Editor’s note: Proceed with caution

This unusual year has made the small details of everyday life stand out like never before.
12 Madison drinks to warm your soul during negative temperatures
Lovely Ember Photography

I’m so glad local artist Terrence Adeyanju agreed to an interview with me. I had originally contacted him because I wanted to include his “Infinite” print on our Hot List, but after one phone call, I realized his life’s journey was a whole other story.

He was my first in-person interview subject since early March. While 99% of the interviews I conduct are either over the phone or via Zoom right now, I felt like this one needed an in-person meeting. We dried off a patio table at a coffee shop on a rainy day, both wearing masks that we only slid down for a few sips here and there.

Adeyanju then graciously and eloquently told me how he overcame major challenges and discovered the importance of mental health and art therapy. His story starts on page 64. It’s an incredible honor to be trusted to put someone else’s story into words. And I had forgotten how much I enjoy the interview process.

This unusual year has made the small details of everyday life stand out like never before. For me, I was reminded how beneficial a face-to-face interaction can be, especially when you’re asking a virtual stranger to open up to you. I’ve also realized all I’ve taken for granted in normal times — conversations with coworkers, yearly traditions, sitting inside a coffee shop to do some writing and meeting up with friends for a drink.

I’ve underappreciated all of the people and places that facilitate those experiences, too. Bars, restaurants, boutiques, special events and other gathering spots — they all help connect our city. It’s been disheartening to see the closings and cancellations so far, and I shutter thinking about how detrimental this winter will be for a lot of small business owners.

This month, our cover story features 38 ideas for a staycation, and the options include overnight stays in the area, trips to the suburbs and suggestions for at-home adventures. Our goal was to focus on ways you can enjoy much-needed time off without going too far, since long distance travel continues to be inadvisable.

The intention is to offer advice for fun getaways that simultaneously provide support to desperate local businesses. But as I write this, Wisconsin’s COVID-19 cases are spiking. Adeyanju was my first and last in-person interview for a while. As much as we’d like things to get back to normal, we can’t ignore what’s in the best interest of public health. If cases are still spiking when you pick up this magazine, please save the out-of-home staycation ideas for a later day. If cases are down and you do feel comfortable with a local getaway, be prepared to take extra safety precautions. We expect our readers to make sound judgements at every turn. Get tested for COVID-19 before your staycation. Opt for contactless check-in. Wear a mask. Plan your trip as a couple or with immediate family, not as a group. Enjoy a takeout meal back in your room.

It sometimes feels like a Catch-22 to support public health and local business simultaneously. But if we’re smart about it, there’s a way to accomplish both so we can make it through the winter with our health, sanity and a city that still looks like our city come spring.

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