This must be the place: And a man must forfeit all he owns for a glimpse at the reason why

I was about an hour behind schedule leaving my native Plattsburgh, New York, the truck aimed for Waynesville and greater Western North Carolina. Some 1,100 miles in one direction, and yet it was already 1 p.m. on Thursday when I finally embarked from my folks’ farmhouse. 

This must be the place: One man practicing kindness in the wilderness is worth all the temples this world pulls

I had about an hour window of no rain before the remnants of the tropical storm would slowly, but surely, slide into the North Country. The clouds were already darkening above the Adirondack Mountains as the nose of the truck was aimed west, heading out from my parents’ farmhouse on the outskirts of Plattsburgh, New York. 

This must be the place: It takes a lifetime to find, a life like the life you had in mind

It’s a dreary early late fall afternoon here at my folks’ farmhouse, tucked away on a side road, just off Route 22 outside of Plattsburgh, New York. And although the red, orange and yellow leaves on the ground signal November, the odd 70+ degree temperatures say otherwise.

This must be the place: And we all will die, and even the stars will fade out one after another in time

Slowly opening my eyes in the waning hours of Sunday morning, I could hear the last of the fall foliage tourist traffic zoom by my apartment on nearby Russ Avenue in downtown Waynesville, heading out of town until this time next year.

This must be the place: You want to find the truth in life, don’t pass music by

Hello from Room 307 at the Hilton Garden Inn amid the coastal community of Monterey, California. It’s 11 a.m. and I have a flight to catch from San Francisco to Atlanta later tonight. But, for now? I figured I’d wander up the along the Pacific Coast Highway, ole Route 1, en route to SFO for that 10:50 p.m. takeoff. 

This must be the place: The air was soft, the stars so fine, the promise of every cobbled alley so great

Editor’s Note: While on assignment for Rolling Stone out in Monterey, California, last weekend, Garret decided to hang out in San Francisco for a couple of days beforehand, just to hit the ground runnin’ and once again feel the vibe of the city he missed. The following is what he felt, and wrote about, in real time.

This must be the place: I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry, and when I get thirsty I’ll lay down and cry

Emerging from his merchandise table at The Grey Eagle in Asheville last week, legendary troubadour Ramblin’ Jack Elliott moseyed on over to where I stood in the lobby. With a signature grin rolling across his face, the 91-year-old folk hero extended his hand and said he was looking forward to our interview backstage.

This must be the place: Beg, steal or borrow two nickels or a dime to call me on the phone

Room 424. Marriott City Center. Raleigh. Thursday. Awakened by the sounds of a banjo and laughter in the hallway, the room was pitch black from the curtains still shut high above downtown. The clock stated 9:15 a.m. Emerge from one’s slumber, onward into the impending day.

This must be the place: Instead of insight, maybe all a man gets is strength to wander for a while

What’s that feeling you get pulling back up in front of your humble abode after weeks away, wandering and pondering?

This must be the place: Could have been the Willie Nelson, could have been the wine

Waking up in the hotel room at the Chateau Laurier in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, last Saturday morning, I rubbed my eyes and stretched out in the king bed. Another solo excursion of irresponsible enlightenment, which has now landed me above the border — in the land of friendly faces, poutine and hockey.

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