Resurrecting – and passing on – my wanderlust

op travelIf I described my childhood, it may sound to some like I was raised by a band of gypsies. And while that wasn’t exactly the case, I had quite a unique early life that I didn’t fully appreciate until rather recently.

Not your average tourist: Waynesville man reflects on decades of travel in the jungles of Ecuador

out frWhen life gets hectic, most people have a vacation spot where they go to unwind — perhaps a family cabin on the lake, a favorite campground or a sandy beach. 

David Burns, 73, finds that place somewhere in the depths of the Ecuadorian Amazon.

Stuttering, understanding race and Merle Haggard

op merleWhen I was a little girl, I had a stuttering problem. The memories of struggling with words that started with “S” or “N” are vivid in my mind. Sometimes I would try to come up with ways to completely avoid saying anything that started with those letters.

This must be the place

art theplace$25.06. The total at the gas pump. Full tank. Waynesville to Tybee Island, Georgia. Around 350 miles. As an impending snowstorm crept over the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina last Thursday, I jumped into my musty, rusty pickup truck and bolted down the highway, en route to sunny skies and crashing waves along the mighty Atlantic Ocean.

Wandering as a way of life: Bryson City man takes to the road

fr travelMost people have had the inclination at some point in their lives to just pack it up and hit the road without a finite destination in mind — to just feel the wind on their face with nothing but highway ahead.

A traveler’s library; books read and unread

bookAs some readers of this column may know, I have spent the past six weeks in Europe, specifically the British Isles and Italy. Below is an accounting, by way of lists and some short reviews, of books carried here, bought here, read here, and left here.

This must be the place

art theplaceI rolled the windows down and stuck my head out. The air was crisp and salty, with a slight hint of curious adventure. I was officially in Maine. Rolling back up the window, I turned to my parents, who had just picked me up at the Portland airport. We made small talk about how their vacation was going, how life is back home in Upstate New York, how my sister and little niece were doing. 

This must be the place

art theplaceIt’s the only place I feel at home. The open road. Once it gets into your system, you’ll spend the rest of your life trying to make sense of it. The highways, bi-ways and back roads in this country are the circulatory system of America, the blood pump and heartbeat of a hurried people on the move. It is the essence of humanity, for good or ill, and when you take that first journey away from familiarity, you’ll understand what cosmic discoveries lay just beyond the horizon.

The Waynesville Inn, Golf Resort & Spa

travel wciWhen asked why he loves Western North Carolina, Travis Smith had to pause for a moment. “Well, that’s a good question,” he chuckled. “It’s special to me because I’ve been here most of my life. I love the mountains, the people. You’re away from the cities, from all the traffic and noise.”

Over the hills and far away

travel johnccampbellTaking a left off U.S. 64 onto Settawig Road in rural Clay County, the busy commercial thoroughfare transforms into lush farmland. The mountain air gets sweeter, soothing late spring sunshine spilling into the open windows of your vehicle.

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