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a post about travel. and booze.

January 10, 2010

Tomorrow is my last day at the coffeeshop. It’s a bittersweet ending but I want some time to do things for ME before I (hopefully) start grad school next fall. Also on the docket: GRE on Tuesday and a MAJOR haircut in the next couple of weeks. Seriously, I’m going to lop 8 or 10 inches off of this mane of mine. (Look out, Locks of Love, this ponytail is thick and wavy and a beast to manage!)

So there’s that.

Then there’s a bug of wanderlust in my blood. Becky says it perfectly. We’re teaming up and knocking on the doors of some cities. So far we have a tentative date for St. Louis and talks of Nashville and Milwaukee. (Hey Becky, Toronto is only 7.5 hours from your place!) Why? Well, why the hell not? This continent is so, so big and I’ve barely seen any of it. Additionally, I want to head back to South Bend to hang with my mom. Because I’ve been a bad only-child by moving hours away from her and only checking in once a week. I need to make up for it with a spa day and margaritas.

I love my little house on the corner where my cat wakes me up to play fetch at 3am and my husband lets me warm my icy feet between his calves and the kitchen smells like bacon for days after cooking it because I don’t clean up the splatters. But when it gets snowy,ย  I get claustrophobic, and then I get the urge to do what I do best – I go away. I always seem to truly find myself away from home, when things aren’t familiar, when something shakes life up, when it gets uncomfortable. Oh life, baby, shake me up like a martini and serve me cool and sweet with an innocent kick. (Okay, brain, what the hell does that mean and why did you think it would be okay to write that?) I digress. Majorly. Apologies. I owe you a martini for reading that.

Back to the point… I’m also living on a supertight budget. So flying to San Diego for a week is out of the question. Hell, flying anywhere is out of the question. I’ll be roadtripping and couch surfing during my time of travel.ย  (Don’t worry, Vegas is in my budget, folks.)

That said, do you have suggestions on some visit-worthy cities in a 10 hour radius of Chicago? (Extra points if it has good margaritas.) Do you have a couch in the 10 hour radius of Chicago? (Automatic win if you have a killer margarita recipe.) And most importantly, what are YOUR tips for traveling on a teeny tiny budget?

PS: Notice how I post more regularly when I have something I really really really need to be doing like studying for the GRE so I can actually get into grad school and not become a total slacker? Nice.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. January 10, 2010 5:43 pm

    I road-tripped across Canada last year with my boyfriend and this is what I learned: Always have a deck of cards on hand. It’s a fun, cheap activity and can make friends and pass the time very well. Make CD’s that you love to sing along to (this one is quite obvious). Be ready to stop at any time when you see something interesting – f it’s a museum (or something) that is $$$ and you can’t afford to go in, take a walk around the grounds which are also usually very beautiful. Be spontaneous!

  2. January 10, 2010 5:54 pm

    10 hours? That’s it?! Come on, add like 3 more hours onto that and you could come see me! I have a couch, a bunny and a liqueur store across the street.

  3. hilarybarnett permalink
    January 10, 2010 7:13 pm

    I have a bed in Nashville, and I’ve never made a margarita, but I have a new blender that I am really excited to use! And I know where the best margaritas in town are. Speaking of traveling, the hubby and I did a 3 week road trip out west this past summer and did it on a reasonable budget. We camped 1 week, stayed with friends and family 1 week, and stayed in hotels 1 week. (Not in that order, but depending on where we were and who we knew, and where the national parks were). It was such a blast, and we saved up about $3000 to do it. That’s alot I know, but much of that was spent on camping gear that we will get to keep. Either way, I highly endorse travel of any kind, and you are welcome to stay here! Nashville is a fun town!

  4. January 10, 2010 7:23 pm

    Andiamo! Toronto sounds like a great addition. I’m getting pretty pumped for this trip.

  5. January 10, 2010 7:36 pm

    I get/have wanderlust like that all the time too. I feel most comfortable in hotel rooms, how weird its that. I am not anywhere near Chicago, so I can’t help…but when the time comes just know that I have a comfy couch and a KILLER MARGARITA recipe.

    Is our girl crush moving to fast? I just invited you over for a sleepover, couldn’t help myself!

  6. Kendall permalink
    January 10, 2010 10:59 pm

    Somehow I doubt there is a shortage of people willing to let you two crash with them.

    I’m still unsure whether I am applying for grad school for the fall or saying screw it and travel as I please. The latter is sounding really appealing as time passing.

  7. January 10, 2010 11:41 pm

    This post makes me all, “Yay! Excited for you!” but it also makes me all, “Boo, come to San Francisco.”

  8. January 11, 2010 6:55 am

    Toronto is an AMAZING city… you should go for sure!
    If you do go to Toronto I know it sounds cheesy but you gotta go to the CN tower. I’ve been up it like 20 times and I still get the shakes… the glass floor freaks me out

  9. January 11, 2010 10:03 am

    definitely couch surf your face off. ๐Ÿ™‚ i’ve got a spare room in jerz, but there are bloggers (amazing ones) scattered throughout this beautiful country (and canada! that i’m sure would love a visit from the beautiful belle renee.


  10. phampants permalink
    January 11, 2010 12:07 pm

    Madison is a great getaway

  11. January 11, 2010 1:48 pm

    I’ve definitely added road-tripping to my agenda, seeing as traveling by plane is going to be a bit too expensive on my now super-tight budget also! Since I just landed in the Denver/Boulder area, I’m going to start checking out places within driving distance of here. I hear there are wineries and whatnot that aren’t too far, so I’ll check those out. Also on my list? Salt Lake City, Cheyenne, Albuquerque, and Colorado Springs.

    Good luck with the GRE!

  12. January 11, 2010 3:43 pm

    Oooh roadtrips! I’d say come to Boston but that’s just a little more than 10 hours… Ha. But traveling cheap… I always end up spending money on stupid snacks and drinks. I vote go to costco and load up on trailmix and bananas and stuff. Plus that will help you avoid fast food too ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. January 11, 2010 5:16 pm

    I’ve heard good things about Minneapolis. ๐Ÿ™‚ That and Chicago are the only places in the midwest I’ve been so I can’t really be of much assistance, I’m afraid. But if you do make it to NYC, hit me up!

  14. January 13, 2010 3:48 pm

    I don’t know much about Chicago (aside from the fact that my chef crush, Rick Bayless, cooks there!), but had to comment to say good luck on the GRE! I took ’em in November, and thought they were pretty fun, but dang, that time crunch is no joke on the math section!

  15. January 14, 2010 9:05 pm

    Amazing. And y’all had BETTER come to Nashville. We have a guest room! And you’d get to spend lots of time with me AND the boy. (Because he’s fun!)

    I hope I’m able to travel a little more this upcoming year. I’m not sure if I will be able to make all the travel dreams happen, but, like you, I have major wanderlust. And I want to explore the country.

  16. January 28, 2010 2:42 pm

    Minneapolis is amazing, and has so much to do for little to no money! Milwaukee has great margaritas at La Fuente – they’re delicious, they come in pitchers and they’re always on special!

    I’d recommend waiting until at least late spring to head to those places, though, since driving in winter weather is not very fun. And lake effect snow…ugh.

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