Miles From Monday: Public Hotel

public hotel, chicago

“It occurs to me that I’ve spent my entire adulthood trying to integrate my travel life with my “real” life, hoping I might bridge that unbridgeable ocean between home and away. Why else would I model my apartment after far-flung hotels, if not to persuade my ideal self to come back and live with me?”

-Peter Jon Lindberg, “The Art of Bringing Hotel Design Home,” Travel and Leisure

Miles from Monday is a travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.

January 28, 2013, Washington, DC: On an icy morning like this one, I fantasize about not having to go anywhere. About chores and responsibilities fading away. About waking up in a luxurious hotel and rolling downstairs for hot coffee and bagels and fresh squeezed orange juice. If not for Monday’s obligations in this city miles away, I might go back there, to the Public Hotel on Chicago’s Gold Coast, and linger well into the afternoon.

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Miles From Monday: Inauguration Day

Inauguration Day 2013, The Sweet Lobby, Washington, DC

Miles from Monday is a travel series focused on venturing out of the spaces we inhabit during our work week and retreating to landscapes that feel far from routine.

January 21, 2013, Washington, DC: We’re heading out the door shortly to explore this morning’s Inauguration. I’ll post more photos here throughout the day to share the events as they unfold through the eyes of a DC neighbor. Before we go, I invite you read my reflections on the Inauguration and to take a look at these images from yesterday. It’s been a truly amazing weekend on Capitol Hill, our first Inauguration weekend living in the neighborhood. Living blocks from the action, it’s impossible not to get swept up in the spirit of the occasion, to happily give directions to the visitors spending the weekend here, to enjoy the fact that we haven’t moved the car since Wednesday as the neighborhood is increasingly locked down. On a run around the Capitol yesterday morning, four of us wove through obstacles and security checks, watching crowds grow on the National Mall. A Sunday afternoon bike ride across town to a friend’s house stands out as one of my favorite DC moments to date, the entirety of Pennsylvania Ave. lined with flags and closed to everyone but pedestrians and cyclists in preparation for today’s parade. Sound checks filled streets with jazz music as I pedaled home, the sun setting as I made my way back up the streets of an empty Hill, past the Supreme Court, heading home.

We are miles from a typical Monday, but just blocks from a celebration experienced by no other city and no other neighborhood in the world.

Now updated with photos from Monday…

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Inauguration Through the Eyes of a DC Neighbor

Inauguration 2013, Washington, DCJanuary 19, 2013, Washington, DC: Those of us who move around a lot experience many ceremonial and formal beginnings. We are accustomed to looking back and remembering the bookends — the day we arrived somewhere, the moment we settled in, the afternoon we packed up and drove away. It’s easy to recall the commencement of something new, to call up the morning the transition ended and we began again.

Inauguration weekend in Washington feels like a fitting time to recall these memories, not only due to the nature of the tradition, but because my own relationship to Washington tracks so closely with President Obama’s.

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Places That Shape Us: Biking Home

Potomac River, Washington, DC, January 2013

January 8, 2013, Washington, DC: I snapped these photos this evening on my bike ride home. It was the first time I’d gotten out and exercised in awhile and I took my sweet time, pausing to balance my bike against a street lamp or curb while removing a glove and taking my camera phone out my coat pocket to capture the sunset. I live in a beautiful city. It’s easy to remember that while biking through the areas of town occupied predominately by tourists. Every one of them is smiling. It’s refreshing to see the city as they see it, through the eyes of someone who’s never lived here and is moving through it for the very first time.

Movement itself, I’ve decided, makes me a particular type of nomad. Despite my best efforts, I’m not a traveler who can sit still at the beach or a homebody capable of spending a day on the couch. I am someone who appreciates my surroundings most profoundly by moving through them — one step, one pedal, one stroke at a time. For some, it’s predominately music or food that draws them in; while both compel me, I’m typically hooked by opportunities for physical activity. Outdoor recreation allows me to live well in a space, inhaling its air, taking it in at a manageable pace, appreciating its health. A run in a foreign city, a paddle around Teddy Roosevelt Island, or a bike ride home from the office are the best ways I know to carefully observe the landscape.

That’s why I’ve recently organized all of my posts focused on recreation, athletics, health and wellness into a new category here on Neighborhood Nomads called Places That Shape Us. You can find it in the drop down menu on the righthand side of the home page. Check it out and come back to visit for upcoming posts about moving and exercising throughout this fine city.

Georgetown and Potomac River, Washington, DC, January 2013

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, DC, January 2013

Washington DC, January 2013

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Remedies, Wellness & Cures

flowers january

January 7, 2013, Washington, DC: Country music played on the radio and the clean white lines of the Memorial Bridge stretched over the Potomac River at low tide as I snaked alongside it Saturday morning and wound my way up Rock Creek Park. I was on my way to say goodbye to a friend moving to New York City, where a fresh start in a new city would await. Something about those moments of transition, whether mine or someone else’s, make me nostalgic and appreciative and sharpen my senses all at once. The city looked truly alive that morning — bright and happy and healthy. It looked and felt well, better than ever, and the feeling was magnified given that I felt well too. After spending several days buried under the deep fog of flu, I was finally ready to emerge and embrace the New Year.

Early January is a natural time to take stock of our wellness. With a fresh beginning upon us, we are full of resolve to be well and happy and healthy in the days ahead. For me, that includes taking note of how our homes, neighborhoods and cities impact on our own well-being. Does where you live make you feel good? Do your surroundings provide you with what you need to feel mentally, physically and emotionally well? Do you fill your home with elements that make you feel healthy and happy and dispose of those that ail you? Do you seek out places that facilitate a healthy lifestyle? And have you ever packed your bags certain the remedy was someplace else?

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A Home Full of Music

music

January 5, 2013, Washington, DC: Husband and I received an amazing present this Christmas in Connecticut: a retro Crosley record player. We joyfully snapped it up like an old-fashioned suitcase and carried it back home to Washington on the train. Before we left my parent’s house, though, we ventured downstairs into the basement and sifted through boxes upon boxes of old records. They’re planning to ship dozens of their albums to our apartment as part of the gift.

Until I saw all those old albums covers, I’d forgotten what a potent role music had once played in my home. Continue reading