This week we are taking a break from publishing any content so that we can spend time with our family. Please check back next Friday, as we publish our look back over 2021 and a sneak peak into what is coming in 2022.
Andrea and I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!
The notes for this story were gathered in September of 2019. A time that seems so long ago as the experiences and people met for this story were curated during a pre-pandemic world. But, I along with so many others had know idea just how much our world was about to change.
In an effort to do some housekeeping on all of the places I put notes and ideas for stories, I began sifting through a myriad of journals, scraps of paper, and electronic notes. In doing so I came across my musings about Chicago and decided to resurrect this story for you. I hope you enjoy.
I have had the privilege of visiting Chicago several times and let me say, every time I am completely blown away. This is an amazing city brimming with fantastic food, a great but somewhat hidden craft beer scene, fantastic bars, beautiful parks and literally some of the nicest people I have met while traveling in a large major US city.
For me, and perhaps many others, my perception of Chicago was hot dogs with bright green relish, deep dish pizzas, and the Ell. But let me tell you, this city has so much more to offer to someone who chooses to visit.
And while this city is chock full of amazing food (seriously need to try the Italian Hot Beef sandwich from Al’s), great beers, impressive museums, gorgeous parks, and wonderful public art, the one thing that stood out for me in what is one of the largest US cities, are the people. Everyone is genuinely friendly.
So it is this friendliness, coupled with some amazing beers and bacon that I want to share with you a place that I believe embodies all things Chicago.
The Centennial Bar is nestled just off the corner of North LaSalle Drive and Superior Street. This local establishment focuses its efforts on craft beer and high quality food. Having visited twice during our time in Chicago, the Centennial came to embody what is for me a complete representation of all the wonderful things that are Chicago. Great people, great beer, and great food. Like all good discoveries, we stumbled upon this place in the never-ending quest for new beers and unique foods.
The Centennial is carved into a beautiful 4 story building that dates back to 1888 and welcomes the thirsty visitor with an exposed wood, brick and metal design that perfectly complement each other to create a welcome and relaxing vibe in which to enjoy one of the many rotating craft beers on tap or in the bottle. And if you are hungry, the food is of exceptional quality and what one would expect of a gastropub all while not being pretentious, just delicious.
Chris, the bar manager of Centennial who is just as passionate about great beers as I am and is ready and willing to help take you on your journey into delicious beers. If you are new to craft beer, Chris has an ability to help you dial in your flavors and taste to help you choose the best beers to suit your palate.
While Nikki is the kind of great server that has the gift of making you feel comfortable and welcome. Within just a few moments of meeting her we were all talking like friends. Hailing from the west coast, she has made Chicago her home as she pursues her educational endeavors. Also, if she, or anyone suggest that you order the house smoked bacon, do yourself favor and order the bacon. It really is that good and is great as a side to some of the many delicious beers available.
The genuineness of both Chris and Nikki truly embody the spirit of Chicago. So the next time you find yourself in the windy city, stop by Centennial and have a pint or two. You never know, you might just make some new friends. At the least, you will have some great beer and delicious food.
Our stories, and the experiences that write them would not be what they are without the people we meet on our journeys. These once strangers act as the all important thread that holds the tapestry of our experiences together. Without the people that we meet, our travel experiences seem to be more mundane. The great food is no longer an experience, just lunch. The amazing art and architecture, just a painting or mural that we barely notice in or on a building. You see it is the people that we meet that create the connection for us to these things and allow us to truly enjoy them.
As I have procrastinated on releasing this story, I know that Chris has moved on professionally, yet continues to stay in touch with the good people of the Centennial. While on the other hand, I’m not sure if Nikki is still working there or not, but because they both were such an integral part in our experience I have left them in the narrative.
Until next time, wishing everyone peace and good vibes.
I always tell people that realistic expectations and clear communications will solve 90% of an individual or groups problems. Well this story needs to begin with an apology, first to my readers, and secondly to myself. I failed to follow my own advice as it pertains to my writing.
When I first set out to write about travel, I had the greatest of intentions of publishing a story at least twice a month. Well, here we are seven months into this journey and I have completed six stories. While the stories are abundant in my mind, getting them in print has been much more difficult than I anticipated. So, my apologies.
The upside is that I have been traveling and exploring which only deepens the well of experience from which future stories will be born. I look forward to sharing these past and future experiences with you as I continue to drink from the cup of world travel.
