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The unfortunately inevitable has arrived; my air-and-road trip around The Great Lakes – or Lela Takes The Lakes – has come to an end.

And what an end Chicago was.

Though I had been to Chicago a few times in my youth, it was never for more than 24 hours and always for an occasion outside of my control. I couldn’t wait to explore the city properly.

Take a look back with me via blog (and vlog!), below…

A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


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I live a life of Laptop Clubbing (aka using London’s coffee shops as my roaming office space). And while I’m fortunate to have that freedom, I’m often weighed down with – at the very least – a laptop, chargers, and an SLR.

My life is quite literally on my back. Turtle vibes.

When looking for something to replace the Manfriend’s shattered backpack, I was lucky enough to stumble on a brand that combined all my particular Laptop Club OCD needs with stylish, heritage designs. His and hers; padded laptop compartments, quality materials, utilitarian storage , and stealth back panels that slide over luggage handles (for your Laptop Club On Tour needs).

What I Wore:
Dress from Alice’s Pig (vintage-inspired and detailed but insanely comfortable)
Jay Leather tote from Solo New York (a deceptively spacious handbag)
East Hampton backpack from Solo New York (on Bae)

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Let me preface this particular adventure with a bit of a disclaimer…

I kind of hate malls.

Having spent a couple of my fresh-faced years in them caking people’s faces and trying not to gauge my eyes out, they’re simply not an environment I want to spend my free time in.

“But wait..wait…you booked a trip to the Mall of America?”

I did, indeed. During a pre-Lela Takes The Lakes research session, The Mall of America (and its surrounding areas of Bloomington and Minneapolis, Minnesota) seemed to offer everything I love in a new travel destination.

I expected much more than a mall. And boy, did I get it…

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If I had to recommend only one destination in the Great Lakes, Traverse City would be it.

It didn’t take me long to really Traverse City is as Great as The Lakes gets; a wonderful surprise, really, as it was the stop I was least excited for in my Lela Takes The Lakes adventures.

Before my quasi road trip made space for it, Northern Michigan simply couldn’t seduce its way to becoming a bucket list contender.

Isn’t it funny how fast vineyards, beaches, and dirty banh mi fries can change your mind?

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