For the past three years I’ve lived in southern Virginia. This is where my two daughters were born, where I learned how to trail run and where I’ve embraced my love of the outdoors. Virginia is where I have began to pass along my love of hiking and wandering into nature to my family (my two year old daughter calls hiking “daddy daughter trips”…my greatest accomplishment!) I’ve also made friends, realized the compassion teaching middle school requires and, of course, learned some thangs about southern culture….bless my heart.
In two weeks my family and I are moving to Colorado to begin the next phase of our journey. I’m all at once excited, nervous, ecstatic, and sad. You know, all the emotions you experience as you face our good ole friend… CHANGE.
Over the next couple weeks I want to reminisce over lessons learned, adventures had, opportunities missed, and skills built during my time in the southeast.
I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to explore this wonderful area of the country. I honestly may have skipped over Virginia and North Carolina in order to explore nothing but the western states. That truly would have been a mistake. The southeast has areas of pure beauty that will make your jaw drop, bring a tear to your eye, or whatever overused phrase you want to use when trying to describe the indescribable allure of nature .
I count myself a lucky man to have experienced foggy Appalachian sunrises, crisp mountain waterfalls on hot and humid sunny days, the golden trees of the Blue Ridge Parkway in October, amongst so much more.
Some experiences I can attempt to put to words but most are of the “you-had-to-be-there” types that you have in the solitude of nature. Three years of exploring the Appalachian Mountains, the forests, the swamps, and the coast has transformed me. Each experience has helped build me into the person I am. It’s only something you realize self reflecting before a big life shift.
I didn’t know how I’d feel at the end of this three year adventure (we always knew there would be a three year time limit). I sure didn’t think I would feel this attached to Virginia. But I do feel attached. I will probably always feel attached.
That’s how you know you experienced something worthwhile.