I have finally hit 50 followers! I just wanted to dedicate this to all of you awesome readers that follow my journey, read my story, and leave your comments.
When I started this blog, I had no idea what I’d be getting into. I’ve always had a passion for writing, and I knew exactly what my platform was going to be. Writing has always been a great outlet for me, and it’s something I love to do!
I started to write a book back when I was in high school, but kind of just let it go to the way side. I’ve decided I wanted to get back into creative writing and work on publishing chapters of a new book! I already published a prologue for it, if you are interested in reading it I have left the link at the bottom of this article. I think it will be a fun journey and a great way to challenge myself while also pursuing a long-standing dream of mine.
Anyway, THANK YOU for your follow, your friendship, and your support! 50 followers may not sound like much, but this blog has turned into way more than I ever could have dreamed!
Okay. So I swore I would do this a long time ago, (considering that I took the trip back in March) but I got a little busy… What can I say?
Anywhooo, I needed a little getaway right around the time that Spring Break came around, (I got lucky, huh?) so I decided to take the Amtrak to Chicago for five days. If I were to drive to Chicago from where I live, it would have taken me five hours and a boatload of money for gas. It ended up the Amtrak was only a three and a half hour ride and it only cost me $22 a ticket. The train is also a cool way to see the country, so I highly recommend trying it sometime!
I left for the Windy City on a Monday. The great thing about my mini vacation to Chicago was that I had a friend up there that offered to let me stay on his pull-out couch. I saved a lot of money by not having to pay for a hotel every night!
By the time I got there, it was too late to do much, so my buddy picked me up and we had dinner at Bar Louie and visited a bar in Naperville before heading for bed.
Tuesday morning we got up and decided to hit the city! The first thing we did was take the Metra Train to Ogilvie Train Station, which is the train station that is literally right in the middle of downtown Chicago. From there we walked to Millennium Park and saw The Bean (just about anyone who visits the city makes sure to get a picture with The Bean!). Millennium Park is surrounded by skyscrapers and incredible buildings, so if you really want a cool “inside view” of the city, Millennium Park is a good place to go.
If you keep walking through the park, you’ll eventually make it to Maggie Daley Park Plaza. It’s really just a big park, dedicated to the first lady of the city Maggie Daley, who died of cancer in 2011. The city had plans to add on to it when they wanted to make a bid on hosting the 2016 Summer Olympics. Of course, that didn’t happen, but the park is still a pretty neat sight!
All of this isn’t located too far from Michigan Avenue, one of Chicago’s well-known streets for shopping. We were hungry, so we found a cool joint called Burger Bar. The pictures of our food don’t even do it justice, but just take a look and I’m sure you’ll believe me when I say it was the best burger I had ever had!! And the milkshake was probably the most beautiful shake I’d ever seen! I think Burger Bar has a few locations, but if you’re ever on Michigan Ave, I HIGHLY recommend Burger Bar!
This trip involved a lot of firsts for me! Not only was it the first time I ever rode on a train by myself, I also had the pleasure of trying my first Krispy Kreme doughnut. Oh man. I think it’s safe to say that I am glad I live in a small town so that I don’t have access to all of the amazingly delicious (and unhealthy!) food choices the city has.
While in the city, we also visited The Field Museum. I had been to Chicago before this trip with my sisters when I was in the fourth grade. On that trip, my family and I went to The Field Museum, but it’s always a lot more interesting and worthwhile when you experience it as an adult. I’m kind of a nerd, so I genuinely love museums, but I honestly think The Field Museum has a little bit of something for everybody. The architecture of the museum itself is just something to behold! It does cost admission to visit; however, they do offer discounts for seniors and military gets in free.
One of the coolest things to happen to me while I was in Chicago occurred when we went to visit Firehouse 51. Firehouse 51 is the firehouse they use to film the show Chicago Fire; however, it’s an ACTUAL firehouse. We parked along the road in front of the firehouse and were walking up to take pictures when a firefighter walked out and asked us if we wanted to take a look inside. I used to watch Chicago Fire religiously, so of course I probably squealed and said YES!!!
I probably just got really lucky that day when they offered to give us a tour, but if you have even heard of the show Chicago Fire, Firehouse 51 might be something to check out! It’s pretty cool to see a place where a hit TV show is filmed!
