Monday, September 17, 2012

Short Stories From Traveling Home Pt. 1

Savannah, Georgia.
Sometimes when I eat really good meals I plan my last bite out in advance.  I know exactly the flavors I want to linger in my mouth.  Like, when I’m eating seafood ravioli I know the garlic bread isn’t the winning last bite; it’s the noodle, a bit of ravioli stuffing and a bunch of sauce, washed down with a swig of wine.

Anyway, Savannah wasn’t like the all-knowing last bite.  I couldn’t figure out which part of Savannah I wanted to experience last.  Each time I turned the corner to see old buildings, beautiful homes, huge trees, frozen drink bars, breweries or, wait for it, FORSYTH Park, I wanted to let each of those experiences linger longer.  I wanted to freeze-frame the stories my husband told me of his younger self wandering this town many years ago while stationed at Ft. Stewart.  I wanted to knock on the doors of beautiful homes and ask if they wanted a houseguest for ever a while.  And, I wanted more peach sangria, and more people watching while eating pizza.  But, that’s the problem with road trips; they’re short.  You have to come and conquer in a hurry, and hope that the memories are solidified in your brain until next time.

Charleston, South Carolina.
Unfortunately, we were early for the whole Blake Lively / Ryan Reynolds nuptials.  But, I understand why they chose to get married in this location.  It is romantic.  Romantic like it feels right to walk into a beautiful restaurant, and splurge on the whole experience.  And, hold hands while exploring.  A morning run even feels romantic in this town.  I think it’s the scenery, but it might be the buildings, or brick roads, or fountains.  Or, it might have been the sight of my husband’s face when he spotted his utopia – a coffee shop / bakery / carrier of craft beers – at the end of said run.

{The bar pictured here is Closed For Business - Worth a stop if you're around!}

Asheville, North Carolina.
Something about Asheville made me laugh.   It started upon arrival and it really didn’t stop.  Maybe it was because the town reminded me of Portland and I couldn’t contain my excitement.  Maybe it was the amazing meal (the best of the entire journey!).  Maybe it was because, after a few too many beers, Andy and I thought we were hilarious in all sorts of weird ways.  Or, maybe it was because Asheville is confused about whether women need to wear shirts.  And, I was caught off guard.  And, I need to grow up!


Saturday, September 1, 2012

Leaving Melbourne

This has been a hard post for me to write.   I’ve started, erased what I started, put a title up, erased it, and restarted, no less than six times.  This is the end, but it’s also the beginning, in the whole when one door closes, another opens, way of thinking.  This is the end of our two-year “traveling adventure," and it’s the beginning of a road trip that we’re excited about {posts from Savannah, Charleston, The Smokey Mountains, Bloomington, and Chicago coming soon!}.  It’s the end of one chapter but the beginning of a whole new one.

The more I think about wrapping this chapter of our story up, the more I think about previous chapters.  When we left Iowa, it was a stressful time.  At one point, while I gave myself fully to a job, a fiancĂ© who was grinding through law-school, and a family enduring what many families have endured the last few years – the gruesome effects of unemployment – my body revolted and developed a rash that covered much of my torso.  All-the-while, I planned a wedding and hoped the rash would be on its way in time!
So, when we pulled away from Iowa, I shed no tears.  Far from home, I found a place to become a more balanced version of myself – sans rash!  Andy and I found a stride as a couple in Oregon.  We learned how to exist without any preconceived notions of who we should be, and somehow found our way to a new us that felt more genuine.  I did shed tears as we left Oregon.  My trembling Bambi-like legs were unsure if they could support me without the comfort of an unknown place full of inspiration.

Saying goodbye to the beach!
We arrived in Florida and immediately felt less connected to the area.  But, we hit the ground running.  Literally.  With the Florida sun shining down, we put those legs to the test and began to train for a marathon.  These training runs saw our hearts and determination stretch further than I had ever seen them be stretched.  But, more than that, these runs saw the same version of Andy and myself that we had come to rely on in Oregon.  Soon we grew an attachment to our new state and our legs became even stronger – more like Bambi as a full-grown stag!

And, the sun sets on this chapter!

What I tend to like most about each of our chapters, is that they are unremarkable.  Our story is like so many others.  Our road has speedbumps, and twists and turns, just as everyone's does.  But, we have been lucky to experience this trip together.  We made a decision early on to allow this experience to be an adventure.  The thing about adventure is that it grows in your heart, and the more you feed it, the more it wants to be fed.  So, I know we'll keep feeding, keep growing, and keep watching doors open!

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