The month was August. I know because I was sweating, but I wasn’t really doing anything but sitting down. It’s the kind of heat that makes you get up, but if only to find a colder climate. I’m sitting in a chair, wicker, and thinking about the marathon I’m about to take part in. Part blessing, part excitement, part energy maintenance. I knew what I was getting myself into, and maybe that’s what made me crazy.
I had just said goodbye to my friend Clark McMillan, who is a Kiwi from Queenstown, New Zealand. He was my former roommate in Auckland and he is a good friend. He stopped in Chicago for four days to see me after biking from Vancouver, so you could imagine my surprise. We laughed, ate, and saw the sights. He would be one of six planned and one unplanned Kiwis that would come to visit me in the next 30 days. Sitting in the wicker
chair, I mulled over my planning for the next month or more of my life. Richard Boyd (another former roommate) and his girlfriend were coming to see me early September followed by their lovely friend Brittany a few days later. We would spend a week eating and drinking our way through Chicago and the burbs.
Then in late September I would get to see two more roommates, Corbin and Jeremy, and a good friend of mine, Dylan. We would spend a week seeing parts of Chicago I’ve never seen before. Those day trips completely opened my eyes to parts of the city I’d only skimmed on the surface. We then took a road trip to Cedar Point Amusement Park in Ohio. You see, Dylan doesn’t like roller coasters much, so we thought we’d nudge him along. Turned out to be more of a corkscrew, but whatever. We spent two days at that theme park. I have to say, it was a complete blast. Such great memories. We then woke up very early in the morning to hit the road for New York City. We dropped off Corbin and Dylan at a Jets game while Jeremy and I unloaded the car and moved into the airB&B we grabbed on the upper west side. The place was tiny…like, very tiny. After we were done unpacking, we went exploring. I had never been to NYC before, and to spare you the long drawn out details, the city was MASSIVE. Still, I enjoyed walking in Central Park, seeing some truly colorful people, understanding why, “Humans of New York,” is a thing, eating at some honestly game changing places, eating at some honestly horrifying places, and just in general loving the city on the whole. What city doesn’t have dark spots? Still, New York managed to be vibrant and beautiful. Not dissimilar to how I see Chicago at times. I loved it.
We then went to Buffalo to meet some people that Jeremy knew from a wedding he attended a few years back. Our hosts of the house we stayed in were some of the nicest and
kindest people we’d encountered on our trip. Seriously. Sarah and Eric, you guys are incredible. Also, Heather and Jake, you two and your children are truly something special. Thank you for dinner. We were graciously shown around by Michelle and Nicole and they made us feel at home in a city we knew almost nothing about. Seeing Niagra Falls was something truly powerful, so thank you for that!
After a long time away, we drove home to the playlist of our hearts. Seriously. We started a playlist of songs that we added one at a time. It was crazy fun, I highly recommend it. After rolling back into my parent’s driveway, it felt very good to be back in familiar territory. I enjoyed the time away, and I felt like I made my world a little bit smaller, but I was ready for a rest.
Two days later I flew out to San Jose, CA!! WHOOOOooooooooo…..
My energy levels were pushed further than they ever had been pushed in my life. I had never spent so much time with people without a little time for myself. Being more introverted than extroverted, I was seriously flexing muscles that I don’t usually flex. I think I pulled something in NY. Without time to recover, I flew out west. This being said I was still excited. I had never been to CA for a casual holiday. I had only been to LAX for the worst layover of my life…so some excitement was in there brewing. Plus, I got to hang out with some seriously cool people. We stayed with some old friends of mine from my college days, Jeremiah and Cait. I was traveling with another old college buddy of mine Dan Prins. For a week we toured around San Jose, beaches of the west pacific, walked the streets of San Fransisco, ate fresh fish on pier 23, walked down the famous winding Lombard St, and managed to meet up with ANOTHER Kiwi friend of mine who happened to be in CA when I was! His name is Jens, and I managed to catch him on his motorcycle tour around the national parks. He stopped in San Fran and we had some beers on Fisherman’s Warf. I was so glad I got to see him. After doing some natural rock climbing and hikes/camping in The Pinnacles Nat. Park, we said goodbye to California. I hopped on my flight and contemplated what I just did.
From late August to late October I had managed to push myself physically, financially, and emotionally further than I had EVER before. Before this, I did a conference for 8 days and came home absolutely drained. I was dead to the world. Somehow, this time, I dug deep, caught rest where I could, spent money like a Dutchman, took photos sporadically, and tried to be present as much as humanly possible. Somehow I treated it like I wouldn’t be back again and I found the strength needed.
I’m glad that I pushed myself. I’ve always lived by the idea that we don’t ever really move far if we don’t push ourselves past our own barriers. We just remain still and sink into the contentment blanket that feels so very, very warm.
I had fun. I did. I had a LOT of fun. Most of all, I learned more about my limits. Just for you, here is 1 photo from every adventure I had along the way. They are my favorites from when they visited me. 1. Clark (Chicago) 2. Rich, Sutherland, Brittany. (Chicago) 3.Corbin, Jeremy, Dylan (Chicago, Ohio, NY) 4. Sarah, Eric, Michelle, Nicole, Heather, Jake 5. Dan, Jeremiah, Cait (California)