Going Great Distances for Small Pleasures


Quiet afternoon in Chicago’s Wicker Park

Toledo, Ohio is a 45-60 minute drive from my house. One day, last summer, I drove to Toledo for the sole purpose of getting a Jamba Juice smoothie. Now, I know you’re thinking, “Kimi, that’s quite a drive for just a smoothie. What would compel you to do such a thing?” Well, I had a craving for their green tea smoothie. Simple as that.

Earlier this month, I decided to take a short road trip to Chicago. There’s a Japanese bookstore that I wanted to check out and stock up on some reading material. Other than that, I had no reason to be in Chicago. It had been 3-4 years since my last visit to the city, and I just wanted to go. Driving along I-90, I started squealing like a little girl, my heart full of joy as the skyline came into view. A reaction that occurs no matter how many times I visit and a reminder that I never need a reason to be in Chicago.

Just last week, I drove 2 hours to go have dinner with my best friend. He recently moved back to the small town where we went to college, and it would be the last time I’d see him before I move to Japan. Add this to the number of times I’ve driven out of state for concerts, events, and spiritual readjustments, and you could consider me dangerously prone to flight.

In my head, traveling great distances just to visit a friend for 24 hours, buy a meal I can’t get anywhere else, or simply explore somewhere I’ve never been is rational. When I speak so nonchalantly of these excursions, I’m met with contorted faces and confused expressions. People think I’m crazy for taking off so suddenly to fulfill small pleasures, I think they’re crazy for not.

Because, one day, when you spontaneously decide to get in your car and go somewhere new, all the while singing at the top of your lungs to your favorite songs, talking yourself through life’s current stresses, or pretending you’re interviewing on Ellen (yes, I totally do this), you’ll realize that hey maybe this isn’t so nutty and maybe you should go more often.

When was the last time you went somewhere just to go?

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