The Corona-Virus and the Fear to Travel
All it takes is a quick glance at the latest headlines to know that all of the talking heads and media outlets are doing a fantastic job reporting the spread of Covid-19 also known as Coronavirus. And while this illness is devastating, please don’t allow it to create fear in you and prohibit you from experiencing an adventure through travel. Hear is my unsolicited advice. Keep traveling. But, be smart and intentional in your selection of places to go by researching your destination, don’t just take the advice of today’s headlines. Follow good hygiene practices. Wash your hands. Chances are, you will be fine. Rant over.
I will be returning to Costa Rica and this time I have the privilege of introducing the country I love to my daughters. I am so excited for this trip that will take place in March 2020. We have a huge surprise for them, and I will be writing about that in an upcoming story. So stay tuned. Also, don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @puravidajurnys for photo content and short stories about places I have been and places I am going.
Wrapping it Up with a BIG Thank You
Those closest to me know that I love the written word and I like expressing it for others to read and enjoy. So to those individuals who keep encouraging me to get my stories out there, thank you. You all keep me motivated and inspired to tell of my adventures.
Today I read that Uruguay a country that I lived in, called home for several years has issued a travel warning for my home country of the United States, and this breaks my heart. I don’t blame the government of Uruguay. Unfortunately we share this planet with some bad people, people like the two individuals who this past week collectively killed 31 humans and injured countless more. Does this mean that for those that want to explore and see the world, they shouldn’t? Read on, and let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
As a citizen of the United States, I am angry, frustrated, and scared. And my level of hope in humanity seems to diminish more when I read about tragedies like the recent mass shooting. But, these are emotions, emotions that I, as a normal, healthy, reasonable human being can work through. To acknowledge the loss of so many lives this week in my country is vitally important. My heart and prayers go to the families, friends, and survivors of these horrific tragedies. Yet this is a travel blog, and this story will be a travel story.
To me travel is an opportunity for people from one place to go and explore, vacation, and take holiday in a different place. They have the opportunity to fill their social media with 100’s of pictures and check-ins. They can try new foods, hear different languages, and shop in little markets. And it is opportunities like these that are vitally important. They are important because they allow individuals to expand their world and develop a tolerance for others. To see people and places that are supposedly different from their norm, is healthy. The reality is that when we travel and get outside of our norm, we truly begin to grow.
So, I encourage everyone to get out and see a new and different place. Go meet new people, try new foods, explore new spaces. But most importantly, don’t let the emotion of fear guide you. Don’t let fear stop you. There are more good people, than bad. There is more beauty than there is ugly. We deserve to see the good and beautiful. To enjoy it and experience it. You can unlock the positive in humanity by travelling and exploring some place new. And if you are really courageous, share a meal in a new place with someone you don’t know.
Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog. This is something that I have wanted to do for a while now, and thanks to the encouragement of my beautiful wife and favorite travel companion as well as several friends, I decided to take the plunge. Here you will find short musing and pictures on my journeys across this glorious planet and occasionally my thoughts and ramblings on life and the impact that travel can have on an individual.
But first, a bit about myself. I am a husband to an amazing woman and my number 1 travel partner, Andrea. Second, I am a dad to 4 great kids. It is my hope that my travels inspire my children to pick up the mantle of travel and to discover what this amazing planet has to offer.
My love for travel unwittingly began as a child when my parents moved to Central and South America to perform missionary work. It is at this moment that I know that the seeds for exploration and discovery were surreptitiously planted in my subconscious. Then at the age of 18, I found myself back in Central America as a part of the US Armed Forces. So you see, my formative years were spent seeing and experiencing so many wonderful places, people, cultures, and food.
But enough about the past. Let’s talk about the present. Today I am an avid traveler and lover of new experiences. My goal when I travel is to try and immerse myself into the local culture by trying new foods, drinks, and local customs. My best travel experiences have been afforded to me when I allow myself to simply get lost within a city. Taking side streets that look interesting and sometimes daunting have led to some of my best meals and pictures.
My hope is that this blog will allow you an opportunity to experience the beautiful art of travel through my writings and camera lens. I truly believe that our planet and the many different people and cultures are connected much more closely than we understand. Yet, the key to that understanding is simple, we must go and experience it for ourselves. And while I know that the cost of travel can be a barrier, I hope that this site provides you with a small glimpse and inspiration into wanting to discover something new for yourself.
My goal for this blog is simple, to give you the reader an opportunity to see the world through my stories and photos. I hope that it will inspire you to book a flight or simply get in your car and go see something new and different.
Peace and good vibes to everyone.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”