I have to admit that I’ve been a snob. I didn’t grow up traveling in the U.S. and I was proud of it. The majority of my travels had always been international. From North Carolina, it was strictly limited to short drives to South Carolina, Tennessee, and the yearly flights out to Southern California to visit family friends. I’ve spent far more time traveling in the Caribbean, Europe, and South America than in my own country.
We are trucking through Alabama in my red convertible VW Cabrio. It’s been nothing but green grassy fields. Music is filling my ears and the miles start adding up. Everything is going smoothly, when all of a sudden, I feel a pop.
We awaken to a gray day. Strong winds. A storm is definitely coming in, but it’s all huff and puff as we pull to a stop in front of the outdoor markets of the French quarter.
New Orleans doesn’t smell like a swamp, but there is definitely something pungent about it. The air has a mass and spirit to it. You feel your body against the air as you take it all in: the cobblestone streets, people strolling, and music everywhere. A city full of stories to tell.
Growing up three hours away, I never gave it much credit, but Atlanta is really stepping it up. It has managed to hang on to its sweet southern tones, and mix in some authentic international influence.
Tonight we head to Eclipse de Luna, an out of the way Spanish restaurant that is hidden behind of a long string of home décor shops. All the shops are now closed for the day, and we are driving through the dark for several minutes.
To be completely honest, I have never been interested in taking a road trip.
I have dreamed of traveling to exotic foreign locations like New Zealand, Brazil, and Turkey, but the thought of being a “tourist” in my own country never sounded so fabulous. I wasn’t interested, and for years I traipsed through Europe and hung out down in South America. It wasn’t until I was teaching English in Brazil that I started to wonder if I was missing out on something.