When I was in early high school, I imagined that the farthest I would probably live from home was a few hours away in Knoxville or Chattanooga, Tennessee. Hours from home, but still in Tennessee. If you had told 16-year-old me that I’d live in two different states in the next eight years, I would have laughed, but secretly been terrified of it.
I always said I wanted to travel, but had no real concept of what that would be like. My “travel” at that time consisted of beach trips and a band trip to Orlando, Florida. Wow. I thought I went places then.
Even when I moved to go to college (which was still in Tennessee but not Knoxville or Chattanooga), I didn’t really go many places. I think I went to Asheville, NC once or twice to see Derek Webb in concert, but other than that, I just drove back and forth to home a lot.
Since Les and I got married, my travels have actually become travels. We had only been married about two weeks when we took our first trip. The Graenings have helped out considerably too. I just got back from my second trip to Indiana with Brittani and her brother. I got to see Lake Michigan, which is something I never thought I’d do. The entire month of June, we were on the road constantly – North Carolina, Tennessee, Kentucky, Florida. I’ve been slowly checking off all the states on the eastern side of the Mississippi that I’ve visited. (I only lack Mississippi, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New York, and most of the little states in the Northeast.)
In every state I’ve been to, I’ve seen that there is always something that reminds me of home. It could be anything… the way people smile at you, or stores, or families and traditions, or even just the way people drive their cars. I’ve seen country backroads in Pennsylvania that look like the ones I grew up driving on. I’ve seen people in Indiana wave each other like folks do in Carter’s Valley.
It’s so funny, because all the road trips I go on make me want to go on even more. After the month of June this year, I’m pretty sure I could drive all the way to the West Coast and have it not bother me a bit. On the trip back from Indiana, I sat Indian-style the whole way and I’m not even sore today!