“That’s a cookie monster cloud!” I remember saying at age three from the window seat on my first airplane ride ever, one of my earliest memories. I remember thinking that the outlines of different fields when we were closer to the ground were the outlines of different states, as if that’s how state borders worked and as if that’s how many states we were flying over. The rest of the trip I remember mostly only from photos.
We were flying to Indianapolis from either Philadelphia or Atlantic City to visit my aunt and uncle who live out there, who I am also lucky to call my godparents. This was the first of three trips with my parents and sister, though they have each returned since. The last time I was out there, in between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, two of my cousins and their parents visited as well.
During our visits we’d spend a lot of time at my aunt’s and uncle’s house. The first house they lived in while we visited had a laundry chute from the second floor to the basement. My sister and I could not get enough of it for some reason. We sent our stuffed animals down the “slide” repeatedly. We would have barbecues with my aunt’s and uncle’s nieces on the other side of the family — two close to our age and one a few years older. On the trip with my cousins, we spent a lot of time playing pool in the basement together — which I found out I’m actually decent at if I warm up first with 20 games.
We ventured downtown as well during each trip. The first two times we visited the Indianapolis Zoo and the Children’s Museum, both of which we loved. We rode ponies and camels at the zoo and dug for fossils at the museum. We also dug for fossils on a shoreline of some sort. On the third trip, we were in a special box at a WNBA game that I’m not sure how we got into. We also visited the Art Museum and the renowned sculpture garden there.
While we did visit downtown here and there, I think of Indianapolis more as an opportunity to see family. On this trip, I’ll be seeing family of course, but I am also experiencing Indianapolis as a destination — a destination where my friend Erin visited on her recent roadtrip and where she’d wished she’d had more time, a destination that made my friend Jessica’s eyes light up when she heard I was going because she loved it, and a destination that was just featured in the NY Times 36 Hours series.
It’s been 17 years (!) since my last visit which sounds crazy to me. What am I doing there this time? I applied for and got into a blog workshop called Bloghouse, which is where 15 or so travel bloggers get together and learn how to improve their blogs and businesses with advice from experts in the field. There are panels on pitching, SEO, working with brands, and more. I’ve been holding off on redesigning my site so hopefully after the conference I’ll be able to make this spot more visually pleasing, for me and for you. My friend Katie went to Bloghouse in Philadelphia last year and said that I’d love it.
For the first three nights and the final one, I’ll be staying with my godparents. I’ve never been out there by myself so I’m looking forward to having some two-on-one time and seeing their new house. I also plan on interviewing them for a future post on this blog as they’re almost finished with their “canoe or kayak in all 50 states” goal.
During the conference, I’m staying at the J.W. Marriott which Jessica tells me is awesome. We have networking events and receptions at both the Indianapolis Zoo and the Children’s Museum. I wonder if I’ll recognize anything. If this cut-out is still there, I’m recreating this photo for sure:
I’m also taking two press trips while in Indiana. The first one, right before the conference, is with Hendricks County. I’ll be trying out a few of their restaurants, a winery, their downtown area, and an orchard. After the conference, there is a press trip with Indiana Foodways, Visit Lafayette/West Lafayette, and Visit Indiana. It’s a packed schedule with six food places, a brewery, a winery, and some attractions.
I’ll be doing as many Instagram stories and tweets as my phone battery and service will allow so follow me on both platforms to stay involved. Follow the hashtag #Bloghouse and (I think) #BloghouseIndy to see what other bloggers are posting from our time together.
I know one thing for sure – as with any trip of mine, there will be some ice cream involved: