attention tonight were:

Transitions In My Life    https://daisy9979.wordpress.com/

The Acci-dental Farmer  https://teethtofarm.wordpress.com/

The Path Less Travelled By  https://dreamymichaela.wordpress.com

Freed to Fly   http://freedtofly.me/

The Geeky Traveller     https://thegeekytraveler.wordpress.com/

Maybe these blogs will interest you, too!