Have you ever been drawn to a city before? I don’t quite understand it but I feel like I’m torn in a million different directions due to it. I don’t like big cities. I like my quaint, you can get everywhere in Austin in 20 minutes (without traffic) sized city. But for some reason I keep finding myself in Chicago and I’m not sure how I keep ending there. With my mind drifting between between London and Chicago, I feel like I have two mistresses, each beckoning to me at all times.
I got to go on my first business trip most recently. I have finally found a “Big Girl” job with WooThemes and they love me enough to invest in me as an employee. They paid for me to get out to Chicago to head out to UserConf – a badass tech customer service conference. Packing my suitcase I felt almost an adrenaline rush. Had I finally found that job? Had I finally been able to be paid to travel?
Holy shit. I have arrived. AND they were sending me to Chicago.
I didn’t really know what to expect my third time around. Shaun sat at home sulking a bit – Chicago being on his bucket list and I keep finding myself there – without my partner in crime. But from the moment I got off the plane and stepped onto the L, a grin took over my face. There is something magical here and I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Is it the fact there is nothing quite this urban at home? Is it the grimy charm? Or the interesting people?
The familiarity that came with my third visit just made me have warm fuzzies inside. Is it the beautiful architecture of downtown? Or winding through the steel beams after getting off the train? It is the gusts of wind and the rain kissing your cheeks? Or is it the intimate moment at the Cloud Gate as you reflected on the time you have spent there?
I think it is a little bit of everything.
A quick touch to the shiny bean and I was transported back in time to the first moment I saw it. The first lick of heat and the kids running through the Crown Fountain, trotting 2 miles during the summer while carrying film gear (I was shooting a short film), and driving into town with Diana from D Travels ‘Round. I’ve been here before, and I’ll continue to do so.
This time I got to see a different side. A business side, and I fell more in love.
This time I got to cruise around the bay, overlooking downtown at night. With the cold wind whipping around me on the hull of the ship, I still managed a quick shout of, “I LOVE CHICAGO!”.
I got to share a champagne toast with one of my besties, Maria of The Roaming Pint.
I got to take a break from work and walk on a brisk, cloudy day through Lincoln Park. What a hell of a view!
Oh! And I got to see Mike Tieso of the Art of Backpacking. Our spouses were green with envy. I love being able to catch up with good friends – AND I work with him now!
…and the bean/Cloud Gate… again.
I even got to finish my time in Chicago with a quick Chicago Hot Dog breakfast before I caught my plane home.
It was over before I could even blink. But even after my business in Chicago, the one nagging feeling I had at the pit of my stomach was, while I love traveling, I would much rather experience it with Shaun. I had a fabulous time – but I was without my partner in crime.
As the plane landed, I couldn’t have been happier to be home in Austin, Texas. I had gone from the chilly, rainy 40s back into sunny, balmy 80s. Shaun drove up in our Subaru, hopped out, and pulled me close.
Yep. I’m happy to be where I need to be.