So I finally took my trip to Asheville. Moving there for Joe’s whole deployment didn’t work out, but I saved enough for the 10 days I stayed in an extended stay hotel. It was surprisingly difficult to make that reservation and commit to leaving my cat and my responsibilities for even that long, but the latest Hobbit movie (in addition to shattering my heart forever) had me inspired to be adventurous.
And it really was an adventure. Maybe it wouldn’t have been for most people, but it was for me. The first few days made me wonder if the whole thing was a huge mistake. I got lost on the 5-hour drive there, then arrived to find myself roomed underneath, apparently, a dinosaur who never slept. Then I noticed it was supposed to rain most of the week and kept having to put off my plans.
But after a day of rest, I went out anyway, and it ended up being pretty amazing. Over the next week and a half I visited the quiet places and breathtaking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Botanical Gardens, Arboretum, and Biltmore Estate. I shopped, ate, and browsed art downtown, in the River Arts District, and at the Folk Art Center, and even got tips and encouragement from more experienced artists and crafters. I met friendly travelers who invited me to join their activities, including seeing the stars through telescopes.
I drove and walked all over the city. And once I’d worn myself out each day, I came back to my room to relax (with the help of earplugs, earmuffs, and headphones, lol) and work on some creative projects.
So at the end of my trip, I was sad to put those mountains in my rear view mirror and trade galleries and studios for barber shops and boot cleaners, but I was ready to return to my own comfortable space – where I found new art supplies from my husband and a cat who was very happy to see me.
I have a lot to catch up on and plenty of creative inspiration to use before it disappears.
And maybe I can’t be my vacation self forever, who wakes up early (ish) and does activities all day and is open to spontaneity. When you live with depression/anxiety, some days even simple chores or errands can be exhausting. But it’s nice to know that, under the right circumstances, I can be a fun and adventurous person. And maybe some of that will stay with me.
Here are a few of the many photos I took. Thanks for reading and keep an eye out for some new paintings!