I hate to get all Anthony Bourdain on you (except way nicer and shorter and not quite as pompous but let’s be honest — almost.) by writing one travel post after another and continuously waxing on about the importance of throwing out your itineraries and talking to locals and aimlessly wandering cobblestoned streets with no real plan in mind. (The exception, of course, being dinner reservations. Because food is awesome.)
But the thing is, I have to just go with what I’m feeling. Sometimes it’s painting. Sometimes it’s cooking. And sometimes — most times — it’s travel.
In fact, in an instantaneous and clichéd moment of clarity, I just now realized.
THAT is why I’m domestiphobic.
My love for travel.
While I definitely enjoy some domestic activities — especially those that improve my knowledge of wine, food, photography, turning my home into a comfortable retreat, reading with my husband, playing with my mutts, and wine, I am terrified — terrified — that I will allow these things entrap me in a vortex of stagnancy.
That alluringly hypnotizing momentum of mediocrity.
I don’t want that for myself.
Or my family.
So I write what I feel. And for right now, while I still have some stories and photos to share, it’s travel.
I know this confuses some people. Why do you love it so much? they ask. Don’t you miss your own bed? Your own home? Your closet, your husband (when he’s not with you), your dogs, your ability to relax and unwind?
Of course. Of course I miss these things. All except that last part. Because the thing is, if you haven’t learned to relax and unwind while you travel, I have news for you:
you just aren’t doing it right.
If you know how to relax, there are plenty of aspects about travel that counterbalance the things you miss, like meeting interesting travelers and locals. Tasting exotic foods. Repeating your tattered, worn-out stories to new and shiny faces. Absorbing foreign sights and sounds and experiences that keep you — your soul — young.
Interested in life.
Before heading to Asheville, Justin and I decided to spend a night at a B&B in the town of Banner Elk, NC at the suggestion of Andi, from My Beautiful Adventures. (Seriously. She has a top-rated travel blog, runs her own business, and still has time to council lil’ ol’ me on where I should take my husband to relax upon his return home from Afghanistan. Kind of awesome.)
After a romantic dinner at the villa (more on that in another post) and a coma-like slumber on the most comfortable hotel bed ever (more on that in another post), and a glorious breakfast of mimosas, coffee, blueberry/pomegranate(?) juice (because everyone needs at least 3 beverages with breakfast), eggy toast, bacon, swiss chard/purple potato concoction, home fries, and yogurt with granola and fresh fruit (more on that — well, here:
we asked Jackie, our incredible Chef/hostess/innkeeper/overall just awesome person if there was anything else we should do before heading to Asheville. Of course, she said we needed to head to the winery for our complimentary tasting, but since that didn’t open until noon, we should head out to the “high vineyard” to check out the views.
Her instructions were simple: Turn right at the stop sign, stay left at the place where there’s “kind of” a fork in the road, don’t drive off of the winding mountain path for 1-2 miles, turn left at the Christmas tree farm, park along the dirt road, unplug the electric cow fence, climb over the barbed wire, and viola! High vineyard.
If the travel mojo has taught me anything, I knew we had to go with it.
And of course, our skepticism exploded all over the inside of Justin’s practical 4-door sedan when we arrived at the high vineyard.
We wanted fall colors? We got fall colors.
Okay. So in the past I know I’ve been guilty of saying I dislike fall. And it’s still true. I mean, I like fall — I like the colors and the fuzzy socks and the crackling fires (well, not-so-much crackling in our case, since ours is gas, but you get the gist). What I don’t like is its implication of impending winter.
The cold. The ice. The lack of sun.
She’s so dreary and boring and long.
She does put on a pretty good pre-game show, doesn’t she?
(Yes, we brought a tripod to the top of a mountain. Pretty much just your typical day. And yes, I ran back and forth with a timer setting at a high altitude, which is why I look like I’ve been running back and forth with a timer setting at a high altitude. Just to get this picture for you. You’re welcome.)
I can’t tell you how long we lounged there, near the top of the mountain, bathing in the sun and warmth and wondering if the man with the sprawling estate on the next hill over was watching us through telescopes.
No place is perfect.
But this one, I think, was pretty damn close.
UPDATE: It would probably be helpful to mention that the place where we stayed in Banner Elk was the Banner Elk Winery & Villa. Highly recommend it. Also, check out a screenshot from today’s webcam:
This is just over a week after our stay. Travel Mojo, man. Dig it.