Taking a Trip Can Be Time for Relaxation, Inspiration

Nick Meyer

As the valley awakens from its seasonal slumber, ready to embrace spring, you’ll find more local activities and events popping up every week, all listed within these pages. But in this issue you’ll also find our annual Getaway Guide, which serves as a bit of encouragement to get outside the valley’s borders as well to explore the regions and communities around us. Everyone loves a change of scenery once in a while, but in my case I find such day trips or long weekends vital not only as a personal break, but also as a way to maintain an understanding of how our own community fits into the region. Spending time observing other cities – both their upsides and downsides – is a way to ensure you can always see your community through the eyes of a traveler or transplant and not only a dyed-in-the-wool local. It can help you spot trends in business or notice how other communities invest their public funds. And these are important things to understand in my line of work. In making these kinds of observations, travel for me is a bit of a double-edged sword. Yes, I enjoy the personal time, but I also get alternately fired up or bummed out as I see all the cool things happening in other places that may not be back here at home. Sure, we have a lot of great stuff happening these days around the Chippewa Valley – there’s less than ever to complain about – but there’s always room for improvement (plenty of it). So when I see a great business idea or well-executed public event elsewhere, or I notice a particularly relevant development or culturally valuable trend – well, I have trouble simply enjoying those things while I’m there. As my poor family can attest, I have to strategize, overanalyze, and proselytize. I ask myself, and those around me, “How could we do something similar back in Eau Claire?” Of course, I’m not interested to simply cut and paste these things from one community into our own. But to me, having these kinds of discussions, and bringing these concepts back home to introduce to the right people – people who then can augment and build on the ideas – is key to keeping our own cultural evolution fired up and ready to go. Whether regional (or further out) travel works like that for you or not (and if not you’re probably lucky), it’s still good to get a little further out once in a while. Because you never know what it could spark.