Guaranteed Rate Field, Home of the Chicago White Sox
Another pretty cool thing I got to do was walk through Guaranteed Rate Field, which is the home of one of Chicago’s baseball teams, the White Sox. I got kinda lucky here as well because the friend I was staying with while in Chicago works security for the stadium. So I had the opportunity to walk down in the tunnel, on the field, and sit in the dugout. Anyway, they’ve put a lot of work into making the stadium look just absolutely beautiful. If you enjoy visiting all of America’s baseball stadiums, make sure you check this one out! I’m a Cardinals fan, but I wouldn’t be shy to say that this stadium is AMAZING! Five stars! Also, they added an area that looks over the city skyline, and it is a cool place to get a good view of the city from afar!
Needless to say, I think Chicago is a beautiful city!
Portillos: Okay, so I feel like every Chicagoan is obsessed with Portillos, and even though hot dogs aren’t really my thing, they do have AMAZING Italian beef. Make sure you try a chocolate cake shake, too!
Brookfield Zoo: I looooove going to zoo. The Brookfield Zoo would be a good thing to do if you just wanted to get outside for a few hours. Also, military gets free admission, you just have to pay to park.
I wanted to make sure I personally thanked Nick Oplawski and his family for the hospitality and for showing me the great city of Chicago! I got to experience the city life like I never thought possible!
I have sat at this computer nearly all day reading other peoples’ blogs trying to find inspiration on what to write about. Still, as I sit here typing this, I have nothing. As a beginner at this whole “blogging” thing, (as I’m sure you all have) I’m struggling with trying to come up with something that other people will want to read. I just came to the conclusion that I DON’T CARE about what everyone else thinks a blog should be. I’ve watched YouTube videos from famous bloggers giving their advice on how to be successful at blogging and I’ve also looked through countless websites on issues that could be appealing to readers. Screw that. This website is mine, and I can write about whatever I please!
I’m still relatively new to this, but before I become obsessed with trying to write about what I think others want to hear, I want to remind myself and others that a blog belongs to the writer. We all started the blogging process for different reasons. For me, I wanted an outlet that I could express my thoughts and share my story with people from around the world. And what an amazing concept that is! We have the power at the tip of our fingers to put our thoughts onto a canvas for anyone and everyone that wants to read it. I have always considered myself to be a naturally eloquent writer, and now I have the perfect opportunity to share what I love to do with people that have the same interest. Maybe I’m a nerd, but I think that is absolutely incredible!
I graduated high school in 2015 and from there I did a semester at Eastern Illinois University before I enlisted in the Army National Guard. I did my military training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina from May to October of 2016. I returned back home to Illinois and decided to continue my education. Currently, I’m attending John Wood Community College and I will graduate this May with an Associate of the Arts. From there? I have absolutely no idea! I still have two more years of school before I achieve my goal of a Bachelor’s degree. College is a long, expensive investment in the United States, so I want to make sure I don’t waste any time in studying something that I won’t be happy doing. That’s part of the reason I decided to try out blogging in a more consistent way. I think blogging can teach anyone more about themselves, especially if you just sit down and put your feelings and thoughts onto the page.
As part of my blogging experience, my goal is to talk to new people from all over the world. I’ve always had a fascination with learning about new cultures and how people live their everyday lives in other countries. That being said, I’d love to hear from some of you fellow bloggers out there in the WordPress world! Feel free to leave a comment introducing yourself in the comment section of this post. I can’t wait to hear from some of you and learn along the way!
Don’t try too hard. Everyone’s pace is different. If you aren’t comfortable feeling like you have to post something everyday, don’t. Wait until you have something worthwhile and meaningful to you before you try to force words onto the screen. However, sometimes it’s fun to just sit down with no leads, type whatever pops into your head, and see what it turns into. Everyone’s style is different, so we shouldn’t feel like we have to conform to what our idea of a “good blog” is. Let your personality and style be revealed through your work!
Don’t be afraid to try something new! I think some bloggers feel as if they have to stick to one topic. I think that’s crazy! We all evolve throughout life and our interests change! Write about the things that you care about most, regardless of if you think others will like it. Having passion is hard to come by. Like I said before, you’re the writer, so own it!