Sunday, December 18, 2011

Christmas Around the Country

Hard to believe that it's been 5+ years that I haven't been traveling for work. I don't miss it, except for a few things like getting upgraded on flights or in hotels. Or having my own schedule for the most part. But all in all, it's good to be home, week in and week out, not having to worry about late or cancelled flights, sleeping in hotel beds 4-5 nights each week, and trying to find something relatively healthy to eat in podunk towns.

Right around this time, however, I get a little homesick for the road. I get this way because I have been in some pretty interesting places while traveling during the holidays. I really enjoyed going to different places around Christmas or New Year's. I loved seeing how other towns decorated. I also loved being in a different place, but nevertheless experiencing the season.

There was a time when I was in Daytona Beach about a week before Christmas. The cheap hotel rates allowed me to stay in a fancy hotel on the beach, which was extremely rare for my miniscule travel budget. I ate in the hotel restaurant which looked right out on the water. Although it was nighttime and I really couldn't see the water, I could hear it. Meanwhile, the restaurant was decked out in Christmas decorations. I bought a hula Santa in the gift shop.

On that same trip, I had to drive from Daytona to Jacksonville to catch my flight the next morning. I stopped at an outlet mall that was all lit up with Christmas lights. It was an outdoor mall, and it felt so foreign to me to walk around in late December without a coat. I remember finding a Christmas song station on the radio. Another foreign concept listening to Christmas carols while the ocean breeze wafted in the windows.

There was another trip to South Carolina when I ate she-crab soup at an outdoor restaurant. The locals couldn't believe it when I told them about the temperatures back home. Trunks of palm trees were wrapped in Christmas lights.

I've been to Cleveland around Christmas, but that wasn't anything to write home about. Denver is pretty at Christmas, but can be precarious when you're trying to get home before a snow storm. Same thing with Indy, Minneapolis, and St. Louis. Pittsburgh is pretty at Christmas. So is DC. And of course in my biased opinion, so is Chicago.

Even airports get decked out in holiday garb. It's fun to see the nooks and crannies that people choose to decorate.

I hope you're feeling the season, no matter where you are.

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