Southern Spring & Dear Friends

There is something about a road trip that gets my heart racing.  When I’m having a bad day, thinking about an open highway is the perfect escape.  Growing up, my parents loaded my brothers and I in our minivan and drove us around the country–from Maine to Alabama to national parks out west.

It’s been about a year since I’ve properly traveled.  Last April, I did a month-long trek across Europe on my own.  Upon returning, my bank account was dangerously empty and I’ve been focusing on my librarian career ever since.

Still, it was high time for a road trip.

This past weekend, I took a few days off and made the trek with a friend from Minnesota to Nashville, Tennessee.  Round-trip, we drove 1,500 miles and spent about 24 hours in the car.  Our only mishap was a speeding ticket in Iowa.

The further south we went, the world came alive.  It was as if we pressed fast-forward on Spring.  Grass and flowers emerged, the temperature dropped, and leaves sprouted from trees.  By the time we arrived in Nashville, we had stripped down to t-shirts and shorts for a few days of summery warmth.

Although Nashville is a cool city, we were more interested in the people who live there than seeing the sights.  (Plus, I had already done the whole Country Music Hall of Fame thing on a trip with my parents ten-or-so years ago.)  We were there to visit a family of very dear friends.

My friend and I met the Wheelers a year ago during our time at L’Abri Fellowship in England.  The husband and wife were volunteers and lead work crews, along with their four kids.  We spent three months living together and I became close with their younger daughters.

So, while our time there may not have been touristy, it was definitely rich.  We shared delicious meals, caught up on life, and reminisced about our time at L’Abri and the friends we made there.  With the kids, we played badminton outside and took weird videos on my phone.

It would be a lie to say we didn’t do any touring… On Sunday afternoon, after church, we went on a long hike in Radnor Lake State Park.  That evening, we attended a piano recital at Vanderbilt University.  On Monday, we visited The Hermitage–the plantation of President Andrew Jackson.

Overall, I had a wonderful trip.  My time at L’Abri was the happiest of my life and it was such a treat to reconnect with the Wheelers.  I don’t have any kid friends at home, so I really enjoyed playing with the girls, holding their hands as we walked, and saying weird things to make them laugh.

All trips must come to an end, and by the time this one did, I was ready to go home.  As an introvert, too much time with others is extremely draining and I’m not used to the energy levels of kids.  My friend and I were happy for quiet and mental space on the drive home–we listened to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone on audiobook and didn’t have to talk all the time.

I’m very happy to be sleeping in my own bed, but my next adventure is right around the corner.

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Sunset over Iowa on the drive home.

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