“The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” – Saint Augustine
Most of my summer was spent traveling for work and pleasure. My travels took me from Portland Oregon (which they are successfully keeping weird) to Bentonville Arkansas (one of the country’s best kept secrets) to Chicago (a must-visit city in summer) to South Beach (the other side of the world from NW Arkansas). Being out in the world is one of my favorite classrooms; here’s what I learned traveling this summer.
- If there’s more than one person working at the hotel desk, check in with the one that you feel most drawn to. In my case, that’s the one with the most welcoming smile. They want to see their guests have a good time. When I checked into the 21c Museum Hotel in Bentonville, the concierge suggested I grab a drink from the bar (where Imet a fantastic waitress who became a fast “friend”) and to take the tour of the museum art (another great tip, both for learning about the art, and meeting several guests of the hotel). He also provided suggestions on where to go at sunrise and sunset, and the must-sees at the Crystal Bridges Museum. Thanks to him, I was able to see the Frank Lloyd Wright House while there.
- Meet up with locals. They like to show you around and give you the lay of the land so you can go back and explore on your own later. You can get the list of must dos and suggestions on where to eat. That’s how I wound up having one of the best weekends this summer in NW Arkansas.
- Go on a local tour. Whether it’s a trolley ride in Portland, walking tour in South Beach, or a Chicago Architecture River Cruise, taking a tour is great way to see the highlights, learn about where you’re staying, and meet people.
- Take the metro. That includes the RER in Paris, the subway in NY and the CTA in Chicago. Ask before you go. There are a couple of cities where the metro is best avoided.
- Stay at the busiest hotel in town. There will be no shortage of people watching, people to help you, and of course people to meet.
“To travel is to live.” – Hans Christian Andersen