First Stop Rochester, Minnesota...
When we first arrived in Rochester, MN, It was the late evening of February 28th, 2022, the day before my birthday. We celebrated earlier in the week in Washington State spending time in Port Townsend, and Seattle, being near the ocean and eating incredible sushi. I'm a west coast beach girl at heart, and this would be my first birthday in years not spent at the beach.
I have never lived anywhere except the west coast, so I had no idea what to expect when it came to seasonal weather in Minnesota, all I knew is that winter is COLD.
Not west coast cold.
Not Ugg boots and sweaters cold.
Winter boots, down jackets, beanies and mittens COLD.
Driving to what would be considered home for the next eight months to a year, we passed mostly flatlands, agriculture, and corn fields. We pulled up to the Hyatt House, tired from the 27+ hour drive. We had most of our belongings stored in a unit, but we had a cooler full of food, three totes full of kitchen and bathroom supplies, and luggage bags full of the clothes that we would need for the winter and spring.
Minnesota winter had already mostly passed, with only a few more snowy days before I was packing up my down parka.
Chris was already so used to living on the bare minimum, he had been traveling as a wind technician for the last six years hauling around only one small carry on, a backpack, and his work gear.
I on the other hand had just downsized from 1800 square-feet, to a 511 square-foot hotel suite. Chris rolled his eyes at the amount I had brought with us, but I was just learning to live this new lifestyle.
I was learning to live...again.
I wanted our experience living on the road together to be a pleasant one. I never wanted us to feel like we didn't have a home. Each new place should feel like a different version of home- so I filled totes with things like our electric tea kettle, the one that we had bought to match the one in our honeymoon cabin, candles from our favorite candlemaker in Seattle, our Ninja Foodi for when the town we are in provides hotels with only a microwave, a baking pan because even extended stays don't seem to have them, a framed photo of Chris and I, books to fill a small shelf so I could read while Chris was at work, colored pencils with coloring books, we even brought the golf clubs, for Chris to practice on days of when the weather was good.
I think that the most difficult change for Chris and I is access to seasonally appropriate clothing. Before, Chris would come back to our home in California and leave what he no longer needed, and switch it out with what he did. If we were traveling to Seattle, I would pack for the both of us, and we would meet each other there.
We now travel with most of our clothing, at least the stuff that we wear the most often for each season, along with whatever new stuff was purchased when we didn't have what was needed. The clothing luggage takes up the most amount of space, if Chris had his way, we would throw away our clothes every end of the season and "just buy new ones", but again, I am not that wasteful. I will go through and donate what no longer fits, or what is no longer in use, but I can not justify throwing away every article of clothing from that season.
Over time, the hotel has felt more and more like home, the kitchenette is now filled with groceries that we both enjoy, Chris goes to work, I make dinner for the two of us, Chris has come home with small house plants or bouquets of flowers for me, just because he knows that I need a bit of extra life in here to make it feel like home. I've since accumulated more books, thanks to Barnes & Noble, and my favorite little bookstore in Poulsbo, Wa, as well as bath bombs that I can't wait to use as soon as we have a hotel room with a bath tub.
Rochester has been kind to us. It wasn't long until we made friends.
We made friends with the restaurant owners across the street, Amber and Youness, who own Chez Bojji.
There, we also met our friends John and Paula, who we regularly adventure with to new places around Minnesota and Wisconsin.
We live in downtown, so everything in the city is pretty much walking distance. There are cute restaurants, cafes and shops that line the streets, and the famous Mayo Clinic holds it's own zipcode due to the amount of space it takes up amongst downtown. During the summer, Rochester had weekly outdoor event called Thursdays Downtown, with vendors, food trucks, and music.
Outside of Rochester there are also so many fun things to explore and see, the Mall Of America is only about an hour or so away, there's hiking trails, national and state parks, and historic sites all around us, and I can't wait to go explore all of these wonderful places, and report back to all of you, my favorite spots from Minesota, and the surrounding.
Have you ever wanted to visit somewhere in Minnesota?
Comment and let us know where you'd like to see in one of our next blogs!