Why a Superior Summer Getaway Might Not Require a Passport

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Last week, our How Long Gone tour took us to Minneapolis–St. Paul for a few days. Due to scheduling, it made the most sense to spend a three-day weekend in the Twin Cities, which I didn’t totally realize until we boarded our flight. It was the end of the run, and having a little downtime in any city sounded great.

As you probably know, traveling in the summer is a slog. The airports, trains, and rental car counters are rammed with large groups of tourists who always need help knowing where to go. Being in the airport almost every day for a week will illuminate all the possible issues that could arise. With plenty of time spent on planes, trains, and automobiles scrolling on Instagram, I noticed that an overwhelming number of people were on holiday in a far-flung European destination. Italy, Greece, Turkey—everyone I follow was in a competition with each other to see who could have the most fun, the best meals, and the deepest, darkest tropical tan. This is nothing new, but this time it seemed concentrated. Meanwhile, I was traipsing up and down the Eastern seaboard, and let me tell you, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

International travel has been reduced to what feels like riding a public bus. The sights, sounds, and smells are horrific, and any journey over 10 hours feels like the pits of hell. No matter how nice the hotel and destination are, you sleep terribly for at least three nights. Your stomach never feels quite right, the coffee is terrible, and the hotel gym is a dim closet with a few dumbbells and an ancient treadmill. The food people rave about is fine, but I can have fantastic pasta in New York City or Los Angeles. I don’t need one night in Sicily or Puglia. I am not sure any bowl of noodles is going to change my life. I am sure the fish in Greece is fresher, but my amateur palate cannot tell. Sitting on a rock baking in Bodrum just reminds me how much I like home. For me, and I bet a lot of other people, routine and convenience outweigh wanderlust.

Two and a half days in Minneapolis–St. Paul was more fun and satisfying than a week in Hydra or Positano. It sounds insane, I know, but it was easy and relaxing. I rode a bike to the Walker Art Center on a beautiful day. We ate several great meals (don’t miss Diane’s Place) and stayed at the Four Seasons for a very reasonable price (the gym is amazing). I am not saying the Twin Cities are the answer, but some of the greatest places I have ever been are in the USA. Santa Fe, New Mexico; Charleston, South Carolina; Aspen, Colorado; Outer Banks, North Carolina; and Marfa, Texas, all come to mind, and they are a hop, skip, and jump away. Things can be busy, but nothing is as busy as a rocky European beach in high season. You might lose on Instagram Stories, but at least you won’t be stuffing your Rimowa into the EasyJet overhead bins. Consider keeping it domestic, at least until summer is over.

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