COM0014 – SMcCarter – Blog #1

First “post”-pandemic travel: everyone has a story… or not. My work contract culminates with a large event in August, so staff were not allowed to take any vacation past June 1. This is how I ended up going to Chicago and Washington D.C. in May!

I was nervous about my trip since I hadn’t traveled for so long. That’s why Chicago was a perfect reintroduction to solo travel. There’s no language barrier and it’s close to home, so it was a short little 2 hour flight away and there I was! I spent the next few days walking around, eating lots of food (helloooooo, deep dish pizza tour!), and definitely not tracking down some filming locations for Chicago Fire and P.D. and visiting them… oops.

I walked to the iconic bean sculpture (actually the Cloud Gate), did a soap making workshop, and tried to take the L train when I could. The highlight of my trip was taking a historical and architecture kayak tour down the Chicago River. Most tourists like to take a boat tour, but I thought this could be a way to get a different view from the river while also getting in some exercise. The highlight didn’t include my sunburn after…

Post-Chicago hotdog, Portillo’s chocolate cake and Shedd Aquarium later was time for me to get to my second destination of the trip, D.C.

I didn’t know the airport I flew into went right over the National Mall, so before I even set foot in the city I got a really cool bird’s eye view of all the monuments. It was nice relaxing in my capsule bed before we ended up going for Mexican food with some other hostelmates. So goes the classic joke… when a Canadian, American, French, German and Belgian walk into a restaurant… we all get Mexican food and have a great time.

One of the reasons I love solo travel are the connections you make along the way. I was able to go to Arlington National Cemetery with the Belgian I met the day before, and we ran into the German on our way in! Then I can say I officially walked all the way from Virginia to D.C. It may have only been a 20-30 minute walk, but that can be our little secret. I visited some of the monuments before going back for a rest in the hostel, where I met a second German. We spent the next couple days together, traipsing across the city and being joined by another German-Israeli.

My trip was capped off by going to Pups in the Park. I definitely picked this date to watch baseball so I could be surrounded by dogs. My hard work paid off and I got to sit around an incredible amount of cute pups, who often ended up being decked out in Nationals gear… too cute! Then it was time to go home but I wasn’t too disappointed, because I think we all like to stop hemorrhaging money after a vacation. What do you like to prioritize when you travel?

One thought on “COM0014 – SMcCarter – Blog #1

  1. Wonderful blog post. I commend you in travelling alone. I sadly have done very little of that but hope to do so in the future? Hopefully the post pandemic travel went smooth. There are definitely a lot of not so happy stories out there. Washington DC is a lovely place, the museums, the history and the people.

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