Alright, for my first Mount Rushmore, I wanted to do something that hit home for me. For anyone unfamiliar, last year I did a massive road trip through the western part of the United States, most of which were places I had never been to.
To date, the only states I have never been to are Alaska, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, and West Virginia. It seems like a long list, but it’s only 17 of the 50 states. And I have plans in the works to visit the rest of my list.
I’ve gotten asked a lot since I’ve been back home about what my favorite states and cities have been. And I’ll do the states at another time, but the cities are what I wanted to cover this time. There’s an innate intimacy to cities over states, which is what I loved about them, even the big ones!
So, I present – my top four cities I’ve been to.
I’ve long held a disdain for big cities. Too many people, too little greenery, and crowded streets. So imagine my surprise when the first stop on my trip, Chicago, was truly magical. I had been to Chicago once before, but it was for an 8th-grade field trip. I barely remember any of it, so I thought I could use a refresher course. It didn’t disappoint.
I also typically don’t get really into the typical “touristy” things in cities, but The Bean and Millennium Park were pretty cool to see. The traffic wasn’t as bad as I had imagined, and the people seemed genuinely nice and friendly. I still don’t know that I could ever live in a big, big city like Chicago, but it at least made me think about it.
Lake Tahoe, Nevada
By far my favorite place I’ve ever been is Lake Tahoe. Mountains, water, evergreens; what more could you want? And yes, technically there is no “Lake Tahoe, Nevada”. There is a South Lake Tahoe, California, but I didn’t make my way there, and the specific part of the lake that I loved was in Nevada.
I actually went twice, once on the California side and once on the Nevada side. Both times were stunning and would have given me rolls of pictures to use for the image here, but the sunset on the Nevada side was something I will never forget. I actually use that night when I meditate as my visualization image. It’s the happiest and at peace I’ve ever been in my life.
New Orleans, Louisiana
The only place on my list that I didn’t visit on my road trip, New Orleans is truly special. A quick story: I went in 2013 for a football game. I went with some friends and my cousin, who was in school at Tulane, let us stay at her house for the week. We were in a big house with what probably ended up being thirty people, and it was crazy. However, I got sick the second day and I also had to pay $700 to get my car fixed while we were there. It was still one of the most fun experiences of my life.
New Orleans also does “a lot of people, not a lot of greenery”, but the energy of the city and the people cannot be replicated. Walking down Bourbon Street at night, even on a weeknight, makes you come alive and you will see and experience things you just won’t in any other city. And it’s not just the energy. The buildings are beautiful and add to the character of the city. I don’t know that I could ever live in New Orleans, especially since I’ve gotten sober, but I will always have fond memories and be anxious to visit again.
Sedona emits a special energy and vibe, though different from New Orleans. It’s famous for its vortexes, but the whole town radiates the energy that people flock for. And they flock. One of the only downsides to Sedona was the congestion of tourists in the heart of the shops and restaurants.
I’ve written about it before, but the reverence people have once they are at the vortexes was unlike anything I’ve ever seen. Dozens of people, all at the vortex spot, completely silent. Some meditating, some taking pictures, some just soaking it in. But not a sound. It was truly special.
And that’s the list! I’d also like to add one honorable mention, just because it was so unexpected. Lubbock, Texas was a place I was only supposed to drive through but ended up hanging around for a bit. It just seems like a genuinely good place with genuinely good people and a great place to raise a family. I don’t want to make a habit of honorable mentions, but I felt the need to mention Lubbock.
Thank you so much for checking this out! Let me know if this is something you’d like to continue!