Slacking

My lack of posts lately isn’t because I’ve been too lazy or uninspired, it’s just because I have been very busy.  I have a little over a month of college left.  This means that I have projects, papers, tests (and eventually finals), homework, studying, graduation planning, apartment hunting, flight booking, bike shipping, bank changing…and so much more to do in the next 5 weeks!

I don’t think I have officially announced it on here, but…I’ll be moving to the Boston area immediately following graduation.  I am so excited about this, especially after my recent visit!  I’ll be working with an awesome company and living in a completely new area.  Along with a change in my life, comes a change in this blog.  I will still be writing about daily life and whatever happens to motivate me on a given day, but I intend to change the overall theme a bit.  I know I’m not the first young person who has moved from a small town to a big city in a different part of the country.  For this reason I will be gearing my topics toward my new theme, “Btown to Beantown – Small town Minnesota to Metropolitan Massachusetts.”  It is a specific theme, but I think my posts will apply to all of those in a similar situation no matter what city you’re moving to.

Can’t wait to start my new life and career out East…but before that I had better focus on my last month of classes!

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Boston Trip: Days 5 – 10

Tuesday, Day 5: Another day in Boston.  We again jumped the T into downtown Boston and spent the day exploring.  We also did some shopping and found ourselves some goodies.  Nothing too exciting this day, but still a lot of fun.

Wednesday, Day 6: Back into Boston again this day.  For a couple of kids from small town Minnesota everything in a city like this is impressive.  I’ve spent a little time in Minneapolis, but this is so much different.  This reminds me of some of the cities in Europe, particularly British and Italian cities.  You can tell that this was an area first settled by our British forefathers, but the Italian influence is tremendous.  This is especially true in a neighborhood like Beacon Hill.  We walked through the streets and enjoyed seeing old men meeting up outside local cafes and speaking Italian with one another.  What a great place to spend some time.  We will be back.

We went out to dinner on this night with our host and one of his business associates/friends.  We had some great, budget-friendly food at Trina’s Starlite Lounge.  We also enjoyed talking with someone who has never been to Minnesota, and who has done his fair share of traveling.  I always love to hear travel stories from other people.

Thursday, Day 7: Spent the day back and forth between Boston and Cambridge.  Beautiful weather made it another awesome day.  We went for a light snack at The Biscuit and cruised around Cambridge in the morning before heading in to the city.  We then went back through the Beacon Hill area (stopped at Mike’s Pastry for a cannoli; delicious!), down by the Wharfs on the water, and eventually jumped on the T and window shopped on Newbury Street.  Overall, an excellent way to spend a Thursday.

Dinner was with our host, three of his business associates, and another friend at Catalyst (mentioned in early posts).  Great conversation and food followed, ending our awesome day.  We then had about a 20 minutes walk back to the apartment before heading to bed.

Friday, Day 8: The day was spent in Cambridge.  We wandered down to Kendall Square and Central Square for breakfast at Flour.  After an excellent and filling sticky-bun we meandered back up the road, through Central Square, doing some spontaneous thrift shopping on the way.  Cambridge has some excellent thrift shops and they are well worth exploring for those on a budget.

Our day ended back at Broomstone’s Curling Club, where I got to play a great game with some friends.  We then ended up back at the apartment, and did some packing while having a few drinks.

Saturday, Day 9: Woke up and went our to breakfast at a great little place called Buddy’s.  We then finished our packing and were dropped off at the airport.  Hopped a quick flight back to Minneapolis and were picked up by my brother and sister-in-law.  Spent the night hanging out at their house and describing our trip.  Early to bed after a tiring day of travel.

Sunday, Day 10: Hung out in the Twin Cities for the day and drove back up north in the evening.  This marks the end of the trip.  Can’t wait to go back!

Boston Trip: Days 3 & 4

Sunday, Day 3: We woke up at about 9:00AM hoping not to lose too much of our day to sleep.  We decided to stick around the Cambridge area and to take a slower approach to the route we had walked the prior day.  The weather was mild – about 45 degrees and overcast – so we threw on our light jackets and walked toward Harvard Square.

