Headed Down South

Headed Down South

Day 42 - Corey’s Entry – May 24 – 3:42pm – Café de los Muertos - Raleigh, North Carolina

How far along are we on this journey? “70%,” my Aunt Viki said to us, while we were over for brunch in Madison, Wisconsin. “You have 70% of your trip to go.” I’m not sure if that excited or scared me. It got really rough for us, but I miss being outdoors and camping. When times get really tough like that, I like to say, “Ya know, this is a story”. From Madison, WI to Charleston, WV we have lived cozy with family and explored a different wilderness. It’s so inspiring being outdoors where gorgeous mountain landscapes, dense forest, and rivers are your background with endless places to explore. Even though an urban environment can’t offer us the same things as nature, it’s always amazing what us humans have done.

I really like staying at AirBNB’s over hotels now. First off, the money goes directly to local people, and you get the feeling of being at Home. It’s like staying with your good friend while in town. Emily and I played Gin Rummy on the back porch of an AirBNB as the sun set last night. We drank local beer and honey whisky as the fireflies sparked on and off all over the backyard. Oliver, the large dog I nicknamed Gigantor, barked for a while guarding his yard. It felt like Home to me.

Day 43 - Emily’s Entry – May 25 – 4:15pm – Pullen Park - Raleigh, North Carolina

I want to live life more simply. It’s so easy to get caught up in the spider web of details that sometimes feel so earth-shatteringly important. I want to walk lightly, deal with things as they come with ease, and look ahead with wisdom and hope. I’ve learned so much about the person I want to be. It’s been such a blessing to live freely and among nature. We’ve also met such interesting and wonderful people.

We’re staying with a lovely woman named Sara, her Persian cat Monster, and a gargantuan dog named Oliver. Raleigh seems like a nice place to raise a family. We’re at a lovely, old park with a small train and 1910’s merry-go-round.

My parents lived in Raleigh when my sister India was a baby until she was 2 and my mother was expecting me. I like to imagine my mother holding toddler India on the old merry-go-round as they rode a historic lion or giraffe while my father waved at the two of them and took pictures.

Day 45 - Corey’s Entry - May 27 - 12:43pm – Central Coffee Company – Charlotte, North Carolina

I looked at our route map and I couldn’t believe we’ve traveled this far. D.C. was the furthest point east, and now we’ve headed south. We’re done with the coldest part of this journey, so we dumped our winter coats and gear at my sister’s place in Louisville. The car is so much lighter with more room and less stuffy. We know we have a new set of challenges ahead. We have braved the cold and managed the rain. Now we will take on the heat.

Currently we are visiting some Southern cities. This string of cities is part of our “not so secret agenda” to maybe move down South in a few years. We’re substituting campgrounds for AirBNB’s the next few days and exploring what a few North Carolina towns have to offer.

Day 46 - Emily’s Entry – May 28 – 8:15am - Charlotte, North Carolina

I always say, I want my pastor to be liberal and my banker to be conservative. Well, in Charlotte, NC, the city of banks, a preppy South is very apparent. Every guy we saw downtown had a blue, white, or blue and white stripe shirt on. Seersucker shirts surely rule this city.

Day 49 - Corey’s Entry – May 31 – 8:35pm - Asheville, North Carolina

We arrived in Asheville and immediately noticed the beauty of the Blue Ridge Mountains. They surround the small city and seem to inspire the artisans. Asheville has been renovating old factories and warehouses into live/work spaces for artist and studios. These studios are great because you can see artists working and purchase pieces right out of their studio. They reminded me of the studio Emily and I want to own one day. The arts district is open, friendly, and all about local support.

We stayed at an AirBNB here too, and we only strengthened our belief that AirBNB is better than a hotel. Our wonderful hosts Marc and Fay were excellent caretakers that put chocolates (handmade by pastry chef/chocolatier Marc) on our beds and were happy to chitchat in the evenings. They even prepared breakfast with fresh pastries every morning.

Welcoming and fun was the vibe I got in Asheville. The area has hundreds of miles of trails to hike and plenty of waterfalls to explore, which I love.

Day 49 - Emily’s Entry - May 31 – 8:49pm – Asheville, North Carolina

Asheville was cool. Corey and I wandered around downtown. Train hopping travelers roamed with their dogs, local artists and craftsmen sold their goods at street markets, and a caped man in spandex ran past us jumping once to clap his feet together and exclaim, “I’m off!”

One night, we ate dinner at a local French bistro and sat at the bar. We talked to the barista and a British man who likes to travel the world. We talked of places, breaking the law, and making up silly characters when traveling.

Apparently, there are huge rock crystals in the mountains under the city of Asheville. These crystals supposedly create positive energy in the town. I’m back and forth about it all, but I do know this city seems to have more artists and creativity per square block than most places do within 100 square miles.

The difference between ‘wonder’ and ‘wander’ is only one, small line.

Day 51 – Emily’s Entry – 10:10am – Pop & Nana’s Kitchen and The Scoop – Robbinsville, North Carolina – Nantahala National Forest

So long on this trip, Corey and I have said, “And we’re not even halfway done!” Well, we’re at the peak of this trip, and what a 50 days it has been. I feel like going through tough times makes it easier to deal with everything.

We are exhausted, needless to say. We just camped once quick night and it was great to be outside. The rain sometimes gets Corey down though. I like falling asleep to the sounds of soft rain on the tent and distant thunder.

I feel so blessed to have come this far and be on this journey. Alas, there is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Now is a time for rest. We will send time with our families in the next three weeks, because family is important.