The Best Part About Travel

The best part about travel is the reminder to appreciate everything and everyone that makes up “home.”

After ten days away, the familiarity of my car made even afternoon traffic in Atlanta an enjoyable experience. My shower felt especially lovely and my bed even better still. The morning chores of grocery shopping and laundry were almost comforting in their customary rhythm, dance moves longs since committed to memory. And after surreptitiously snuggling with every dog I encountered on my travels, it was amazing to see my own pup again.

My husband (who did not accompany on this trip) sent me a text a few days ago,

“These trips are good for us.”

And the ache we both had from missing each other and the electricity in the air upon our reacquaintance proves him right. They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone and time apart helps you realize what you have before it’s gone forever.

 

Even with missing home, the trip was amazing. It was the second (of hopefully many) road trips with a childhood friend. Last year, we covered many miles through the NE United States and Canada.

This year, we opted for more time in nature and less time in the car. After meeting in Seattle, we ferried over to the Olympic Peninsula, where we spent two days exploring and adventuring. One of the highlights here was our Airbnb, which was a working farm complete with a llama “drive thru” window in our bedroom!

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Hurricane Ridge – It’s strange for this Georgia girl to see snow in June!

 

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Hurricane Ridge – It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s a marmot!

 

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Lake Crescent – The views here were spectacular. Which is good, because the traffic was pretty spectacular too:)

 

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Cape Flattery – Is this place even real? I kept expecting dragons to emerge from the caves.

 

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Hoh Rainforest – We actually had a sunny day in the rainforest. A very rare occurrence!

 

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The llamas weren’t coming to the window, so we went to them!

After a leisurely journey down the Oregon coast (with the requisite cheese stop at Tillamook), we paused again in Portland. A neighborhood scavenger hunt allowed us to savor the weirdness and sense of fun that permeates that city (even in the cold rain that decided to appear).

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Cape Disappointment

 

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Ecola State Park

 

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Portland – We added “adventure!”

 

From there, we headed back north closer to the mountains. One of my favorite experiences was hiking Ape Caves, the longest lava tube in the United States. The vastness of the caverns was impressive and the restricted views from headlamps made it exciting. The sun again returned, which allowed us some amazing views of St. Helens and Rainier. I could certainly get used to those views.

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St. Helens

 

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Rainier – Even the locals said that don’t become immune to this view!

 

On the divorce front, I had one “win” on this trip and one eye-opener.

Nine years ago, I received the text that ended my marriage while I was with my dad in Seattle. With my other trips there after the tsunami, I found that I would have flashbacks triggered by certain locations and a residual dread about being abandoned again while traveling would appear. This time there was no hint of either. (Yippee!!!)

On my way back to Atlanta, I was routed through the Kansas City airport. The only other time I’ve been there was on my journey to reclaim the car from the impound lot while my then-husband was in jail. When I stepped off the plane in Kansas City yesterday, I was immediately struck with an intense nausea and body tremors. Emotionally, I was fine. But the body sure remembered that space and the way it felt the last time it was there. Luckily, the layover was short and the feeling left as soon as the plane did.

 

The best part of travel is…

the adventure

the memories

the highs and the lows

the stories

the laughter

the company

and the reminder that home is ultimately where it’s at:)

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