This must be the place: ‘Goin’ places that I’ve never been, seein’ things that I may never see again’

There’s an old backpack in my apartment. I’ve had it since college. And since those academic days back in Connecticut and greater New England, it’s held my road journals. 

This must be the place: If you lived here, you’d be home by now

Sitting in The Scotsman in downtown Waynesville on Sunday evening, I found myself sporadically watching the last NFL game of the season as the Detroit Lions eventually overtook the Green Bay Packers.

This must be the place: ‘Can’t live without you so it seems, honey sew another patch on my jeans’

New Year’s Eve. A little past 9 a.m. in Room 211 of the Holiday Inn Express on the outskirts of Nashville, Tennessee, within earshot of the airport and the bustling Interstate 40. 

This must be the place: ‘You will receive a big compliment from others. Lucky numbers: 15, 18, 30, 32, 40, 42’

It was another quiet Sunday morning in the ole humble abode in downtown Waynesville. But, this go-round, it was Christmas morning. Emerge from bed. Grab a glass of water. Check emails. Open the front door and check how much colder today is than yesterday.

This must be the place: Remember no man is a failure who has friends

Sunday morning. Across the globe, Argentina and France were battling it out in the World Cup soccer final in Qatar. Half-a-world away, and yet I was already a half-hour late for the early morning “Bloody Marys & Futbol” party up the mountain ridge outside of town at my friend’s house. 

This must be the place: Know it’s a wonderful world, if you can put aside the sadness

It’s 51 degrees with a warm sun and blue skies hovering above downtown Waynesville. A little after 2 p.m. Monday with a cup o’joe in-hand while sitting at Orchard Coffee. Folks milling about in conversation, others simply reading a book or typing away.

This must be the place: Morning comes wearing diamonds, where she is, the sun is shining

Hello from Room 128 at the Red Roof Inn in Hardeeville, South Carolina, just north of the Georgia state line off Interstate 95. It’s 10:01 a.m. Yesterday, I awoke in Room 208 at the Hampton Inn outside of Lake Wales, Florida.

This must be the place: Lace up the running shoes, head out the door and get after it

As of yesterday, Monday, Nov. 28, I’ve run 2,525 days in a row. I hadn’t checked in on “the streak” in a while, but was curious at where it stood after coming across a 2021 article for Outside magazine, titled “The Minds and Habits of Master Streakers.”

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. 

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