Thursday, October 29, 2015

Nobody likes you when you're 23

Solo birthday adventure to Chicago was a success!

First part of the journey: trek to the Amtrak station to get to Harrisburg for my departure...pouring down rain, but luckily, I still had that ridiculous poncho I chuckled at when the concierge gave it to me as I left the hotel in Philly.

Lesson learned from all of the walking accomplished: I walk a lot faster than MapQuest predicts for directions and therefore able to cover a lot more ground in limited time frames. 

What travel blogs and social media doesn't always show: the mess behind the artsy-fartsy pictures. Adrenaline was pumping and despite the bitter chill from the rain, I was kept quite warm under my jacket and clear poncho.

I stayed on the bus at the first pit stop, during which I was serenaded by 2/3 of Small Town Titans for my birthday promptly @00:01. I felt loved and sleepy...

First mandatory pit stop taken: Pittsburgh, where I bought myself a cookie in celebration {and hunger}. Interesting place and perched in my chair, well away from anyone, I was able to do some people watching as I tried desperately to conserve phone battery.

Goodbye, Akron! It was nice seeing you, bleary-eyed and groggy from being awakened by the blinding bus lights....the finer points of travel: reality.

Long bus rides, exhilarated and tired, fueled by the anticipation and sensory overload that comes with exploration of new places and new people all around.

Cleveland, OH! Nice little stop and a chance to catch my breath, checking in with Mummy so she could have some peace of mind.

{Sowwy, Mummy. I don't mean to worry you with my crazy strong-willed sense of adventure and stubbornness in seeing the world alone.}

Irony: I find comfort in traveling by myself and feeling safer in doing so. One would think the opposite: safety in numbers. However, there's no need to coordinate with another and it causes one to have heightened senses to look after themselves....

Toledo, OH! Wavy lines as we get closer and closer to Chicago...

These boots have traversed many identical pair took me through London and Berlin, where they finally fell apart on the cobblestones and pavement after over 35 miles in 2 days {22+ the first day!}

By now, I was quiiiiiiiiite awake ;)

My Gramps studied and worked after high school. Knowing that brought me a sense of calm and comfort, thinking of him walking around the Windy City around the same age I was... Thought the city has most definitely changed since '54, I love visiting places family has been before...

I have this theory that a small piece of one's spirit and soul are left in a city that touches their heart. Gramps left a piece of himself in Chicago as I did on my birthday.

*Obligatory cheese-tastic picture in front of a city landmark*

I posed in front of the Eiffel Tower on my 21st and so, posing in front of the Bean on my 23rd. Tourist-y and that's A-ok.

A trip to Chicago wouldn't be complete without some original deep dish pizza. Despite not being an ├╝ber-fan of pizza, this was pretty dang good after walking several miles around the city, trying to take in as much as possible during my short stay.... The serving size for the smallest pie was for 2, and I did, indeed, devour half of the pie, "1 serving," but holy cow, was I quite full!! Plenty to eat during my next layover :)

And with that, it was a wonderful birthday spent across different cities and I was quite sad to go...but more adventures awaited in the next city.


....just have to stay up since a strange man sat next to me on, of course, the longest stretch en route to Nashville.

Oh, and Louisville bus station is no bueno.

Sentimental thoughts: flickering lights and the "D" sliding down from the Spanish header, Damas, above the women's restroom entrance sums up the shape of this area. Get me the hell out of here.

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