Essay: The Joy of Getting Out of the City

Deputy sports editor Andi Revesz talks about escaping Chicago.

When I told my friends I was taking a trip out of Chicago during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, they looked at me confused and asked, “Why would you leave during the best weekend in Chicago?” 

Getting out of the city wasn’t about escaping the crowded downtown area or missing the green river. Instead, I left to go see a production of “Shrek the Musical” put on by Carlinville High School.

My roommate and close friend Megan lived in Carlinville, Illinois before she came to Loyola. Her two younger twin brothers attend the high school and one of them performs with the school theater. 

Last year, Megan, our other two roommates and I went to see him perform in “The Little Mermaid” as Sebastian and this year, when he got the leading role as Shrek, I knew I wouldn’t miss it for anything. 

Carlinville is located about halfway between Springfield and St. Louis and is 258 miles from campus. The town has a population of around 6,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and has one of those cute little city centers with a cute gazebo like in Hallmark movies. There are also dirt roads basically everywhere.

I had been waiting for this trip ever since we got back from Carlinville last year. I looked forward to seeing the sun glisten on the lake Megan and her family lives on in the morning and to look up and finally see the stars again at night. I also wanted a breath of fresh air. 

The change of scenery is something that makes me miss my own hometown of Trenton, Michigan. In Carlinville, there are no police sirens or people yelling on the streets at night. There’s no L rolling past my window. It’s all pure bliss. 

Getting out of the city was extremely beneficial for me and my roommates. Not only did we get to see pictures of young Megan — which will now be a running joke in our group chats — but we got to get out of the congestion being in the city brings. 

I’m not saying everyone should permanently leave big cities. I love being so close to the hustle and bustle in Chicago — but a little break once in a while doesn’t hurt.

As soon as we boarded the Lincoln Service Amtrak train and left Union Station, it felt like all my worries went away. It was just me and my favorite people playing Uno while we traveled four hours to our rural destination. 

What I loved the most about leaving Chicago was the different experiences we had. Megan’s aunts and extended family mainly live in the area, so we got together with them. We did some shopping in the town square and played chess in a coffee shop while drinking Italian sodas and Irish cream macchiatos. We even had a 16-person table at the local pizza restaurant. 

If we were doing this in the city, shopping would’ve been more stressful. We would’ve been trying to stick together in a large group while walking through Water Tower Place — which we’ve done before and I got separated from the group more times than I’d like to admit.

Going for coffee would’ve been us yelling across a crowded Metropolis while scouting for a table with different variations of the same drink. And all 16 members of Megan’s family wouldn’t have been able to sit together at a Giordano’s eating mediocre pizza. 

The out-of-city experience is so different but so enjoyable. It reminded me of the good parts of my own hometown and made me long for my family and the similar experiences we’ve had. 

On our drive back, I saw the cornfields fade away and, along with it, the stars, the space and Shrek. The closer we got to campus, the heavier the traffic was and the more congested I felt. 

With Megan’s brother graduating this year, I’m upset there won’t be other musicals to watch and critique on the drive home. I’ll miss the fresh air and the one gas station that gave me my winning scratch-off lottery ticket. I’ll also miss the stars and the small lake. 

But that’s the thing about leaving a big city. There will be more towns for me to visit, more cornfields to drive around and more stars to see. 

While I love the city, I loved getting a break more. And there’s no better place to do that than a small town.

Feature image courtesy of Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz

Andi Revesz is a third-year student studying Multimedia Journalism, Sport Management and Visual Communications. This is her second year on staff and first year as Sports Editor. In her free time, Andi enjoys listening to music, watching sports and spending time with her dad and brother.