American Culture

And we're off…

It’s official. I no longer live in Chicago. I currently don’t live anywhere, actually. For the next week, I will be homeless, bouncing around from couches to hotels to spare bedrooms. Last night, I even slept on couch cushions (minus the couch) on the floor of my own empty Chicago apartment. As it turns out, moving sometimes brings unexpected twists to set plans.

Today, my brother, Dan, and I set off for our road trip south from Chicago to New Orleans. Since neither of us have seen any land between the two cities before, we decided to make my city-to-city move an adventure. And what an adventure it has already been.

In the past two days, I have learned that my life fits on a 12-foot Penske truck, condo building rules annoy me and my cat does not like other cats…particularly other male cats named Sparkle.

For a road trip intended for learning more about life, people and America’s countryside I think we’re off to a good start.

Today’s portion of the trip brought us to Louisville, Kentucky, our targeted destination for day one. The trip consisted mostly of a drive along I-90 East and I-65 South, making Chicago, Indianapolis and Louisville the three most scenic landmarks along the route. Besides those cities, roads, trees and farmland make up most of the landscape. In addition to the view, anyone with dietary restrictions should note that our meal choices for most of Indiana consisted of Bob Evans, Denny’s, McDonald’s, Burger King, IHOP, Arby’s and Cracker Barrel. We opted to venture two miles off the interstate to find Subway – what we deemed our best option – for lunch.

For those unfamiliar with Columbus, Indiana, the town may be worth driving through if ever 40 miles due south of Indianapolis. The mostly middle-class city of 40,000 has been ranked by the American Institute of Architects as the sixth in America for architectural innovation and design. Even more impressive, this ranks only behind Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C.. Dan and I took a short detour through town, stopping to take pictures of various buildings and bridges that caught our eyes.

We only just arrived in Louisville tonight, and our good fortune led us to cousins (and Sparkle the cat) for family catch-up time and free shelter to boot. In the end, I left Chicago similarly to when I arrived two years ago – both charmed and awestricken at the skyline’s magnitude, even while staring at it through pouring rain.

Though my somber mood better matched the weather this time around, I held tightly to a special gift that helped me remember the sweet part of my bittersweet journey out of town. Last night, my friends joined me for one last Chicago supper and presented me with a silver necklace. Two charms hang from its chain – one, a silver pendant with the first letter of my first name engraved on its top. The second, a ladybug, to remind me that letting go of something precious to pursue a dream always leads us down the right paths in the end.

1 reply »

  1. When I was younger I had a couple of cross-country trips like this that changed my life in ways so dramatic it’s hard to imagine how different things might have gone without them.

    Enjoy the road. More importantly, listen to the road.