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  • 1.  City or Not-City?

    Posted 24 days ago
    My partner and I just came back from trip to Portland, OR. We were there for a full 4 days and explored a LOT of the city and immediate surrounding areas and I pretty much fell in love with the entirety of the experience. I've been doing a fair amount of #reflection about the experience and I think one of the big reasons I loved it so much is because it combined the things my soul craves so much: the hustle and bustle of city life AND the solitude/expanse of nature. We spent most of our first day hiking through parks and foresty areas, and the following three we spent checking out local breweries and foods, and found a really great board game cafe, too. (@Amy Hopkins​​ I'm lookin' at you!) 

    The city vs. non-city debate is one that frequents my heart & brain because both things "fill my cup" in such different ways. 

    What about y'all? Do you lean into city life? Find peace in nature? Both? Something completely different? 

    Here are some photos from the trip: 

    Stay awesome,

  • 2.  RE: City or Not-City?

    Posted 23 days ago
    I'm always down for a good board game cafe! (Huge plug to Athena Board Game Cafe in my neighborhood)

    Between growing up in the suburbs, college in Iowa, and living in the city for just about a decade, I am definitely someone who needs both. I love living in the city, but the "escapes" or explorations to quieter areas definitely refills my cup in a slightly different way. I was torn for a long time on settling down between Iowa City and Chicago, and tell myself now that the moment I'm tired of the Chicago skyline is when it's time to leave. I don't know if that will ever happen, but visiting places near and far of "not city" helps appreciate both sides of the coin. While nature is great, I find historical or culturally significant places are also key to my recharging. And food. My favorite trip so far has been a road trip from Chicago, through Memphis, then to New Orleans. Music, food, and history all along the way, taking our time to explore the little known things off the beaten path was the best experience for me in recharging and fulfillment.

    In transitioning from a career in K-12 education & administration to a more traditional office job schedule, I'm realizing I have never fully enjoyed the time I could have. Now that I'm not tied to a school schedule, there are so many more opportunities that feel open to me or that I have given myself "permission" to take them. Open to any and all suggestions :)

    Thanks for making my desire to visit Portland that much worse - it may have moved up the list a couple of slots!

    Amy Hopkins
    Chicago, IL

  • 3.  RE: City or Not-City?

    Posted 23 days ago
    @Quinn Drew, Portland sounds like an amazing vacation spot! I am also in both the city and not-city camps. I can't imagine ever living far from a big city like Chicago for all the cultural aspects, especially because I know pretty much ANY band or artist I want to see will come here at some point...I cannot survive without live music!

    But nearly every vacation I take involves hiking, ocean, or nature of some kind. My husband and I have also started taking single days off for day-trip hiking in the area. It's nice to just drive an hour or two, hike hike hike, and be home at the end of the day. There's basically no planning involved, and I get my nature fix.

    I've heard it called "forest bathing" and I definitely need to bathe often :)​ But even more important to me is the ability to see the live music acts I'm interested in and the other mind-blowing artistry that can only be found in the city.

    Maria Liccardo

  • 4.  RE: City or Not-City?

    Posted 22 days ago
    Edited by Arnie Grahl 22 days ago
    @Quinn Drew, sounds like a great trip. And I love this Shakespearean "to be, or not to be" musing. 
    I've only been to Portland once, en route to a backpacking trip along the Pacific Coast Trail toward Mount Rainier many moons ago. We stopped in Portland for supplies at a giant REI before heading out. But looking at your pictures, and what I know just from reading, Portland is unique in having a great city life, but being so close to some really awesome nature opportunities. I think it would be a cool place to live for those who straddle the line between city and nature. Definitely a fun place to visit.
    I suppose that's some of what I like about living in the northwest suburbs. near enough to city (though certainly don't get into it or experience it like real residents do) but a short drive/walk to some semblance of outdoor recreation.​

    Arnie Grahl