As many who follow me on social media know, I took advantage of Labor Day Weekend and flew to East Tennessee to spend some time with my parents. This came at the perfect time, as everything tends to.
I’ve been stressed to the point of exhaustion for a long time. Nothing too major, or anything really to worry about. It just seemed that the normal day to day grind started to weigh more heavily on me than it usually does. Taking off to the peace that my hometown brings to me was just what the pretend doctor ordered. I had a wonderful time, not doing too much of anything. The three of us did go out on Sunday to Pigeon Forge, where we went to the always entertaining Dolly’s Stampede (seriously, did you think I’d go to Dolly’s hometown and not do something Dolly related? Nah bruh). Other than that, I didn’t do much of anything except sit on the back porch drinking beer and flip flop which dog I was showing love to at any given time. It was beautiful.
Every time I go to Seymour, if I’m flying, I fly into Atlanta and drive up from there. It takes a little bit of extra time, but it’s much more cost effective to fly in there than to fly into Knoxville, and I can get a direct flight from Boston. Even in the event that I need to rent a car to get me to or from the airport, it comes out less expensive in the end. And I don’t mind driving.
This trip was no different; I flew in on the first flight out on Saturday morning, and my parents were nice enough to come get me. For the trip home, I scheduled a rental from the airport in Knoxville. I didn’t want to put my parents out and make them go to work late, so I picked it up just after 8am. Since my flight wasn’t scheduled for departure until almost 8pm, that gave me roughly 11 hours to make my way down. I didn’t want to linger in Tennessee, so I decided I would make an adventure out of it; I got off the highway and just sort of followed my navigation app in the general southern direction.
At one point, even the “backroad” I was on was a 4 lane highway with a grass median, so I decided that was too urban for me. I pulled over and loosely planned a route that would still get me to Atlanta, but wouldn’t be the beaten path. I figured as long as I could check my map every now and again I’d be good. I’m fairly good with directions, so I decided to just go with it.
The problem with being in the mountains is that almost immediately after I got off the road I had been on, I lost all cell service. Since I am entirely reliant on my cell phone for pretty much everything, and had a rental vehicle, I didn’t have a paper map on me.. so I just sort of made it up as I went. I knew the general direction of the route I had chosen, but once I got a few turns in I honestly had no idea where I was or where I was headed. #whoops.
This actually turned into the best thing that could have happened today. I stopped several times up in the mountains and just sat in silence by a body of water. I sat next to a field for a while and watched some cows meander their way across it. I spent time away from the hustle and bustle and stress of “I need to get to point A now because I have roughly 8 billion things to do when I get there.” I was lost, but I was not stressed. Quite the opposite, in fact. I knew I was headed in the *general* direction of where I needed to be, and I knew that I had plenty of time to get there. Why stress myself out over something I couldn’t change now if I wanted to? I’d made my decision, now I needed to let that decision play out.
This is the route I took, with the towns I remember passing through. Even once I got out of the mountains, I ignored all major highways. What is normally a roughly 3.5 hour drive straight down 75 took me just about 8 with the stops I made along the way:
I was “lost” for a few hours, but what I learned along the way was that sometimes it’s not such a bad thing to be lost. Sometimes, the universe provides you with exactly what you need.
Til next time, friends.