There’s something about Big Bend that demands reflection. Maybe it’s the big, soft peaks looming over you, or the way the Basin campground is nestled between the mountains as if in a hug. Maybe it’s the silence, or the endless horizon. Big Bend is the least frequented national park – making it easy to appear, when correctly located, as though you are the only person there. After a month on the road with non-stop driving and visiting, the quiet was rejuvenating. Recognizing that we weren’t meeting our trip goals of (1) running, (2) writing, and (3) figuring out a life plan – the space to reflect was necessary. So we stayed for almost a week.
Category: Travel (Page 2 of 8)
No, I’m not related to David Bowie, as awesome as that would be. But I am related to an infinitely cooler Bowie – James Bowie, the hero from the Alamo. Also the inventor of the famous Bowie Knife. As such, I made it a point to go to the Alamo historic site despite everyone I know saying it was lame. It was lame. But I can say I went. We also checked out San Jose on the missions trail, which was beautiful.
Finding a place to live is one of the main goals of this trip. Recognizing the importance of place to our personal well-being, David and I determined that we would actively seek out a location in which to live – possibly finding jobs afterward (though we’re still applying to jobs as we go, which ever comes first – job or place – will ultimately determine our landing site). As a result, we’ve spent many driving hours debating the kind of place we’re looking for. City vs. small town is a frequent topic. Many times city doesn’t make the cut because of pavement (bad for running), lack of access to nature, and too many people.
Yet, Austin, TX stole my heart.
New Orleans is a city poised on a thick foundation of blazing character, clashing culture, and defiant uniqueness. I was only there for a day – but that much was apparent. But I also perceived, from my brief time in the French Quarter, a city frozen in the time-warp of tourism. No city ever stays the same, but when we make it a landmark in history, we threaten it’s authenticity. I admit – I was guilty as a tourist. I also recognize that I wasn’t there nearly long enough to comfortably make this assertion, but I felt it none-the-less. Maybe those of you who know the city more can counter me – I hope you can.
We spent an amazing week in Tampa, FL with David’s parents. We stayed away from the big commercial attractions like Disney, SeaWorld, Universal, and Busch Gardens – voting to check out more local, educational opportunities. If you’re looking for neat, local stuff to do – I’ve compiled a list for you!
I haven’t been to an aquarium since I was little, but this was awesome. David’s mom volunteers there so we had a personal guide the whole time. From the tiniest sea horses to the largest sharks to the fascinating corral I was hypnotized the whole time. I especially loved the sea otters! A must see for anyone of any age.
While staying in Port St. Lucie, FL we took a day to visit the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge. It was beautiful! At the northern edge of the everglades it gave us a taste of what we might see if we went further south to the National Park. Enough of a taste that I know I’d love to go back! Beautiful. Here are some pictures we both took:
At 1:00am I still hadn’t fallen asleep. I lay there, trying not to move, in an envelope of heavy, humid air. It was mid-eighties and the trailer was stifling in the South Carolina humidity.
A few days before, in Asheville, NC, we woke to a puddle of water at our feet. The guy who built the trailer was apparently as inept at waterproofing as he was at installing lights. The leaks were now fixed, but we didn’t have a screen yet. We draped a tarp over the window hoping to deter mosquitos. So far, we had only succeeded in deterring any wind relief.
“Oh my god. What about snakes?” I blurted out, breaking the car’s silence.
“Um… what about them?”
“Does South Carolina have poisonous snakes?”
David kindly held back a laugh and said, eyebrows raised, “Most southern states do.”
I tried to pretend like I wasn’t panicking at the thought of slithering things that could kill me hanging out in my running path. I knew I was being ridiculous, but I’ve inherited some of my father’s paralyzing fear of serpents.
In that true twilight dusk, the kind that makes the forest come alive with the impossible, Earthaven becomes the world of my childhood dreams. Winding trails and bridges made of stone, trunks, branches, clay, and everything the forest offers spiderweb the town. “We’re losing light!” NikkiAnne exclaims as she hurries us down a small path into someones yard and off on another path hidden in the shadows.
When we pulled up to New Earth Farm David’s uncle, David (confusing, I know), almost drove right past it. There was a sign, but it was small. There was a building too, but it was definitely not habitable. There were also weeds, everywhere. To the right driving in there was a newer building claiming to be the “Learning Garden.” Finally, as we rounded the dilapidated old farm house, we found the farm store