#1. West Virginia
Heading north from Georgia into North Carolina, Virginia and finally landing in West Virginia was an eye-opener. It was my first time to experience winter as Len knew it as a child - ice, snow, boots! Our travels took us to the Travel South Showcase in Charleston, WV, but our need for knowledge took us to Littleton, WV, a small hiccup in the road in the most northern portion of the state. In search of the Garrison family history, we took the back roads, searched through cemeteries and discovered pieces of his past. A lesson for all travel - find a part of yourself there and leave a part behind.
#2. Storyteller Donald Davis
We can't begin to tell you the JOY that fills the room when storyteller Donald Davis takes the stage. Once a Methodist minister, he now entertains the masses with monologues and earfuls of lessons and flashes from the past. We first met him in April in Madison, Ga., and then we followed him in the fall to Jonesborough, Tennessee, where people came from across the world just to listen to this man. There were others, but Davis was the draw. There's something about his grandfatherly tone, his larger-than-life gestures, and his endearing stories that make us see a little bit of ourselves in him. As we listened to him and laughed until we cried, we saw our role as storytellers a little clearer. It's one thing to be in the audience; it's another to make people who aren't there feel like they are.
If ever there is a need to disappear, this is the place. Bermuda is at the crossroads of the past and present, and gives a whole new meaning to exhale. The pace is slow (indicative of my scooter pace) and easy - if you want it to be, that is; if not, it keeps you rockin' and rollin' on the water, in the nightclubs, in the eateries, in the museums. You'll never want for activity. Tourism isn't what it once was in Bermuda, and that is why they are ramping up their call for tourists, trying to make everything more affordable and enticing. We make this promise; it's heaven on earth and if you don't give yourself a complete week to explore, you'll be wishing you had before you even board the plane to return home.
#4. Steve Hein & Freedom
It was my first bald eagle shoot. My first touch. My first everything on Georgia Southern University's campus. It was also my first python-wrapped-around-my-neck experience, too, but that's one of those tidbits I choose to repress. Steve Hein taught Freedom how to make a college stadium filled with thousands of cheering fans, home. There was no fear involved from either party. Steve was sure Freedom would return, and he did. Every time. A testament to repetition, faith and Freedom.
#5. Tally Ho!
Again, a first. We feel a theme beginning to develop in our travels. A universal theme, mind you, of new experiences with a wow-factor. We have heard of fox hunts, most on England's countryside, but never a hour's drive away in Thomson, Georgia. Complete with red coats, fox hounds, and people who were ready to get their party on. The pomp-and-circumstance flourished at the beginning as the minister blessed the hounds, the riders and the spectators. Each to his own wagon and horse, and we were off. The caravan was impressive, but it was nothing in comparison to our gasp when the dogs discovered the fox's scent. They flew as the huntmaster Epp Wilson led them with calls from his horn.
They knew him by sight and sound. Our impression of a dog and his master changed a little that day. We reveled in the fun, but more in the hours that it must have taken to get to this point. The Belle Meade Hunt each November is an event that must be seen first hand.
When we travel and return home, we discuss where we have been and what we have seen. Never have we been disappointed or regretful. Things don't always go smoothly, but when do they ever, really? We expect the same discussions to take place in 2015, for we have destinations to discover, history to make. We'd be honored if you'd follow along, so that some time in the near future, you'll find yourself in our shoes - in discovery, in history.