A few weeks ago, I took a mini-vacation for 36 hours. I skipped laundry, dishes, cooking, cleaning, work, and childcare. I read on the plane; I had a few long chats with old friends; I ate great meals; I meandered around Chicago with no obligations or commitments.
The catalyst for the trip was a Chicago event with author Roxane Gay, who read a few stories from her latest book and talked with essayist and critic Britt Julious. (I’m lucky to know Britt via a past job and follow her online.)
For this trip, the stars aligned with a discounted airline voucher, friends with flexible schedules, and a husband willing to take on a few extra hours of kid-duty in the middle of the week.
It was a blissful couple of days.
So I recommend you try to do the same for yourself, if at all possible.
- Call in some favors. Ask your partner for his/her blessing. Ask your parents (or your sister, or a close friend) to do daycare pick-up or babysit. Ask your boss for approval to take off a couple days. Cover your bases while you’re gone. Ask friends in the destination city if you can crash in their spare room for a night or two.
- Keep it short. This minimizes any guilt, disruption to others, or backlog of emails and real-life errands to deal with.
- Refill your tank. Do something you love and that makes you feel you. Literary events are one of my nerdy pleasures in life, so yes, I planned a trip around an author visit. But maybe you love sports? Go catch a game in a different city. If you like to wander around museums, find an interesting exhibit to visit. If you’re a foodie, create your own restaurant tour for a nearby city.
- Enjoy adult things. Long conversations with friends, with no interruptions from crying babies or wild toddlers. A glass of beer with dinner, which you devour while seated, at a table, served by someone else. I cannot overstate how glorious it is to enjoy adult pleasures with no children around, even if briefly.
- Ignore household tasks. It was so liberating not to cook, do laundry, feed anyone else, or walk the dog for 36 hours. Don’t even think about those things.
And here are my food recommendations for Chicago, based on this trip:
- Eat lunch at Lula Cafe in Logan Square.
- Snack at Revival Food Hall in the Loop. I had gelato from Black Dog.
- Drink coffee from Dark Matter Coffee or Intelligentsia (multiple locations).
Have you ever done a speed trip? (The New York Times has a whole series devoted to this idea.) Where would you go for a short trip away from home duties?