Travel’s End (Or, How I Ended Up Back Home)

One night in North Carolina. That’s all I spent there, searching and searching for something to do, something that would call my heart to explore, and yet wasn’t too far away from where I was. And that went spectacularly not well. I think a small part of me wanted to be home, in a place I knew, with people I loved.

I drove for a little while in North Carolina before making the decision to attempt South Carolina again. I wanted to see Charleston. I’m not sure why; my decision to see Savannah wasn’t a great call, and that’s because I’m not a history buff or interested in the aspects of these towns. And I drove through Charleston. It was beautiful, but again, I didn’t want to stop.

So I drove through Myrtle Beach. During its off season. When everything is pretty closed. And I drove away.

By seven or so, I was by the Florida border. I was going to stop for the night, I really was. But I didn’t. I knew how far of a drive it was from Jacksonville to home, I knew it wasn’t worth stopping. So I drove straight home. My final day of traveling was pure driving.

I saw some snow at the South Carolina border rest stop, and threw a tiny snowball. And I took a couple pictures, and I spent some time walking around. And I realized I loved nature as much as I hate it. I mean, I truly hate it. Spiders, bugs, lizards, frogs… all of it grosses me out, and keeps me from nature. But the beauty, the trees, the way the light casts, the stillness… that’s what makes me want more.

And I realized I loved being on my own, nothing but a car and a dream. Yes, it got lonely, and sometimes all I wanted to do was call someone and have some human interaction. But I would gladly trade it all in to keep traveling with no worries.

I don’t think I’m ever going to be a world-class traveler. I don’t think I’ll ever truly leave Florida. But I’m not going to stop traveling. I’m not going to stop dreaming. And I’m not going to stop writing about the world as I know it.

1/7/18 – Day Five

I’m still in Georgia, but away from Atlanta. I do like it here, and I like the feeling of winter. Winter is a season that Florida forgot, but here and now, it feels fresh and new, bitter and stinging and cold. And I love it.

I got lost in Atlanta today. Not terribly lost; phones and GPS have a knack for finding directions.  All because I turned left instead of right. And yet, I’m glad I got lost. I wasn’t afraid, I kept my head, and I walked more than I have in a while. My legs itched, my hands were cold, my face turned a splendid red, but I made my way through a city that looked forgotten as everyone focused on a game. And I stayed safe; I only walked along busy streets, never took a side street, and yet I hesitate telling this story. Some close to me might not like to hear that I got lost. But I did, and I didn’t, and I made it through the day. I even found my car much quicker than it took to leave it.

My goal was the World of Coca-Cola. And I spent a couple blissful hours there. And it was beautiful. I also might have gotten an addiction to Surge, years too late, but it’s a better Mountain Dew and I am in love with it. There might be a can in my bag right now. This place, it was beautiful and wonderful and filled with so much art and memorabilia, and I wanted it all.

I left Atlanta then, drove away from the city with it in my wake. Partially because I’m not a fan of the city, but mainly because of the big game tomorrow. I’m not sure what game, or who’s playing, but I knew it was football and I needed to put a good amount of distance between me and football fans. Growing up with parents who are in love with the game gives me enough warning to know what I’d expect from a game like this.

Tonight I’m in Macon, and I love it here. The small-town vibe as I sit outside of the city, the front desk guy who told me about a retro arcade in downtown Macon that I have to visit at some point, to the knowledge that I can keep driving towards Savannah and other places, and enjoy the world around me. I feel happy here. If I could sleep in a hotel for the rest of my life and explore places, I think I could do that. If I had to settle down here instead, I think I could do that too. But I think I have a couple places to visit first. Then maybe, just maybe, I could find “home”.