This is the George Rogers Clark Memorial in Vincennes, Indiana. I sat on those steps early one fall morning in 2018 and watched the sunrise. It was a beautiful Saturday morning and the town was quiet.
I sat here for a long time just enjoying the peace and lost in my own thoughts. That was a rebuilding year for me personally and one of the best things that came out of that time was that I managed a good bit of travel and embraced my status as a single person. Sitting here that morning I realized that I was ok with who I was and the fact it’s just me.
The sunrise view from these steps wasn’t the best but the view of my life from these steps was darn good.
At the end of the day, you’re all you have and no amount of money, no stuff, no job, no relationship and no promises will change that. Embrace who you are, learn to take care of yourself, take the solo trip, eat alone in the restaurant, go live your life.
The sun will rise and set every day. In between the two, there are adventures to be had. Don’t waste a single minute. Get out there and enjoy life.
Most of my hiking trips are squeezed in between work and chores at home – usually no more than two or three miles in an evening. It’s usually enough to get some exercise and to make me want more time. Saturday morning’s goal was to get out for a longer hike in the Hocking Hills.
Evidently, that was everyone else’s goal too. Fall is a busy time at our local parks. It’s more or less the Smokys of the north so there were a lot of people, even in sections of the trail that normally are sparsely populated.
Here are a few notes from the field.
It’s funny how people behave differently in groups than they do alone. There were a number of groups – anywhere from three to fifty people – clumped together, talking and seemingly paying no mind to their surroundings. I was sad for them because there’s so much beauty to be enjoyed and not just visually. If you’re quiet, you can hear an orchestra of birds, the chatter of squirrels and leaves crunching underfoot. If you take a moment to breath deeply, you’ll notice how the turning leaves almost flavor the air and that sharp intake of a cool fall morning will give new life if you let it.
On the other hand, I’ve been seeing an uptick in people hiking alone. I’ve always seen men going it alone but there was a huge number of ladies out solo yesterday. A few had dogs but most were just alone and it made my heart happy to think that I’m not alone in my belief that you can’t wait for a partner to go out and live your life!
There was an unusual number of dogs off leash yesterday. You may love your pet but it’s alarming to see someone’s Great Dane barreling down the trail when you’re timid or afraid of strange dogs.
More people than normal appeared to be lost. I gave directions to several groups that had launched out without maps or any clue where they were going. If you know the area, offer to help. Most people are thrilled to have a little guidance.
Along those same lines, if you see someone taking a selfie, you may offer to take their picture. I noticed a woman struggling to get a selfie with her dog and thought she would cry when I offered to take their picture. She said they have few pictures together because they’re always alone. If you’re on vacation, you typically want some pictures of yourself in context or your entire group together. It takes just a minute to give this gift to a stranger.
The best thing I saw all day was a man helping a female companion along the trail. I thought that he was just being sweet until I got closer and realized that she was blind. Ironically, it made me think of those groups of people who seemed to be oblivious to their surroundings and I realized that this woman with visual impairment probably would absorb as much or more of her surroundings than those people did. It also made me happy to think that she’s not allowing anything to hold her back.
There’s this farm I pass by somewhat frequently. It’s visible from the highway to Athens, always well tended and, for lack of a better word, quaint.
On a recent trip, the sky and light were nice and the farm caught my eye. I drove by but couldn’t get it out of my mind. My trusty camera was on the seat next to me so I turned around real quick and headed back.
Here’s another view.
Isn’t it pretty?
It’s always fun when you suddenly notice something you’ve passed by countless times without a second thought. In fact, this is the kind of thing I live for. Happy travels, friends.
Last week I read something that suggested we are the sum of the people who we spend most of our time with. This idea has stuck with me.
I am very selective about who I allow into my life and who gets to stay. If you gossip, cut others down, make me feel bad or simply drain my energy, you won’t likely make the cut.
Life is too short to give influence to people who we know are bad for us.
Most of my close relationships unfold via text these days. Not by choice but because of geographic distances. Without technology we would likely lose touch despite the fact these are people who add to my life, who make me happy and who make me laugh.
In my daily life, there’s a core group of people who I see and who, for the most part, offer positive influences that I think help me to be a better person.
Whether they are present by text or in real life, I’m grateful for them all. If it’s true that I am the sum of these people, I’m okay with that equation.
Who do you spend your time with? Do they add to your life or tear you down? Do you feel comfortable being yourself or are you holding back or pretending to be something you aren’t?
It may be time to do some soul searching and to start making tough choices about the people in your life. Remember, there’s enough negativity in the world without inviting more into your day.
Most of what I write here involves the places I go and adventures I’ve had over the years. I love to travel and treasure hunt in places near and far and never tire of packing my bag for the next trip. Truth be told, while I do love my adventures, I’m also perfectly happy at home. There’s nothing like a long weekend to remind me how much of a homebody I really am.
This Martin Luther King Jr. weekend I have spent cooking, cleaning, reading, practicing a new hobby, listening to records and exercising. I’ve stomped around in the snow with my camera and curled up on the couch with a Blue Bloods marathon. I’ve spent some time assessing how much stuff (too much, in case you’re wondering) I have and reworked how I use a few things. A clean, organized home is a happy home. It’s even happier when there’s hot chocolate involved.
Winter is the perfect time to stay inside and take care of your nest. It’s also a great time to plan the year’s adventures and to save money for fun when better weather returns.
If I had someone to come home to, I’d probably be very happy coming home and making him dinner and spending my weekends hanging out together. Since I don’t have that kind of life, I’m free to go traipsing off to parts both familiar and unknown.
Today I’ll go back to work and take comfort in knowing that when I come home tonight, I’ll make myself a good dinner and put another record on the turntable. Right now, the homebody in me believes there’s nowhere to be that’s better than where I am.
It’s true. As hard as you try to stay ahead of the game and do good work and keep up with everything that’s important and all the things that you have to do… sometimes it’s just hard because life gets in the way.
This week has been one of those weeks that I didn’t come close to keeping up. Busy at work, insane weather, multiple power outages, stuff with friends…. I have done a terrible job keeping up with blogging and exercise and things at home and basically everything else.
As I hopped on the treadmill this morning, I contemplated the importance of recommitting to goals every single day. It has to be done.
But for now, I’ll just be over here digging myself out from under everything that’s gotten in the way. Happy Saturday, friends.