The last 6 months or so have been an adventure as I’ve tried to buckle down on my business and pinpoint what exactly is the best use of my limited time. Between being a perfectionist and a people pleaser - both of which are crippling and make menial tasks unnecessarily time consuming - I’ve tried to get better about picking my battles and investing myself more fully in the things that matter.
In a business sense that means finding the things that pay the bills and focusing on them. But more importantly, in a life sense, it means taking time to be with those I love. Frequently that means I have to actually schedule time with people (I’ve actually started using a real-life calendar believe it or not), and I’m still usually late (you’re all saints for putting up with me), but I’ve also allowed myself a couple of solid vacations.
In March I took one heck of a road trip with my friend Melanie. We met in while in college in Florence, Italy and have traveled to England, Scotland, and several states together. She’s pretty much my ideal road trip partner: willing to stop and read historic plaques (or at least let me read them), take pictures with me from sunup till sundown, and alternate between quiet, resting stillness and fast paced adventure. She’s also patient and loving to the nth degree aannndddd she likes my music so she can handle sitting in a car with me for hours on end.
We started our adventure in North Carolina where I picked her up at the Charlotte airport. After a day of shopping, we drove to Asheville where we spent one full day exploring the arboretum, the downtown, and at least for my part, did some more shopping. We hadn’t really been paying attention when planning and had accidentally showed up in the East-Coast-Capitol-of-Craft-Beer on Saint Patricks Day, a holiday neither of us care for. All that to say, we found the only place in the city that didn’t serve beer and had a lovely dinner.
We spent the next morning exploring foggy fields and chasing waterfalls in the state park. The plan was to catch the waterfalls at sunrise but we kept getting distracted by all of the beautiful scenes between our Airbnb and our destination.
We ate lunch in downtown Knoxville, TN (a city I’d really like to see more of) on the way to Glasgow, KY. We honestly both picked Kentucky because neither of us had ever been there and wanted to check it off the list. We only stayed one night but it wasn’t enough. I don’t know about the rest of the state but this little part that we experienced was beautiful. Our Airbnb was on a horse rescue farm and the owner drove us around and introduced us to his 30+ horses. We tried to check out the nearby National Park which apparently has the world’s most extensive (400+ mile) cave system but unfortunately none of the tours lined up with the time we had available. Definitely going back someday for that.
Despite it being the first day of Spring, we had to leave early and head to our final destination, Nashville, to beat a tornado warning that was supposed to go into effect that afternoon. We never did see a tornado but it did decide to snow!
Nashville was an adventure itself. The first half of my time in Nashville we stayed with Melanie’s friend Hannah who’s hospitality was boundless. We listened to fabulous artists at The Basement and The Listening Room, got massages, explored another state park, and tried out as many different coffee shops as we could find.
A few days into my time in Nashville, Melanie had to head home and Bernie flew in to finish out the trip. We spent a full day walking all over downtown, just to see what we could see. We both decided it’s not really for us - the noise and bustle. What we did love though were the things on the outskirts. We toured one of the first distilleries in the United States and Belle Meade plantation where they raised derby-winning horses, walked through Antique Archaeology’s shop (note that I didn’t buy anything in there but it was really cool), and ate more food than is probably good for any two people. The top of the list was probably the bacon at Biscuit Love - definitely worth the hour-long wait in line, or the donuts at Five Daughters - which we ate twice; they were that good. Nashville as a whole is a beautiful city. Even if you’re not a city-person or a die-hard music lover, I was impressed with the array of things to see and do. There were more murals in Nashville than in any other city I think I’ve been to, which does a lot for this creative soul.
The best part about the trip was that I put my shop on vacation, posted on social media only if I felt like it, and just enjoyed my time with my friend. When I got back I found out that my film camera had unknowingly decided to call it quits and I only got a third of the photos I’d taken. I was a little demoralized after that honestly and wasn’t as excited about sharing the trip with y’all because I don’t have the images to back up the adventure. But I have the memories and I’ll hold onto those as long as I can. Life isn’t about documentation, it’s about spending time on the things that matter. And friends and family - that’s what matters.