The Summer of YES!

Photo by Jennifer Claire Watkins

Photo by Jennifer Claire Watkins

The Summer of Yes! Summer starts a little slower in Chicago, the official kick off is Wells Street which is my Summer Art Show. The weather can be pretty sticky and warm. It is the second weekend in June and the first hot weekend of the Summer. This year, it was cold and a little rainy. The high was maybe 70 if we were lucky. Not the best kick off to Summer.

I left for Italy and France just after Wells Street to meet my family. We didn’t have much planned besides the destinations of Milan and Nice where we had apartments rented. Each day was an adventure and a last minute decision. I feel this was the kick off to the Summer of Yes.

Why do I call this the Summer of Yes? I rarely said no to any invitation for adventure or a night out.

We arrived at the train station with a plan to go to Verona but tickets were crazy expensive. “Do you want to go to Stresa?” my brother in law asked. I had no idea what it looked like or even the weather. I quickly replied, “Sure, why not?” We figured out plans and lunch on the go. It was a challenge with 7 people including two kids but we did it and we had one of our favorite meals of the whole trip.

On my way from Nice to Paris, I received an invitation to Amsterdam. The plan was to come back home to Chicago and leave a week later. There wasn’t a hesitation in my mind to say yes to this adventure.


In between Italy and France I squeezed in as much time as I could with friends. Dinner on a random Tuesday night? Done. How about a walk for ice cream? “Yes”

After Amsterdam, I had a last minute opportunity to go to Australia. I found out on Monday that I was leaving Wednesday. One quick “yes” and I was packing sweaters and boots for Sydney.

australia sydney everyday parisian

I will admit my body was confused for weeks on where I was in the world. Jet lag was something that happened on the regular but somehow, two days after my trip home from Sydney I was feeling back to normal. I even said I was ready to do it all over again.

My last adventure of this Summer all started with a text from one of my oldest and best friends from camp with an invitation to join her at the beach for the weekend. It took a little extra time to find a reasonable flight with last minute notice but in the end my answer was yes. What I thought was going to be a quiet weekend on the beach catching up ended up being a party of 15. The days and nights were filled with junk food and laughter. I couldn’t have asked for a better way to end Summer.

summer of yes

I didn’t realize that my Summer was all about taking chances and saying yes until Elizabeth and I were chatting on one of our drives. I encourage you all to take a little less time thinking and more living in the moment. Say YES more than No and see what happens.

My travel adventures and the memories I have made with friends and family have made this one of my favorite adult Summers to date.

Do you have a favorite Summer memory?

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  1. What an amazing summer! I love that you said yes to so many fun adventures and lived in the moment. Where have it been? I didn’t know that up tackled Amsterdam and Australia!

    This past Saturday morning I asked my husband if he wanted to go for a drive and he said how about to San Diego. I said yes! An hour later we were on the road and then enjoyed a wonderful late lunch in SD. We found an amazing, romantic hotel downtown as a deal of the day, and tickets behind home plate for a fraction of the cost on StubHub. The next day we had brunch and lingered in Balboa Park before heading home. Am I a little tired? Not really. I’m glad I went for it.

    • Thank you, Trinity! It truly has been an amazing Summer. Yes, Amsterdam and Australia were so last minute.

      I am so happy that you had some adventure with your husband this Summer! It sounds like a lot of fun exploring San Diego with lunch and a romantic hotel. Good job to your husband for surprising you with something so fun and spontaneous! I hope this continues into Fall for you.