Waking up on a Friday morning, specifically at two, it was September 8th. I realized that it was one day till I turned 25, marking the halfway point of the best years of my life. Suddenly it hit me that this could tell a great story, so I knew I had to play it straight and take my chance. Quickly as possible, I grabbed my adventure bag that I keep in my closet that is filled with a few outfits, my passport,
and some toiletries.
At 2:15 in the morning, I called a Lyft. Yes, I went to the airport with no ticket, plans or any place to stay. I just knew that I wanted to get the hell out of Dodge for an adventure.
A few years back, I got tipped off by a barista who told me that she goes to the airport to wait for free standby tickets. That is exactly what I did. In eager anticipation of the car ride over, I waited and twiddled my thumbs hoping that this would work.
I remember watching the clock, waiting for them to call my name for standby tickets. Three in the morning, three-thirty, three-forty five, three fifty and suddenly there was a seat that opened up thirty minutes before a flight to Chicago.
Just like that, I was on a free plane ride to the Windy City.
After major delays, I finally arrived at 7:30 in the morning. Still, I didn’t really have a place to stay and it was too early to text any of my friends if I could stay with them.
As you can tell, I am a major risk taker. Moving on, I have some friends in Logan Square Park, so my best bet was to take a train going that way. When I stepped off of that train, it was time to go into survival mode so naturally, I needed pancakes, bacon and a pot of coffee.
I had about 18 hours to find a place to stay.
At 8:45 in the morning, exhausted out of my mind, I began texting friends all over the city with zero expectation of having a place to stay.
One of my mate’s, Nigel Hemingway, responded saying that he was in Bloomington, Illinois and that he would be back to his flat at 9 pm. Luckily his roommate was working from home at that point in time, so he linked me up with him so I could take a nap at his place and leave my stuff there before I traversed the city.
After my quick coffee-cat nap it was time to explore the city. Who knew that after waking up at two in the morning that I would be in a city foreign to Minneapolis.
This whole spur of the moment trip was all based on a leap of faith that everything would work out. Why may you ask that I would do something like this? Well, because how are you able to learn perspective in life when you are always in your comfort zone.
Not to mention, I did this same thing going to New York City almost three years ago, but this is another story for another day.
First, I proceeded to wander aimlessly around town with no sense of direction only to stop at every funky restaurant that seemed cool to explore. My main goal was to eat my way through the city. All of the walking that I did made it easy to eat many meals that day. But, the main destination was Smoque BBQ, an eatery that my Father takes me to whenever we are in Chicago. I sure wished that he was there because that is his favorite restaurant.
During this long and magical odyssey, sort of like T.S. Elliot’s famous poem, “Journey of the Magi”, the adventure outweighed all of the pain in my feet from walking so far that day along with the little sleep the night before.
In short, with a “say yes” attitude, I splurged over the supermarkets in Little Vietnam and explored the parks and monuments all over the city. A strange lady gave me a foot massage, ate some ribs, and I even had my first chicken and waffles. I stumbled upon an African clothing store where I bought this vibrant colored shirt and I also ate a burrito out of a food truck. I even got to speak Spanish with a lot of people, which I don’t have the chance to do here in Minneapolis, marking one of my favorite highlights of this spectacular sojourn.
Suddenly, I found myself in Wrigleyville for happy hour.
This was a whirlwind.
Everything stopped when I was hanging out with Cubs fans before their game against the Brewers. The atmosphere was so cinematic that I needed to break down and buy a Cub’s hat so that I could blend into this euphoric environment.
The game was to start at 1:20 pm but got moved to 7:10 pm. What great luck that I had and perfect timing! Night games are pretty special at Wrigley Field because the team is notorious for playing mainly day games. This is because Wrigley Field didn’t even have lights until 1988. Needless to say, I was excited to be part of a unique atmosphere in Wrigleyville.
Wrigleyville is one big party whenever the Cubs play and I just wanted to be part of this historic baseball atmosphere. Obviously, I needed to get tickets in order to prolong my experience.
Gradually, I had a slick idea. Then I proceeded to talk to everyone so that I could get some intel about the tricks and trade of Cub’s culture.
As I studied the crowd and groups of interesting fans, I got word where to get tickets for under 30 dollars.
Scouring through the streets and at every bar, at last, I found him.
“Tickets! Anyone need tickets?!” shouted the Scalpin Man.
I turned my head and studied the environment. Noticing a ticket map of the field next to where he was standing on the street, I felt like I could trust this man.
“How much?” said by yours truly.
“Twenty-five,” I replied.
Just because I showed up in Chicago, I was rewarded. Life rewards those who show up. Certainly, I did not expect to be eating a Chicago style hot dog at Wrigley Field when I woke up at two in the morning earlier that day. I did not expect to even get tickets to the game, especially for dirt cheap. The only thing that I wanted was a fun adventure so that I could tell a really cool story.
Afterall, it is absolutely necessary to take risks and go on spontaneous adventures in life to collect wisdom through life experiences.
Keep in mind that this was only my first day of a four-day sojourn to Chicago. This all happened to me because I woke up in the middle of the night just because I wanted to go on an adventure.
Sometimes, you need to throw yourself out of your comfort zone and to have the ability to say “yes” to new situations. What would life be like if no one ever took chances or went on spontaneous adventures?
I’ll let you answer that question.
Remember, “The Zos Knows”.
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