I did it… I’m in Chicago, IL.
I don’t plan on updating my blog every day, but the first day of this adventure I think justifies one. I started the morning on a friend’s couch in Columbus. I kept waking up in the middle of the night and looking around just to make sure I wasn’t in my own bed in my own house which I had just sold. I was not. This whole thing is really about to happen. After all the planning and buying travel gear, and talking about this thing for the last several months, I was finally at day one. My friends had to be at work before me, so I ended up just being at their house for about an hour by myself trying to make sure I didn’t leave anything behind. Stepping out that front door with no place to live and no job and only my backpack felt good, but also kind of crazy. I seek out experiences that will change or help me grow in some really fundamental way, and this trip is definitely going to do that like nothing else I’ve ever done.
It was definitely a day of firsts for me… first time riding Megabus, first time in Chicago, first time surfing someone’s couch outside of Columbus. The only thing to say about the bus ride is that the midwest is very dry. Except for the lush farm fields, I saw nothing but brown grass all day. I arrived in the Windy City around 5:00PM CST. It was rush hour and I was at Union Station, one of the busiest areas of the city from what I hear. I loved it though. The mass numbers of people reminded me of NYC experiences. Although, the people in Chicago seemed in a greater hurry if you can imagine. That could be a matter of relative perspective considering I didn’t have anywhere to be. I’m just a vagabond with a backpack wandering through this really awesome city, taking in the sites and sounds as much as possible. I’m starring around, looking up at tall buildings, taking a couple pics in full wanderlust mode.
While I was on the bus, my host Mel, recommended meeting up with some surfers at Millenium Park for a free outdoor concert. Not having an itinerary made it easy to just wander over there. It was about 3/4 of a mile to the park from the station, so I just walked. Because of some communication issues and the large crowd, I wasn’t able to find the surfers at the park. No biggie, I enjoyed the show and just seeing this massive crowd fill the park.
After the concert, my host Mel texted to say she had something come up and couldn’t meet me in the park as planned, and I should just start making my way there. This was kind cool actually because it meant I would need to navigate the train on my own. I need to get used to this kind of thing, and honestly, it was no big deal. I think the train system here is a lot easier to follow than NYC. I’ve navigated that thing a few times on my own and always feel lost, but the routes here seem simple. Maybe I’ll have a different story in a couple days.
My host Mel lives near Wrigley Field, and after dropping off my bag we made our way over to a local bar called “Beer”. That’s right… just Beer. A lot of Mel’s friends and one of her roommates was there, and we hung out, had a few drinks and listened to one of the most entertaining piano bar guys I’ve ever seen… Piano Bobby. He plays after every Chicago Cubs home game at Beer, so if you have a chance, wander over there for lot of great drinking-sing-a-long songs.
So all in all, pretty good first day.