Before coming to Nashville, I knew little to nothing about it. I knew that it was in Tennessee, it was the home to the Ryman Auditorium, and that it was one of the biggest (and best) places to be if you are working in the music industry. But through talking to a fair amount of my friends that have been in the past, all I heard was “you’re going to love it,” or “you have to go to this place to eat”. Eating my way through a place is usually my specialty, but I quickly learned that Nashville is so much more then food and music.

I got the chance to do so many awesome things on this trip, but there were definitely a few activities that really stood out to me. The first one being our meeting at on Monday. I loved our meeting with visit music city because I loved hearing about all the effort and strategy they’ve put into branding Nashville. But why I really enjoyed learning about it was because it gave me a whole new perspective for when I walked around the city. I looked at the streets, stores and people a different way, seeing how much music really took over every part of the city. The second activity that I really loved was when we went to Marbaloo on Tuesday. While it was interesting to hear about the work they do with musicians, what stuck with me the most from that visit was how they didn’t sugar coat anything. Both of the people we talked to were not afraid to tell us how hard working in the music industry is, but it always pays off and is incredibly rewarding. And of all the other things we did, the last one that really resonated with me was when we went to the songwriters night at Bluebird on Wednesday. That night really stuck with me because it was such a unique experience. There’s really no way to be able to describe it to someone who wasn’t there because it’s so hard to capture the vibe, the music and the people without having experienced it yourself. It’s a memory that I’ll definitely always hold close to my heart.

Now I’m sitting in my hotel room, staring at my packed suitcase and preparing to head back to the freezing cold Chicago winter. Over the last week, I’ve absolutely fallen in love with Nashville. I hope I get to spend a lot more time here to explore more of the Music City. But, for now, I’m ready to sleep in my own bed and just lay low for a few days. Nashville, you stole my heart this week and I hope I can see you again real soon.