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Heart and Space

September 8, 2011

There’s little I love more than the first morning you walk out of your house and feel the crisp, cool air that lets you know summer is winding down and autumn is peeking through. That day came this week in central Indiana and with it all the promise of fall: bonfires, Halloween, football, gorgeous foliage, and pumpkin-flavored EVERYTHING. That taste of fall, coupled with Conduit Press’ upcoming show at the Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago, sent me reeling back to my first getaway with my partner back in October of 2008.

What's Chicago without deep dish?

Since then, we’ve visited 17 states and something between 8 and 10 countries (how do you count the U.S. Virgin Islands; and if you’ve traveled to Britain, do you get to count the British Virgin Islands as a separate country? These questions are too hard for me without caffeine.) But no matter how many places we go, I’ll always have a special place in my heart for the Windy City.

Bright lights in the big city

Some of you are probably sun-worshippers, running off at every chance to a tropical beach where your only worry is ‘on the rocks’ or ‘frozen’. Others of you rush to the tops of mountains only to slalom your way back down with two sticks tied to your feet…and maybe a prayer. For me, there’s something both relaxing and invigorating about a big city; I love the ant-farm stream of people, the impatient honk of taxi drivers who both need and hate tourists, and the buildings. Oh, the buildings. Done right, like Chicago, the city manages to be functional and imaginative, serving citizens and travelers side-by-side on the subways and sidewalks.

Fall in Millenium Park

That’s the joy of city travel, really. Jumping right in with the “real” people and discovering the local dives and the “secret” haunts…most of which you probably heard about on the Travel Channel or in your tourist guidebook. But the point is that you try; you try to go beyond the Disney-façade and the pretty face of your destination and find the true heart of the city. Which can be anything. Or anywhere. But you know when it happens because you feel the click of your heart and that space piecing together in a way that can never be undone.

Where my "click" happened in Chicago

I challenge you to go somewhere new this weekend. Anywhere. Open the yellow pages and pick a restaurant in a small town an hour away. Heck, go to a section of your own city you’ve never explored, get out of your car and stroll around. Best yet, jump in your car or hop on the Megabus and head to Chicago: go see Conduit Press at the Renegade Craft Fair, buy one of her amazing leather-bound journals, and wander until you feel that click. Then stop, let the fall air wash over you, crack open those fresh pages and write about it.

 We’d love to hear what you’ve written. Care to share?

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