Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Kind of Town

This past weekend I jumped on a short flight over to Chicago to visit my friends Rob and Aaron for the weekend. Rob and I have been friends for over 25 years (wow... I just thought about how long that is!), so we are an example of those friends who are always connected - you know the kind... we see each other a couple times a year and "pick up where we left off". It's great to have people in your life who really get you - those friends where no explanations are needed - you just meet each other where you're at in your life and compare notes. A great way to check-in an reconnect with someone who know you, especially those times when you really need it. A good friend is one who knows who you are and can remind you when you forget. * Travel tip: Try to combine visits with friends and family when you plan your trips!

In addition to reconnecting with Rob I was glad to be back in Chicago. Between visits for concerts, sporting events, and former working trips (one of my former clients was CNA - the big red tower!), Chicago has always been one of my favorite Midwestern cities. Why? Because it's so very easy to navigate. Unlike some of the uber-windy, circular, twisty, curvy cities like Paris or London (which are fantastic cities, don't get me wrong...), Chicago is extremely easy to navigate - especially by foot. Between the easy to follow grids of streets and parks, and the efficient "L" (or elevated train) system, getting around town is a cinch. And with the wide variety of sports, entertainment, arts and cultural events, Chicago offers something for everyone.

A highlight of my weekend was visiting The Art Institute of Chicago during their Free February campaign. Yes, that's right - admission to the AIC is free the entire month! A great opportunity to get people out of the house and in to the galleries. The Institute is famous for its classic architecture and central location, but what I like best about AIC is the eclectic mix of paintings, sculpture, furniture, and artifacts from a worldwide collection. For example, you walk into a gallery, see a painting from a collection of local Midwestern artists and then suddenly, voila! - an original Monet or Van Gough. How cool is that?! In addition, the AIC features specialty traveling shows and exhibits. My sister Becky and I visited the King Tut exhibit back in 2006 and really enjoyed it. * Travel tip: Before you travel somewhere take a moment to Google the city/region and find out "what's happening" while you're visiting.

As February moves into full swing and "cabin fever" has the ability to hit those of us here in the cold snowy Northland, take the opportunity to get out and enjoy something new and different to keep you fresh. Visit a local art gallery, museum or exhibit (in Minneapolis, see what's happening at MIA or The Walker); so see a great show (visit the new Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis or Park Square Theatre in St. Paul); or just go visit friends and family (insert friend or family member whom you haven't visited in a long time and keep meaning to, here). The important thing is to keep moving - it stimulates your creativity and keeps you active, interested and healthy. * Travel tip: Even traveling across town or going to stay friends or family for a night/weekend can provide enough refreshment and help you to "reboot".

Get on the move and experience the world!

Mr. Michael

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