On our way we walked through Harvard Yard again and stopped to enjoy the sights and sounds.  Once we reached the opposite side of the yard we entered entered Harvard Square by crossing Massachusetts Avenue.  The hustle and bustle of a busy town square was energizing and we quickly strode up the sidewalk to do some window shopping.  We entered a few shops, and spent a little bit of time in The Coop to find a souvenir sweatshirt for my girlfriend’s younger sister.  We continued our walk and eventually made a large loop, ending back at the apartment.

By this time, it was nearly 4:30PM and we had made plans early in the day to go do some spectating at the local curling club.  We got picked up at the apartment at about 5:00PM and arrived at Broomstones Curling Club at about 5:45PM.  We then watched a few friends curl for about 2 hours before heading back to the apartment.  We then had a couple of drinks, made plans for the next day, and went to bed.

Monday, Day 4: Again, we awoke near 9:00AM and got ourselves ready for the day.  We had decided to take our first trek into Boston and to follow the Freedom Trail.  This is a very touristy, but very enjoyable way to spend a day.  We walked by many landmarks with historical significance; we enjoyed that very much.  This is where the history of the United States began.

We stopped at Quincy Market in the Faneuil Hall Marketplace for lunch.  There were so many different places to grab a quick bite to eat!

We spent the rest of the day wandering around Downtown before heading back to Cambridge.  We then met up with our host and another friend for some dinner at Mr. Bartley’s Burgers.  If you’re ever in Cambridge, please make a stop here.  There are tons of options depending on what you want on your burger.

The rest of the day consisted of more walking, and then just hanging out at the apartment with friends.  Another awesome day!

Boston Trip, Days 1 and 2

Day 1, Friday: My girlfriend and I had our bags packed and ready to go.  We met up after our 9:00AM classes, jumped in the car, and hit the road.  The first leg of our travel to Boston had begun.  It is about a 4 hour drive from our small northern town to Minneapolis, from which we would be flying the next morning.  I drove through town on a mission to get onto the highway heading South.  My girlfriend dug through a binder full of burnt CDs and selected one with some of our favorite tracks.  Once we hit the highway it was 4 hours of music and conversation about our building excitement for the week ahead.  We arrived in the outskirts of Minneapolis, where my brother lives, at about 3:00PM.  We unloaded our bags from the car and were greeted by my sister-in-law before she went to work for the late shift.  We jumped back in the car and headed into town to do a bit of shopping at IKEA.  After shopping, we ate some dinner with my brother and sister-in-law on her “lunch” break.  Then it was about time for bed as our flight was due to depart from MSP at 7:00AM.

Day 2, Saturday: My alarm went off at 4:00AM, time to get up and start a long day.  My girlfriend also rolled out of bed at this point and we stumbled down to the kitchen for a bite to eat.  I woke my brother as he was to drop us off at the airport.  We ate, did some last minute luggage checks, and fired up the car for our quick jaunt to the airport.  We arrived at the airport around 5:15AM and got through security rather quickly.  After we located our gate, we found some seats and waited to board.  Boarding began in a short time and before we knew it our plane was taxiing out to the runway.  Our flight went very smoothly and we landed at BOS around 10:00AM Eastern time.  We walked outside to the pickup area, rain was coming down pretty heavily.  My friend who we’d be spending the next week with was there to greet us and assisted us with our luggage.  We climbed into his truck and began the short drive from the airport to Cambridge.  He pointed out landmarks and described the city to us as we peeked out of the rain soaked windshield between swipes of the wiper blades.  We arrived at his apartment just as the rain began to let up.  Great timing.  We hauled our luggage to his third floor apartment and got a bit settled in to our space for the week.  The three of us then decided to grab some lunch and went into town for a bite at All Star Sandwich Bar.  The service was great, and food was delicious!  Our waiter gave us a warm welcome to the Boston area, and hoped we would enjoy our stay; great first impression.  After lunch my friend, who has become somewhat of a local after about 5 years in the area, took us on a walking tour of Cambridge, Harvard, Harvard Square, and the surrounding neighborhoods.  The weather was cool and damp, so we stopped for a cappucino at Crema Cafe.  I would suggest this cafe to anyone; very busy, great coffee.  We then returned to the apartment, and spent the evening catching up and discussing our plans for the week.  Our air matress felt great at the end of the day.  Sleep came quickly…Days 3 and 4 to come soon!

