Well, the camera still hasn't turned up. So, still no new photos. If anyone would like to donate a new camera to me, please let me know. :)
Sadly, while on our trip, I thought a lot about blogging about the trip. Yes, I know... I need to get a freaking life. lol.
In all seriousness, I wrote several posts in my mind while we were traveling. And I got this fabulous idea that I was going to take a bunch of photos of all of my favorite points along the way home. Unfortunately, I can't share those with you. So, now you are stuck reading my thoughts. Get the coffee mug out and cuddle up. It's going to take a few to get this all out.
I don't consider myself a very well-versed traveler. I have been outside of the country, but only when I was a baby. I have seen the beautiful beaches of the west coast, lived near the Mojave Desert, and have made the long road trip between San Antonio and Kentucky, but all of those "accomplishments" happened before I was three years old. With that being said, I have been to and driven through some really incredible places. I have visited the District of Columbia and 21 states, not including California and Texas, where I lived as a child.
Each place is special... each with its own unique qualities. I loved the deep red clay of Florence, Alabama, where I lived during the third grade. It's also the place that I found a love for banana and peanut butter sandwiches, fishing with a tree branch, and how to say the word "minnows" with a real southern accent -"manners." When I think of Florida, I remember several family trips to various beaches, two incredible trips to Disney World, surviving a hurricane while hanging out in a bathroom with my best friend, and sipping drinks from the poolside bar on our honeymoon. Of course, New York has the skyscrapers, the skyline, the people, the grunge of the city, the lights, the cabs, the grandeur, and the heartbreaking site of Ground Zero and a day that America will never forget. And,then, there's DC, where I spent 6 months of college, learning to love the city (and to appreciate the country), becoming a pro at public transportation, and enjoying the opportunity to see so much of our country's history. I could write a complete post on DC alone. There are way too many favorites for me to even begin to list them all here. And, really, that's how I feel about all of the places I've been. I could write a book on all of the things I love (and hate) about the eastern half of the United States.
However, among all of my travels (as limited as they might seem to those of you who have traveled all over the world), I have only felt a real desire to pack up my bags, put the for sale sign in the yard, and leave everything all behind when I have visited a few specific locations. And, oddly enough, those few times have nearly always been in the Carolinas. There is just something about the Carolinas that I have always loved. They draw me in. Maybe it's the rolling hills and country landscapes or the oceanic current from the beaches that I love so much. Maybe it is the diversity of it all - the southern charm, the oceans so close by, the countryside, the simple beauty. But, it pulls me in. And, every time that we visit, I spend the entire trip home, thinking that it would be fun to live there. I think about the different places that we love and wonder where we would fit the best and if we'd really ever be able to handle being so far from our family. It always makes the trip home seem just a tidbit longer.
It doesn't help that we've been in our home for more than 5 years. As most of you probably don't know, I have never lived in one place that long. Yes, I grew up in Louisa. Technically. However, until I was 10, we moved on average once every two years or so, because my dad was in the military. When I was 10, we moved to Louisa and Dad left the military. When I was 14, we moved to Arkansas for about 9 months. We moved back after that and I finished high school in Louisa, moving again to go to college when I was 18. Five years seems like an eternity to me. I get a trapped feeling... panicky... restless. It's strange to most people... but it isn't hard for me to accept change. I embrace it openly. Traveling really helps to ease that restlessness... but sometimes it makes it worse. It makes me think about all of the what-ifs.
This time was different though. I spent a lot of time comparing each place that I love in the Carolinas to Lexington. As I noted in nearly every instance, a few specific things kept me giving Lexington the points. The most important one... my family is only two hours away and that's not a bad drive at all. I have several groups of great friends and one group of insanely, incredible, supportive, loving friends who I simply cannot imagine going long without seeing. My kids love it here. We have access to so many things - concerts, events, sports games, anything you can think of. Yet, we still live in a region that celebrates the beauty and simplicity of nature. We love our home, even though we'd love to be in an area where we could have an outdoor dog and walk out on our porch in our jammies without worrying about speaking to a neighbor. We are a few short hours from some fabulous cities and could catch a flight without taking a day trip to get to the airport. In a nutshell, we are happy here.
Lexington is a great place to live. It's a great place to work. It's a great place to raise a family. It's a great place to go out on the town. And, it is a great place to cuddle up and read a good book, watch the sky turn a beautiful combination of pink, purple, and orange, and enjoy all the simple beauty of life.
I am content.
And, yes. That terrifies me. :)
Pray for my camera to be found, please.
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