Sunday, May 05, 2013

Travel day

I'm in Chicago for work. I'll be in an all-day meeting tomorrow. I decided to come in a little early today (Sunday) and take a long walk. I was here at the end of February and it was quite cold. I arrived in the dark and ate dinner at the noisy hotel bar. I walked in the morning but it was a bit rush-rush. I plan to take that same walk tomorrow to get some coffee and sit and read for a minute. Today, though, I wanted time for a more relaxed walk where I wasn't trying to squeeze it in without being late.
Speaking of being late, I managed to be the very last person to board my flight today. I didn't just sit around the house this morning--I took a bike ride. Well, I planned to take a longer bike ride but instead I just rode to a nearby coffee place and had a cup and something to eat. The line was long and I waited around which meant I didn't have time for a longer ride. When I got home, I finished packing, showered, and left the house a bit later than I'd planned. So typical.
Part of the day was that kept rearranging my bags to pack as lightly as possible. I wanted to take my walk on the way from the airport to my hotel. I got it down to this:
  • One pair work-appropriate slacks (wearing)
  • One pair of shoes (not the best for work, but it's a casual meeting; they're ok for walking)
  • Casual but presentable cotton shirt (wearing)
  • Wool hoodie
  • Socks/underthings
  • Long-sleeve shirt
  • Wool vest-undershirt, in case it gets cold
  • Cardigan, medium-weight (hand knit)
  • Scarf/shawl (hand knit)
  • I-pad and keyboard
  • I-phone
  • headphones
  • Knitting project
  • Various cords and chargers in a small bag
  • Toiletry kit
  • Notebook
  • Part of a report I should read
  • Pens, keys, miscellaneous (eyeglass cleaning cloth, pills, emery board, hand wipes, etc.)
I'm carrying a small backpack and a small utilitarian shoulder bag. I couldn't quite fit it all in the back pack, but I came close. I need the smaller bag in case I go out again later tonight and probably for tomorrow morning's walk. I can fit the i-pad in there, so it's quite handy. This is all so light that I just walked for about 30 minutes and didn't feel it at all. The pack is so small that I put it in the front of an overhead bin that was full of rolling bags. This is the way to travel, if at all possible. What I skipped is an extra pair of pants, pajamas, and exercise gear (mostly that extra pair of shoes for running). Since I'm leaving tomorrow night, I figured it was fine. And if I'm sleeping alone in a hotel room, why do I need PJs? One pair of shoes is key too. I think I could fit the extras in my slightly larger bag--the one I use for all of my travel these days--and even stick the shoulder bag in there if necessary and it would still be very light.
Ah, well, packing--boring! The flight was pretty terrible. We hit some rough air about halfway and I got panting scared. But I managed to calm down. We weren't in a storm or anything so I knew we were safe. Flying into Chicago never is much fun. But the landing was smooth and we were even a little early. My late boarding didn't delay us or anything.I think my earlier scare left me a little tired. I stopped the walk to get something to eat. It would take me another hour to walk to the hotel and I'm not sure I have it in me. I'm going to walk along the bus route and see how I feel.
[Time passes.]
Central: the eastern edge of the neighborhood

I walked another 30 min or so and when my feet started to hurt, I decided to catch the bus. (I blame the new shoes and that I've been doing a lot more biking than walking recently.) Somehow I ended up in a very hip-hop-happening part of Chicago--was it Wicker Park? Bucktown? I don't know but I saw lots of young hipster-ish types walking around. Lots of vintage clothing shops, some bars and restaurants. A neighborhood like that makes the walk go faster.
Made it to the hotel and I think I'm going to indulge myself with a room service meal. I don't always do that on work travel but I usually enjoy it when I do. I need to take it easy and start letting go of all the stress of the last few weeks. A long walk and quiet night should do the trick.
Grateful for: the chance to explore.


  1. Did you walk from the airport? O'Hare or Midway? I guess I could see walking from Midway, but seems like there are so many highways around ORD. I could never pack so light. I am paranoid about hotel fires (I'm one of those people who checks exits), so I'd need PJs. And I usually want to have running stuff with me, esp in Chicago. But the key for me is to identify a trip where I won't work out for some reason, and then not pack any of that stuff. But usually I take and use it.

    1. I flew into O'Hare but I didn't walk from there--I took the train about halfway and started the walk from there. Because I'd planned on an hour+ walk, I figured I could skip the run on Monday morning. I'll also take a walk on Monday. I can see what you mean about fires and PJs! I didn't even think about that--but I was wearing a t-shirt and undies. I guess leaving my pants in an easily accessible place would be enough for me to be comfortable. :)


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