The world is full of more beauty than we are capable of seeing in our lifetime. At the early age of 24, I’ve fallen in love with so many little things in life and there is so much that I haven’t seen, felt, heard or even imagined in the world. It’s so amazing to travel and let yourself be open to the things of the world that are outside of what you’re used to. Learning to cope with Stargardt’s disease has made my life experiences so much more meaningful. I feel like I was blind before and now I see. Even my own neighborhood feels like a new and wonderful experience. How sweet it feels to travel!
People who travel and gain exposure to other cultures can grow to be more relatable. It also makes you a little more selfless. So many of us think the world revolves around us… It doesn’t. There are people better off than you and there are people worse off than you. There are people who find happiness in ways you have yet to consider. A little traveling can open your eyes. A person, who sees with only his eyes and not his heart, misses the details of beauty. The more I travel, the more I embody love, and the braver I feel. Yes, as a legally blind woman who has struggled with asking for help, and also as a human being in a new place.
Don’t worry about finding someone to travel with you. There’s something special about the time spent alone in an unfamiliar environment. The world has so much to teach and you may be surprised at what you might learn about yourself. I learned that I really love to write. I had many random encounters with different kinds of people this summer. For the first time in my life I decided to write about them. The short stories I wrote were so interesting to me. It was almost as if I had not lived the experience but only read about it. And that’s only one thing I learned about myself this summer in Minnesota.
What is Minnesota like?
Rochester is by far the smallest town I have ever been in. The people here are the nicest I have ever encountered (but I’m from New York LOL). I have not gotten a single rude response to my seemingly silly low vision questions. You know, “where is the women’s restroom”, when you’re standing ten feet from it; or “how much are the steak tacos”, when the menu is right in front of you. The people here are awesome. The town is pretty much built to revolve around Mayo Clinic, which is the entire downtown area. There are about 5 or 6 bars and a couple of restaurants that are pretty much all connected by the skyway or subway access. Yep, I heard it gets so cold in the winter that people really don’t leave the indoors unless they have to. You can get from your apartment to Mayo Clinic or to The Loop (the most popular party place) by heated skyway or subway access. Every Thursday there is a huge street festival with vendors selling food, drinks, clothes, you name it. There’s even a live band! No one is in a rush in Rochester. I really enjoyed being here this summer. I enjoyed the beautiful parks, trails and lakes that Rochester has to offer. I even got to take a wonderful trolley tour of the city.
Then there’s Minneapolis. I went there for the Fourth of July weekend and had a BLAST. As you know, I love waterfalls! My first stop was Minnehaha falls. I toured the downtown rooftop bars at sunset, went out to brunch in the morning, and went out dancing Saturday night. Oh and of course, I went to the famous Mall of America! Yes, there is an actual theme park in the mall. Mall of America would take 86 hours to walk the entire mall spending ten minutes in every store (OMG).
Minnesota might not be top on your list of places to travel to, but it sure is a gem! Some Places vie been in MN (click them):
Rooftop lounge/restaurant with a view of industrial Minneapolis
Rooftop bar with a wonderful young professional crowd and music
Lobster restaurant with brunch menu… amazing
No cover and possibly no dress code? LOL It was a great time. Freedom to dance!
This place had huge murals outside honoring history heroes
I enjoyed a rejuvenating sweat in the sauna every day of my weekend stay!
Here is where all of Rochester goes to experience “the beach”. It’s a beautiful lake with sand, grass, and a children’s’ park.
This is arguably the best restaurant in Rochester. Pricey but totally worth it on a special occasion if you’re a seafood lover like myself.
Coolest water slides ever! You step into a chamber and after a 3 second countdown the floor drops and you drop down a steep body slide! There are roller coasters too!
Football and tailgating! The Vikings Stadium is under construction so they are playing here at UMN. Awesome stadium with fireworks for every touchdown! Now there’s something to cheer for!
One of my favorites! About 7 of us rented a raft ($15 each) and took to the river! We brought a huge speaker system and food/drinks making this 2hour rafting experience amazing.
Beautiful waterfall and hike!
Street Festival mentioned above. Awesome!
This is the gym we joined. Inexpensive and has everything you need, including yoga classes!
I love this place! It’s one block from the house and it has a lovely outdoor seating area. It’s in a parking lot, but the atmosphere is perfect with tall bushes and white Christmas lights setting the mood. They also have different specials every night.
Of course! Mayo Clinic = Rochester. They have free tours and art galleries. Since my boyfriend is working here, I pretty much just did my own tour and hung out whenever.
Only $6! And the seats are the huge red recliner chairs! This is one of my favorite places in Rochester.
You will feel like you’re on vacation here. The outdoor tables have huts and the frozen drinks are fancy! I’m talking smoke and flames fancy!!
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” - Laozi