Windy Days

Trip Start Jun 10, 2009
Trip End Sep 07, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Illinois
Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm a few days into my travels, and it's been pretty good so far, although I don't really count this as the real start; at most, it is a "soft" start. Although I won't see the house I've lived in for 14 years, any of my friends or most of my possessions for who knows how long, I've been spending virtually every waking moment with my family since I rolled family vacation and my flight out of the country into one (it was a lot cheaper to fly out of O'Hare, and more convenient), which makes it not seem so much like the start of a life-changing adventure as the same sort of thing I've done throughout most of my life, even if it is in a different place.

So we've been doing all the normal touristy things: museums and such (Field Museum, Museum of Contemporary Art, Adler Planetarium and more), Navy Pier, the Magnificent Mile (although why a stretch of land covered in stores would be called "magnificent" is beyond me) and, of course, deep-dish Chicago pizza. We were also lucky enough to come during the Chicago Blues Festival, which I checked out today. I only spent an hour or so since it was so crowded and my knee has been acting up for some reason (I spent all Saturday at the hotel just resting up), but the music was great while I was there and the crowd, while sweaty and smelly like all large crowds in the sun, had a great energy.

Chicago has been great, and I love it, but I'm about ready to get started on my "real" trip. I go to pick up my visa for Thailand tomorrow afternoon and fly out Wednesday morning. I'm ready to stop playing tourist as much and try to get more immersed in a different culture. My favorite things from this trip have been times when I've just lounged outside in an unfamiliar area reading or wandered around downtown doing nothing, not the times when I was looking at something because it was a "must-see" place or thing. Sure, I'll do some touristy things in Thailand and the rest of southeast Asia, but I like to think it will be a bit different being there long-term and traveling the way I will be. Paul Theroux had a quote about travel I like:

"The tourist is someone who doesn’t know where he’s been. The traveler doesn’t know where he’s going."

I plan on being a traveler.
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