Harvard Yard

Busy, busy

Spring break was so relaxing, and now I have returned to a crazily busy week of school.  Luckily I was able to ride a wave of motivation today to not only get through my current assignments, but also to get ahead in a couple of my classes.  I know I’ve said this before, but it is a great feeling to be ahead of the game.  This has even more meaning as a senior because it means that I am that much closer to graduation.  The daily countdown to commencement has suddenly gone sub 50.  What a crazy thought, in 50 days I will be a college graduate.  I will be so happy to be done and so proud to have a degree in my possession.

I am now in the process of long distance house hunting as well.  I have secured a full-time job offer in my career path and will be moving after graduation.  This takes up a great amount of my time, as searching for apartments in a new place is difficult at best; it is incredibly exciting though!

I will elaborate on my move later on.  My blog will also be taking on a new theme soon to follow my experiences in a new place…stay tuned!

 

P.S. I haven’t forgotten, I will write about my trip to Boston soon!

Weather

What  beautiful early spring day; 55 and sunny feels incredible.  I have just returned from a brief jog on public trail that follows the edge of the lake.  I haven’t been exercising as much as I’d like to lately so that felt really good.  Such simple things as sunshine and warm weather can have a profound effect on my energy and mood.  I feel much more motivated to accomplish my tasks and to get back into a exercise routine.

All in all, this is an awesome day!  Because of that I have to keep this post extremely short; I’m heading back outside.

Back to Reality

I have returned from my spring break trip which I had been writing about prior to last week.  What an awesome experience!  If you haven’t been to Boston/Cambridge you should definitely consider taking a quick trip out.  I will write about my trip in greater detail later this week hopefully, and try to share some photos as well.  Right now I am busy with school and trying to get back into the swing of things for my final seven weeks of college.

What an incredible feeling; I’m sure some of you reading this are sharing this feeling with me.  A feeling of excitement, mixed with some anxiety have become constants in my life.  I will soon be done with school for good (unless I choose to pursue higher degrees) and must enter the professional world.  This can be daunting for some, but I am very much looking forward to the experiences that lie ahead.

As I said above, I will write later this week on my vacation, but for now it’s back to the books.

Friends, Family, and Traveling

Although the title may lead you to believe that this post if about leaving your friends and family behind when you travel that is not the case.  In fact, I encourage everyone to travel with friends or family members if they get a chance.  This post is more about your friends and family helping you make your travel dreams come true.

As you know I have been going on and on about my upcoming trip to Boston, MA.  This trip was only made possible by one of my good friends who lives in the area.  We have been friends for years and he moved to the East Coast about 6 years ago.  Since then, we have been discussing the fact that I should come to visit at some point.  Between our hectic college schedules and limited funds we couldn’t seem to make it happen until now.  He has settled into his career, and I have finally learned how to save a bit of money – although not enough money for a hotel in Boston for a week.  He has been generous enough to allow my girlfriend and I to stay with him in his apartment for the week we are there.  This makes the entire trip affordable and will undoubtedly make it more enjoyable.  Free lodging and quality time with an old friend can make spring break enjoyable anywhere you go!

Another prime example is a potential trip I have coming up.  I have an uncle who does a fair amount of traveling for work.  Of course, his expenses are paid by the company he works for, and because he oftens spends weeks abroad at a time the company has a rental apartment for him in his usual destinations.  One of these places is Singapore.  This has provided me with an opportunity to experience an entirely new culture if I’m willing to spend some cash.  Singapore is a place with an incredible history and diversity which intrigues me deeply.  My plane ticket could be completely covered by my uncle’s seemingly endless frequent flyer miles (extremely generous offer from him) and I would have a place to stay.  I would only need to pay for my food and general living expenses while I am there.  I see no reason to pass up this opportunity so stay tuned for further developments.

Singapore is a blend of traditional and modern from many different cultural heritages.

I present these little snippets above to encourage fellow budget-minded travelers to talk to friends and family about dropping in on them for a few days.  I’m not recommending that you ring them up and say you’re coming to crash on their couch next week, but a simple e-mail mentioning that you’d like to see their city/state/area might bring an offer.  More than likely they will be glad to have you, and you will have a satisfying and budget friendly vacation.

Hopefully this can help some of you to explore new ideas as to how you travel.  And hopefully those ideas will turn into incredible new experiences!