Wanderlust is real. It’s the constant longing to take a road trip. The moment you get back from one, you’re itching for the next. The desire constantly nags and all-consumes. If you can relate, you probably have wanderlust too.
This weekend, I took a miniature road trip to Mankato, Minnesota located about 1.5 hours southwest of the Twin Cities. This was not just a road trip, this was a literary quest.
Fargo is cool.
Everyone who’s been to Fargo already knows this. Everyone else doesn’t always believe me.
When I think of Fargo-Moorhead, I think of hanging out on our friends’ big front porches and drinking wine. I think of tromping down main street in a snow storm, popping in and out of bars ordering pickled eggs and Chuck Norris shots.
I think of the troll lounge at the Sons of Norway building, cheese plates with slices of cheeses fanned out as opulently as a peacock’s tail feathers at Mezzaluna (half-price at happy hour!), and knoephla soup. I think of overflowing molcajete and ridiculously cheap beer at Mango’s and buttermilk pie at Josie’s.
I think of blowing up Peking ducks with air compressors in M State culinary school and the madness that was German Sausage Chowder day in the Sanford hospital cafeteria.
I was a reluctant Harry Potter fan.
Growing-up, magic was mostly forbidden. Bible magic was OK. Disney magic and Chronicles of Narnia magic was OK, too. But Bed Knobs and Broomsticks magic and Roald Dahl Witches magic was not. Maybe because magic was so forbidden, I have always been obsessed with magic.
Fast forward to the summer after my senior year of high school. Before college freshman orientation, we were all assigned to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the fifth book in J.K. Rowling’s series. I had never read a Harry Potter book and I thought it was the stupidest assignment in the world.
I dutifully bought the book. It was as heavy as a brick and 870 pages long. With a resentful heart, I opened the book and started my summer reading assignment.
I’m just not that into amusement parks. There, I said it. Big crowds exhaust me. Rollercoasters scare me. All of the other rides make me sick. I’m cheap, I like naps, and get claustrophobic.
This month, we met up with a small group of Jake’s friends and visited Universal Studios Orlando. Despite all of these things, I spent an entire day at Universal Studios and I had a good time. If you are like me, you can, too. Here’s are my ten best tips:
There might not be a screen door at the Screen Door and you’ll probably have to wait an hour for brunch, but that’s OK and I’ll tell you why. But first, notes on the journey:
In August, right after we left St. Louis and before we had a moment to catch our breath in Minnesota, we traveled to Northern California. This was the first time traveling together outside of the Midwest since we got engaged. We planned an epic road trip zigzagging from San Fransisco through Napa Valley to Tahoe, west to the Avenue of the Giants, and up to Portland.