over the christmas break 2012, my dad’s side of the family gathered at my grandparents house in abilene. we always, as a tradition, do a giant (sometimes impossible) puzzle. my uncle, a pastor in oklahoma, and i spent quite a few hours working on this year’s puzzle. i enjoy that time because my family is complicated and when i focus on a puzzle, i don’t think about anything else. so my uncle andrew and i would be in there working on the puzzle and talking. i have to say, he’s one of my favorite family members. he’s young at heart, spiritual, active and open. he never judges me or anyone for that matter. he approaches religion with an open mind, which i wholeheartedly appreciate. and we can talk about mma, his martial arts training, and the ufc. talk about a variety of topics!
so we were talking about all of his recent travels on his sabbatical. he and my aunt had traveled to nepal, scotland, kenya, and cambodia. i was so jealous but i loved hearing about all of it. when he asked why i didn’t travel much, he said, “you just have to do it. cut corners where you can, but do it.” leaving the conversation, i still thought that i wouldn’t be able to do it, but it planted a seed. a seed of wanting.
i’ve been desperate to travel. so over the next few days i just started writing down a list of places i would like to see in the US. it was a long list. over the next few weeks, it was whittled down to about ten. and by april, i was down to about seven. it would be a lot of driving, but i was willing to do it. i budgeted my money for those six months so that i would be able to pay cash for the trip and not go in debt. by the first of june, i had my hotels booked and a full itinerary.
here’s the plan…
- New Orleans, LA
- the Gulf Coast (Gulfport and Biloxi)
- Montgomery and Tuskegee, AL
- Knoxville, TN
- Nashville, TN
- Memphis, TN and Little Rock, AR