Foundations of Appalachia

A couple weekends ago my grandfather and I went hiking along some unmarked trails that his neighbor in Greenbriar had mentioned to him. Apparently my Grandfathers neighbor was told by his father about an old community where there used to be a high school, but it had since been forgotten after the residents were forced to move out when the National Park was established. With my Grandfather and I’s thirst for adventure, theres no way we could NOT go investigate. With an old, handwritten map in hand, we set on our way through old Greenbriar.

After hiking for about 2.5 miles, we came upon some old stones that had once been the foundation of a chimney where a house once stood. Once we came upon that first one, they were everywhere. Between then and arriving the old high school, we came across at least 25 old stone foundations where a house once stood. You can instantly tell you are at the high school once you arrive to it. the column and foundation of the walls were huge, and stretched a good ways. What was surprising was how much of it was left. You could clearly make out where the walls once where, and the shape of the high school. My grandfather, using some old country logic I still don’t get, came to the conclusion that it must have been two stories high, and continued to point out where they would get their water from, where they would play, etc. After spending about an hour examining the high school in amazement, and proud that we were even able to find it, we decided to call it a day and go home until we found our next adventure. It wouldn’t have been the same without him.

 

Romantic Asheville Getaway

Over the weekend, my girlfriend and I went to Asheville, Nc for a romantic getaway weekend. With only being about an hour away from where we live, we figured it was just far enough to feel like we “escaped” while at the same time not spending most of our time traveling. Once we got there, we went to see Biltmore Estates, bar hopped downtown, hiked in the mountains, and did a bike tour of the city. The one thing I must say about Asheville is this: it is absolutely gorgeous. I grew up in the Smoky Mountains, so I am used to beautiful mountain scenery, but Asheville is literally a city smack dab in the middle of the mountains. We could have not asked for a better trip. It definitely set the bar high for our future getaway trips and will definitely be returning in the future.

Life through a Screen

Stop. Look up. Welcome back! You see all that around you, its called life, and its going right by us. We are all guilty of it, looking down at your phone real quick to check on something and next thing you know your 30 minutes to an hour in and haven’t looked up once. When I was in San Francisco visiting some family, I went down to Fishermans Wharf and Downtown to go to the places I used to visit as a kid on weekends. I was taking pictures, recording videos, editing and posting them to social media, yotta, yotta, yotta. But then it hit me. Instead of taking in the moment and all of the incredible things around me, I was too busy looking at my OWN life through a screen, just like someone who wasn’t ACTUALLY there. For the rest of the day, aside from the can’t miss pictures, I made it a point to take everything in with my own two eyes instead of living for the next picture or video. Sometimes its beneficial to be reminded just how much we are on our cellphones, and here is my reminder to you!

Living in Hawaii

When I turned 21 I had the privilege of moving to Oahu and Kauai, Hawaii and entrenching myself into another culture and way of life. Needless to say the experience changed my life.

Leading up to me moving, I had been in college 3 years attending ETSU in Johnson City, Tennessee. It was a great experience, and I made some lifelong friends, and a girlfriend, along the way. But something was missing. I could feel this inner drive and passion within myself to want to go explore the world, experience new cultures, and change my surrounding. So when the opportunity for me to move there came, I jumped on it!

The original plan was to drop out of school for a year, live in Hawaii to establish residency, then return to college and graduate at the University of Hawaii. I had it all figured out. But, as the saying goes, life got in the way. My fathers boss started a new company in Hawaii, and wanted me to come help him build it up. It was a win-win scenario for me. I got to live in a tropical paradise and not have to pay for rent, food, a vehicle, or anything. And on top of that, with me wanting to start my own business, I got to get the experience of learning how to build a business from the ground up, with someone else money! Though the hours were long and there was a lot on our plates, I made sure to take advantage of my situation and pursue why I REALLY moved to Hawaii, to experience a new culture and way of life.

I went to fish markets, ate octopus, surfed, spearfished, snorkeled, visited ancient burial sights/communities, played pickup basketball games at local parks, started to learn and use their own unique form of english called “pigeon”, visited national parks and volcanoes, went to local events, and so much more. What really helped me get integrated into the community was through my job and establishing relationships with our clients who in return, outside of work, would show us the “ways of the land” so to speak. I am eternally grateful to everyone who I met and befriended along the way.

Unfortunately my time in Hawaii got cut short. A year after moving to Oahu then to Kauai, and on the brink of starting back school, another opportunity came my way that was too good to pass up. Now how could anything be as good as living in Hawaii you might ask? Trust me, it was one of the toughest decisions of my life. But in the end I made the right choice, but that journey, is for another time.