I just got back from a trek up north. How was it? It was cold. You want to know what else was colder? Hearing my new friends, all of them used to traveling in frigid conditions, talking about it feeling “balmy” in Chicago. Apparently balmy is a high of 34 and raging wind conditions.
I went for business, but had more fun than I could have expected. I rolled up to Acme Hotel Company without knowing what to expect–I got a text telling me my hotel changed literally as I exited the plane, so I wasn’t able to do my normal Google investigation. I walked in and instantly felt like rockstar.
I checked in at a desk backed up to an entire wall covered in a vibrant spray-painted mural and the Avett Brothers jamming through the speakers. A friendly hipster looking guy behind the counter gave me a room key (it had a poodle with road goggles on) and I jumped on the elevator to head up to my room.
Instead of the traditional soft jazz elevator music, I listened to Phoenix’s 1901 and stared at the walls of the elevators covered in album covers of some of my favorite music icons from the past 30 years. MGMT, Rolling Stones, deadmau5, The Black Keys, and The Flaming Lips.
I hadn’t even seen my room and I was already a fan. I got to the 12th floor and used my poodle card to open the door. I walked into a king suite complete with a living room in addition to my huge bedroom. The thoughtful design continued.
This hotel had a love for music and provided an amazing sound system waiting for you to plug in your iPhone. I put on some music and got ready to meet a team of folks who’d be my friends for the duration of the trip.
I didn’t know a soul. I was going up to meet with the people behind Travel Mindset, an amazing travel website concept that has yet to launch. They were bringing online influencers (travel bloggers, high-profile tweeters, and a couple of pinners) to meet and talk about travel. It was a relatively small group, but I felt like I was in the presence of those I could stand to learn a lot from. It’s humbling to sit at a table with a group who mostly already know of each other (the travel blogging community is small, I learned) and listen to them discuss their adventures in detail.
I heard about trips to Scotland, month long excursions at sea, a last minute trip to Peru and how everyone is itching to visit Slovakia. They lived a lifestyle that I hadn’t ever considered.
Each of these people were profoundly different. You had the delightful mother of two whose accent you simply can’t place (I guess that’s what happens when you’ve lived large chunks of your life in England, Australia, and now Canada). There was the quiet Californian traveler/wine aficionado, the engaging food blogger who was up for an endless chat about food trends, and an infectiously funny travel writer who’s been in the game longer than most, just to provide examples.
I noticed one trend. It was wanderlust. Each and every person I met in Chicago felt the need travel. And apparently, the feeling is contagious. I left the experience with an itch to explore every inch of this planet that I can.
I don’t know where my next adventure will be. But knowing that travel is in my future fills me with more excitement than you can imagine.Stay tuned. I’ve got a couple more experiences in Chicago that I’ll be sharing later this week.