2017 has been the year of road trips for me. I didn't foresee 2 AM rides along creepy Texas (Chainsaw Massacre-esque) roads as apart of my travel future, but I am glad for it. Man, road trips are long and hard yet rewarding. Rewarding? How? I know. Trust me after the end of a 22 hour drive from Texas to Maryland, you'll want to crown yourself the road trip queen or king. It's a tough road y'all but I think I love it!
This time around I fly to Texas to meet the BF and we decided to take the long way home. Well, it was the same time as our usual route but felt a lot longer. Usually we go Texas > Arkansas > Tennesssee > Virginia > Maryland. This route took us from Texas > Missouri > Illinois > Indiana > Ohio > West Virginia > Pennsylvania > Maryland. See what I mean?
We strategically planned this route so that we could stop in the lovely city of St. Louis. I can't lie STL has never been at the top of lists of places to visit. I stand corrected because it's a beautiful city with that mid-west feel and a stunning history. As we entered Missouri, snowflakes began to fall and we were excited about having a snowy Christmas eve in a new city.
I could't help but to peer from beneath my heavy eyelids as soon as the GPS let me know we'd arrived. Trying to spot The Arch all the way to the hotel, I didn't expect to be this excited. We pulled up to the telly that we paid $29 for thanks to my employer.
Anyone else have a job with travel perks?
After embarking on the 9-hour trek from Dallas, I needed sleep immediately. I couldn't wait to get out and explore though. We headed downtown for ice skating beneath The Arch. The last time I went Ice Skating was when I was 14 and had a birthday at the local rink. It's safe to say I was scared to lace up. After stepping foot into the cold, we quickly realized how dumb we'd be if we didn't slide buy a shop to buy gloves. Who comes to St. Louis in the Winter without gloves?
On this glove hunt, we learned that shops in the downtown area close early on Sundays. We ended up buying cheap (but warm) gloves for $7 at the ever-fancy Hilton STL. Clutch. Back to the rink we go for a $12 hour long skating session. I was nervous y'all. I didn't even want to think about how hard I might've fallen. Also realized once it was too late that some wine would've helped calm my nerves, but that's besides the point.
You know what I love most about road trips? (I'm driving to Canada for NYE so obviously I like them too much) The talks. If you're in a car for long enough with cool folks, the conversation changes. It's usually filled with excitement and can sometimes get deep. Although I have shy tendencies, I've always appreciated and valued real conversation. On the drive up, we spoke of what makes us feel like kids, when we stopped being 'kids' and why?
As I lapped around the rink, I couldn't help but to think about this questions. Had I stopped being a kid? Were things like ice skating now child-like and only something to do for sh*ts and giggles. In the moment, I decided that I would go into the New Year continuing to do things that make me feel like a kid. There's a bunch of sayings about how as we grow we stop being creative and stop being kids. I realized that I don't ever want to stop. I was having so much fun and in that moment nothing else mattered but my possibly frost bitten fingers, blistered ankles and the joy of my child-like laugh.
S/O to the best Christmas Eve, ever. Thanks for the good vibes St. Louis.
P.S. When you're in the city be sure to stop by the Old Courthouse. It is oozing with the history of black people in this country. Filled with beautiful crafted infographics, interesting documentaries and the chance to step foot in the courtroom where Dred Scott fought for his right to be a free man. It's free and necessary.