“You’re always everywhere.” If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard that comment in 2019—I’d have my own interstate. You might laugh, but I’m serious. I’ve been living out of a suitcase this year, and an announcement from our company started it all… let me explain.
When you work for an agency, you work hard. You manage a variety of clients, across an array of industries, and you hustle and shake until they’re proud. It’s incredibly fulfilling to gain wins for clients, but it can be exhausting at times too—especially for workaholics that don’t mind plugging in late into the evening, working through weekends, and taking the occasional call during a family dinner. Fortunately, Well Done Marketing recognizes that their team works this hard, and in 2019, instituted unlimited PTO.
Now, it’s not a free for all, there are a few parameters around PTO use, but it does allow us the flexibility to take time off when we need to recharge and when we want to call a quick time-out to enjoy life. And many would argue in 2019, I’ve really enjoyed life.
I wasn’t born in Indiana, but I might as well be a Hoosier. I’ve spent nearly my entire life in the Midwest, and as a single parent, didn’t have the means to travel in college. But what I didn’t have resources for then, I’m making up for now.
You see, Indiana is a pretty great place to live. We have exceptional schools, we’re relatively clean and safe, and Indianapolis alone you can catch all the major sports you need, year-round. But we’re lacking in art. We still think of placemaking as branded signage, versus engaging local artists to help reimagine, redevelop, and quite literally redesign our streets. So, in an effort to spark some energy around Indy, and to share some highlights from my travels, here are the stunning sights I’ve encountered thus far this year.
Museums are cool. Interactive, immersive art museums? They’re cooler. I took a quick weekend away to check out wndr and I’m still in awe of the entire experience. I’ve been to a few immersive art exhibits (talking to you FOMO Factory), but this was by far the largest exhibit I’d seen yet. I was so impressed with the size of the space and the variation between how rooms were activated. If you’re looking for a quick trip to the Windy City, check them out. And don’t forget to look ahead because they’re always reimagining rooms and hosting after-hour events.
I have a handful of cousins in Kentucky, but I don’t get down to see them nearly enough. So, I filled up my tank, called them up, and we enjoyed a delicious brunch before checking out some of the street art. Louisville seemed similar to Indy in that there isn’t a dedicated art district—yet! But, there are some beautiful murals that pay homage to the city’s historic roots. Been Thayer Done That was a huge help in identifying the must-see spots before my trip.
Los Angeles, CA
Spoiler alert: I was born in California, and when I returned to LA in March I learned, my heart’s still there. It might have been the gorgeous view from Griffith Observatory, or watching the sunset from Santa Monica Pier, but I’m pretty sure it was the graffitied palm trees on Venice Beach. Venice is unlike anything I’ve seen before, and I mean it when I say I left my heart on the beach. The murals peek out on the sidewalks as vibrant colors and images capture your attention down alley ways and side streets. The paths are paved with personality, inviting tourists and natives to grab a bite to eat, enjoy a drink, and play under the sun.
Clearwater Beach, FL
My trip to Clearwater Beach was really all in thanks to my mom. I was able to accompany her and her high school friends as they celebrated their 60th birthdays at the beach, and though we were in and out way too fast, I loved the town! We stayed at the Palm Pavilion Inn, a boutique hotel nearly 20 steps from the beach, and I’m already counting down to my return. We were centrally located, which made walking to and from restaurants, shopping, and the beach very convenient. There wasn’t much art in Clearwater, but there were dolphins. Hear me out! Randomly located, each dolphin was decorated to match where it was placed. And each one included a hashtag that was coordinated with a nearby business. A little social, a little local, and a little economic boost all in one.
I’m not sure if I loved Boston because I was there during the Fourth of July, or just because it was Boston. I guess I’ll have to return to get to the bottom of that! But Boston was incredible. From the historic Freedom Trail to the breathtaking beauty inside of the Massachusetts State Capital, it was a trip I’ll never forget. And coincidentally enough, while there I stumbled upon two things that probably made my vacation.
The Happy Place is another immersive art experience, and this time I was able to drag my cousin to check it out. Similarly to wndr., it was a larger space and there was a great deal of variety to the exhibits. The coolest part about The Happy Place? I walked by the building on the street and found there was one day left—one day left before the entire exhibit closed in its Boston location. I’m thrilled I got to see it, and so thankful for the memories with my cousin.
But perhaps the most striking part of our Boston trip was the Underground at Ink Block. Most communities don’t have space under the interstate to activate, or at least we don’t here in the Midwest, so that could be why I’m still in such awe for the district they’ve created.
You can learn all about the Underground at Ink Block above, but here’s what I’ll say. I saw the tag #ThinkInk on a sign and looked it up. That was my entry-point into this discovery. [Side bar: When I worked in Fishers, we (shout out to the former PR team!) renamed the city magazine Think Fishers with the tag #ThinkFishers. Thinking living? #ThinkFishers Thinking fun? #ThinkFishers Thinking of opening a business? #ThinkFishers. Get the point folks?] Anyways, back to the original point.
Boston has eight-acres of land under I-90, which is currently being transformed into an underground mural district. Complete with accessible, multi-use paths, outdoor work spaces, and inviting murals for days. If I lived in Boston, this would easily be a place I visited daily. If I lived in Boston, I’d be doing everything in my power to work for the Underground at Ink Block. I was totally blown away at the use of colors, art, and local talent to quite literally revitalize this pocket of the city. Promise me if you’re in the area you’ll stop by.
So, maybe I am always, everywhere? I guess I can’t argue with the statement. But the people, the sights, the perspectives—I can’t get enough of everything that makes every person and every place along the way unique. And what’s coolest is that we can use art to showcase all of these things. Here’s to living in and out of a suitcase, and seeing everything that there is to see.