My new favorite thing is to piggyback onto one of Mike D’s business trips. The destination doesn’t have to be exotic or cosmopolitan. Just the idea of getting out of town and experiencing somewhere new and different is enough! Took a Thursday-Friday off work and flew out to Salt Lake City, Utah. Without doing much research, I was already looking forward to the likes of this clean, modest, quietly-happening town. Its main magnificence, a huge Mormon temple, glowing magestically against a backdrop of snow-covered mountains.
Mike attended to his work stuffs, and I hit the town on foot, in freezing-cold temperatures and a chance of rain to try to intimidate me. The streets were wide and clean. Maybe it was the snow. Maybe it was the absence of crowding on the sidewalks or the abundance of cars crisscrossing intersections that I expect to encounter in a downtown area. Are businesses even open? It’s so quiet and still. Yes, open! Just quiet… which I found to be most impressive and enjoyable, in both its calm and simplicity. This isn’t to say, at all, that the place was deserted or boring. No. It was completely manageable, which I will say, in this case, is an extremely high compliment! That alone, already made my SLC experience unique and delightful.
So, of course there were some things to research to make sure I was going about my experience properly. Food destinations! Scoped out some yelp reviews and took the lead from a Thrillist article or two. I like to make sure I eat well when I’m some place new. Not quantity, but quality, of course… although I shoot for a high quantity of quality, as anyone should ;). This isn’t a food review, but let’s just say that what I ate was satisfying, and where I ate was comfortable and pleasing. And usually Instagram-worthy.
On the second day I got to hit some spots outside of the downtown area. Wanted to browse local boutiques and quirky consignment shops. It was less freezing, so a walk in the cold was actually quite nice. Locals were friendly and helpful when I stopped to ask directions or get advice on where to go next. Loved strolling through some residential streets and imagining the people that lived in all the cute, snow-covered houses. Little things, like the orange flags at crosswalks to make pedestrians more visible, gave me the warm fuzzies about a community culture that valued safety. Adorbs.
These days I do feel a heightened sense of awareness anytime I travel outside the liberal bubble of the SF Bay Area. You never know if walking into a conservative community as a blonde Asian is going to put you in an unwelcoming situation. You also never know how prepared you should be to handle yourself. It’s weird to say I was relieved to not run into any hostility (weird that this is a feeling that I have to anticipate more in this socio-political climate). Even better, as I overheard concerned conversations around current events, and read messages of “no hate and no fear here” in local newspapers and advertisements, I felt warm, akin, safe and sort of touched. I could feel myself sigh and smile, thinking “This is a nice place. I like it here. And the cost of my meal was incredibly reasonable.”
Hoping to take more of these quick, piggyback trips and more inspo-tunities. Are you getting out of town these days?