My best friend and her sister came to visit a couple of weeks ago and, as I was telling them about my website and blog, I got onto a totally different tangent regarding a trip I took to Mississippi a few years ago. After I told them about the trip, my friend asked, “What don’t you do some travel writing?”
My response, “Um…because I don’t travel.” I really don’t travel. I go on adventures and take small trips, but to me travelling implies a visit to a foreign country or an extended time away. My trip to Mississippi was for about 10 days, driving to and from included, and was something I consider an adventure. Sure, I guess with me living in Canada and driving to Mississippi in the US, some would consider this traveling….not me. However, it did give me something to add to my travel globe.
OK, so it’s not so much a globe, as it is a glass display for a tealight. I’ve chosen to fill the base with things I pick up on these adventures of mine. It contains shells, small pieces of driftwood and an old rusty key found on the beach when my kids and I drove out East and visited Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. It also contains a small plastic bottle of the red soil from PEI. We headed out knowing we wanted to see Old Montreal, the Bay of Fundy, and go either whale or seal watching. Other than that, no hotel reservations were made and we stopped when and where we felt like it. I still say that is one of the best vacations I’ve ever had.
My adventure to Mississippi found me bringing back cotton that I picked myself while there. I drove past fields and fields of cotton, and wanted so much to stop and wander into the fields. When I went on a tour around Oxford Mississippi with my cousin, I told her I wanted to have this experience and she took me to a private field so that I could do it. Had I stopped to fulfill this wish on my drive there, I may have spent some time in a holding cell as many fields are state owned and I could have gotten arrested! But, that would have been one of those unexpected side trips I guess.
When I left to head home, I stopped at an old plantation. I guess a part of me felt that if I was going to be in the South, I should see the Old South as well. When I got to the plantation I was told I’d have to buy a ticket to tour the manor house in order to get onto the property. I love old homes, I must since my home is 80-years old, but I personally didn’t want to take a tour of a big old mansion and hear how wonderful this rich white man was to let his slaves go free when he no longer had a choice; so, I paid my fee and detoured to roam the property on my own. I spent at least an hour sitting on the grass with my back against the huge stone wall those same slaves would have built. I looked up at the manor house from that vantage point and could see and hear the people of a bygone era. I watched as the stable boys brought the race horses out for the men to view while the women, in the hooped skirts gossiped and sipped mint julep while sitting in old white rocking chairs on the front veranda.
In reality, it was other tourists like myself; kids screaming and running across the lawn, men and women in their travel gear sitting on new white rocking chairs, exactly like those I found for sale later that day at the Cracker Barrel Restaurant. But for me, I traveled back in time to what was and that’s what I wanted to do when I stopped there.
I guess this particular trip, and possibly others, will become more detailed posts here as they help express who I am. I have no fear of traveling alone; I don’t like staying on the beaten path; I like to spend my time with the locals rather than at the tourist traps; and I prefer not to follow a detailed map. I figure out the major highways of where I’m going, check once in a while to make sure I’m still headed in the right direction, and I hit the road. I know that frightens some people, not having clear plans, but to me it’s how I live my life. Plans change all the time. As long as you know where you’re going, or what you want your final destination to be, the side trips along the way just make it that more enjoyable.