The energy of the mind is the essence of life. – Aristotle

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With A Suitcase and One Foot On the Train


Outside of my hotel window, looking out on the Mississippi River in New Orleans. Photo by: Jessica McBride

I sat on the carpet surrounded in darkness in my hotel room in New Orleans, in front of my floor to ceiling window, listening to House of the Rising Sun and eating peanut butter M&Ms.

Luckily I had come back with something other than the putrid pee smell of Bourbon Street and peddlers selling their various wares.


My fried fish po’ boy, chicken and sausage gumbo and tabasco infused mayo. Photo by: Jessica McBride

I guess there’s a reason gambling men went to New Orleans. The first moments into the French Quarter made me want to run back to the shelter of my hotel and not venture out until it was time to fly home.


Nothing more French than a fleur. Photo by: Jessica McBride

But, the street performances were beautiful, and my French connection to the city was enough to take hold. OK, and the beignets.


By the way, Cafe Du Monde is open 24 hours. Photo by: Jessica McBride

In the picturesque ideal of southern charm and big city vices, I also visited the World War II museum. Highly recommended by the way. Spend the extra money and see the 4D presentation of the war narrated by Tom Hanks. After 30 minutes, you’ll come out head high, chest out, bleeding red, white, and blue with tears running down your face and a new perspective of the stars and stripes.


Photo by: Jessica McBride

As in all my other travels, there is too much to see and so little time. I think that’s a good thing. It’s a draw to a place where the experience pulls you back for the long lasting memories.

Once you catch the travel bug there’s no cure for the syndrome other than a regular dose of adventure, sight-seeing, and voyages. It’s also extremely contagious, just ask a few of us sufferers.

Seeing how others live and view the world and life gives you an appreciation and understanding that is indescribable. It also makes you value and miss the home that you have built with those you love. I think that’s the most potent component of seeing the world.

Sometimes we need a reminder to appreciate the ranch dressing and Dr. Pepper back home.


A canon, a Scot, a Catholic church, in a historic French city that only a beautiful American sunset can bring together. Photo by: Jessica McBride




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Chicago and All That Jazz


Now imagine me in rain boots, playing tourist.

It’s a cold rainy day in Chicago. And I’m writing from my phone because I can’t get free internet on my laptop.

Life is different in the big city. Those of us from Tulsa and Dallas really don’t know what the big city is like.

Think of your downtown courthouse area. Do you know those buildings that are attached together? Now put a Target or Walmart in one. That’s how the big world operates. There are businesses everywhere.

Now multiply your small town times a million. Now you have a city.

Now imagine me in the middle of Chicago. I’ve been everywhere in the world, but can’t say I’ve been here.

I landed at the airport and decided taking a cab to my hotel was the best option. I figured getting lost on the subway wasn’t a good idea for me with all my luggage.

I estimated an hour trip from the airport to the hotel. Too bad the cabbie drove 85 mph in a 55 mph zone.

Why would he do that you ask? They all do that. It makes perfect business sense. The faster they can get a customer to their destination, the more customers they can drive.

Living in the South I forget that some vehicles in the North don’t have air conditioning. Luckily with the cabbie’s faster speed the crisp air was coming in through the open windows.

When I got to my hotel my first goal was to find food. I walked up and down the street couple of blocks. I found a Subway and a McDonalds.

Yes, I ate at a Subway in Chicago. I was tired of walking and was hungry.

After nice nap, I set out on my journey to find dinner. Why did I nap? Because it was pouring down rain!

Those of you who know me know I’m picky about food. But since I’m on a trip of new experiences, I decided to try pho.

I bundled up. I put on my rain boots. And after 15 minutes of walking in the rain, I discovered the place that I researched and found online was closed.

So as I went back into the rain, I decided I would stop at the first place on the way back to the hotel. Low and behold everything was closed.

I turned the corner to go into the closest entrance to the hotel and noticed a restaurant I hadn’t seen on my way out. Yay pizza!

I ordered the delicious substinance that was my dinner, and learned that my waitress was from Oklahoma. How does that happen?

After training tomorrow I’m determined to try pho. Someone be proud of me. I survived my first day in Chicago.