As I've mentioned before, I'm planning a year-long trip around the United States. I'm excited about this epic road trip, but it also still feels very abstract. I'm working on logistics (including a re-design of my Melissa Has Wanderlust page!) but in general there is very little reality to it yet. Not a practical reality anyway.
This weekend, a friend of mine got married. She lives in Milwaukee. I'd never been to Milwaukee. Another friend recently moved to Chicago. I'd never been to Chicago, either, so I made a plan. I flew to Midway to visit with S, then took a train to Milwaukee for E's wedding on Sunday. As it happened, when I arrived in Milwaukee at the train station (conveniently located right at the airport), I couldn't get an Uber drivers to pick me up. So, when the shuttle that takes train passengers to the airport arrived, I hopped on and took it to the car rental counter. Equipped with a new Toyota Camry (Dad would be so proud), I zipped all around Milwaukee!
I took a spin past Frank Lloyd Wright's American System-Built houses. I got myself to Target (extremely important always). I even managed to get around to all of the wedding events.
As it happened, my little blip of bad luck with Uber turned out to be good luck for the weekend. When I was too early to check in to my hotel, I went across the road to Culver's for fried cheese curds and a ButterBurger and just happened to run into the bride and groom having lunch, too. This was so nice because otherwise I wouldn't really have had much time to meet him or to get to catch up with E.
I'm an anxious traveler (it's shocking, I know). I like to make a plan and stick to it as much as possible. This weekend, though, I had deliberately made as few plans as possible. I would see what I could and enjoy whatever came my way. It actually worked, too. When I arrived in Chicago, I took the train to S's new apartment. I got to see a huge part of Chicago that I would have missed otherwise. Instead of taking the train back to Chicago from Milwaukee on Monday, I decided to just drive my rental car back to Midway. That gave me the chance to see some of Wisconsin...and to get a real feel for driving in a city like Chicago (their rush hour traffic still has nothing on Washington DC).
I feel like some of my road trip plans began to feel more real after this weekend. There's so much to see and do and I can't wait. And I've got friends all over, too, which is a nice reminder to myself when I'm feeling so isolated. Also, I am capable of thinking on my feet and going with the flow. It really works. Now, let's see if I can keep up this enthusiasm for an entire year!