New York City architect-turned-comedian Aaron Kominos-Smith shares what he loves most about comedy: Exploring new places. Come tour the USA with Aaron on this latest Embolden Adventures podcast. In this episode we chat about:
- Why Aaron likes to tour the USA
- Some sights, tastes, and experiences of the regions
- Renewable energy and other power in the USA
- Aaron’s podcast show and more…
Aaron is the host of the podcast show But I Also, exploring not only what you do for a living, but also what you love to do. He featured me on his podcast show recently where I talked about how I went from working on Wall Street as an Investment Banker to a scuba-diving, world traveling extraordinaire who started .
Listen to this But I Also episode here:
Since his days of improv at Cornell University, “Funny Aaron” has been making people laugh for over a decade and counting.
For Aaron, not even a career in architecture could stop him from pursuing his long-running, stand-up comedy routine. In trying to juggle both his comedy gigs at night and his architect job by day, he let comedy win.
And now Aaron has been featured on MTV, Comedy Central and more. He continues to tour the USA on his college circuit, having visited 38 US states and counting.
Tour the USA
“One of the most exciting things about doing stand up comedy for me is that I love exploring. I love going to new places,” says Aaron.
Although sometimes Aaron finds difficulty balancing his time with performing and exploring, he tries to take advantage of any trip.
Most of his travel experiences in the USA are in off-the-beaten-track locations due to the locations on his college tour. These destinations show the charm of America as a diversified country in culture, history, and regional flavors.
Some Sights, Tastes, and Experiences of the Regions
From West Virginia to Wisconsin and Washington, Aaron has seen a lot of the United States of America. Most of these experiences of the good ole’ USA for him involve tasting the local foods, beers, and wines.
Aaron found time to explore the gorgeous town of Pullman while in town for his show at Washington State University. Located in eastern Washington near Spokane and the Idaho border, Pullman is an idyllic college town. He spent some of his free time enjoying the outdoors at the base of the hills, running along an old railroad track and visiting an old train station. Try the wine from the area wineries and the delicious smoked salmon from this Northwest region.
On his tours, he visits the Midwest often including the states of Missouri, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Aaron really liked spending time in Wisconsin, stopping at La Crosse, Madison, and Milwaukee. Last minute, cheap flight from New York to Milwaukee could be as little as $200 for a long weekend getaway.
One of his favorite shows was in La Crosse, located 2.5 hours northwest of Milwaukee and near Minnesota. La Crosse is where the mighty Mississippi River begins. While in La Crosse, Aaron raved about the beautiful parks and nature drives, the delicious local hamburgers, and the old-fashioned ice cream parlor.
And the food just got better. “Fantastic food in Madison. Fantastic food in Milwaukee.” Like La Crosse, Madison is another great college town. Aaron mentioned how he tried the tasty fried cheese curds with dipping sauces. “They taste a little bit like mozzarella sticks, and there is like this little squeak when you bite into them.”
Last but not least though, Milwaukee. Yah, we remember Milwaukee from Laverne and Shirley and of course from Wayne’s World. And as Alice Cooper famously says in the movie, “it’s pronounced “mill-e-wah-que” which is Algonquin for “the good land.”
Milwaukee is a great little city. Aaron visited their public museum that showcases the city during the times in the 1800s. Also, the city has an indoor butterfly exhibit worth exploring.
Not to be missed in Milwaukee are the local brewery and distillery tours and the Polish kielbasa sausages. Aaron loved drinking at an authentic German beer hall complete with polka music. “You could never go to a beer hall in New York City and get that kind of experience.” There they speak German and drink beer out of steins. Be sure to check it out during the Friday night fish fry.
Find your reason to tour the USA, whether it is to visit every baseball stadium, to try the local craft beers, or to learn about history.
For Aaron, his favorite places in the USA are connected to his favorite foods from the regions. He likes Kansas City because of their BBQ ribs. He likes Chicago for their Italian beef sandwiches or the hot dogs. Well, the best hot dogs for him are from the famous Nathan’s in Coney Island, just a subway ride away from where he lives in Brooklyn. By the way, he has a gorgeous view of the downtown Manhattan skyline from his apartment.
And he likes Birmingham Alabama for the fried chicken and waffles.
More importantly however, Aaron’s visit to Birmingham had more of a special meaning to him. Before his show, he spent some time exploring the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. This museum tour for him gave perspective to the struggle for civil rights and an appreciation for recent American history. Hear in the podcast where Aaron talks about his eye-opening experience of this virtual history lesson.
Renewable Energy and Other Power in the USA
Traveling around the USA also has given Aaron some wider viewpoints. The beauty of travel is that it teaches so much and expands horizons.
“That’s what interesting when I get to travel. I don’t know if that would change my mind about something, but at least I can speak about it from a more educated place.”
For example, Aaron has seen how we leverage our regional assets to generate electricity. Check out the podcast to hear more about our discussion on the pull between fossil fuels and renewable energy and how it is evolving throughout the regions.
In this case when Aaron visited West Virginia, he saw the struggle between coal and renewable energy. He had the chance to understand how these two sources of electric power are playing out in the region and then talk to the locals about their opinions.
Aaron has seen wind farms under construction from Washington to the Midwest. In the Midwest, he saw those in the fracking industry commuting long distances to their job sites in their pick-up trucks and then staying in the motels in the evenings. It sounds like a tough job and a strenuous lifestyle.
Traveling this way for just about anyone provides a good understanding and appreciation for people, places, and things.
Tour the USA too! See what the country has to offer.
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