One of my goals for 2016 was to travel. Family obligations had kept me from going anywhere the previous two or three years, and before that I simply couldn't budget a road trip. (I don't count my frequent commutes to Chicago.) This year, I'm making up for lost time. In mid-April, I parlayed my semi-annual drive down to Normal into a three-day stay in the Houston suburbs. My college radio station was celebrating its 35th anniversary, but I was only able to hang out for the first day of the reunion. A former improv teammate of mine was getting married the same weekend, and I rarely turn down a wedding invitation. Splitting the difference more or less worked; by flying from central Illinois to Houston (with a layover in Atlanta) I avoided long security lines and saved on airfare. On top of that, I only had to spend money on one night in a hotel; I crashed at the groom's father's house up in Willis for most of the trip. In short, this was the type of "lone wolf" trip that I'd been wanting for years.
A week or so ago, my improv/business partner Dan and I drove out to the Omaha Improv Festival. Even though I've been studying and performing improv for seven years now, I've never done so outside of the state of Illinois. Dan had been submitting to festivals across the country for almost three years now, and we were sort of bemused that Omaha had accepted us. Neither of us knew anyone from the Cornhusker State, nor were we aware of any improv community in the United States' 60th largest city. The whole road trip was a pleasant surprise; the Omaha improv scene is small but burgeoning, the festival was a blast, and above all Omaha is a lovely little city. (Our show was just okay, but we still had fun.) I can't really budget any other adventures at the moment, but I'm glad I've been able to explore the world outside Chicago for a little while.