Much worse is when I start comparing myself to other bloggers. Bloggers who stay current with their blogs. Bloggers who are better writers, better photographers, travel to more exotic places, make beautiful videos, have snazzier rigs, look fantastic posed on top of a mountain doing yoga at sunrise…the list goes on.
Apparently, there are an infinite number of ways that I can create blogging angst. Trust me, this is not healthy for building self-esteem. It is an excellent practice for creating a serious case of writer’s block, though.
Fortuitously, I met up with a new friend several days ago—a friend met through our blog. As we sat outside in the sun on the patio of a local island brewery, sharing travel stories and getting to know each other, Leah told me that she loves our blog and looks forward to reading it. My response (after thanking her rather profusely) was to lament the fact that our blog is so far behind and to share that I’ve been feeling stuck. “Write for yourself,” she said. Her wise words came at just the right time.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
There have been moments recently when I’ve considered skipping all of the places we’ve traveled since mid-April, and reeling our blog into the present. But I started writing this blog so that I would have a tangible way of remembering our travels as the years go by. Without our blog, most of those experiences would have retreated to a distant corner of my memory, never again to see the light of day.
Writing and photography are the best way I know of to capture time. Without our blog, I can recall highlights here and there of our travels, but I don’t remember the details. And the details are what I love.
I love being able to immerse myself once again in the turquoise waters of the Florida Keys or a luxurious hot spring in tiny Lava Hot Springs, Idaho. Our blog takes me back to spectacular mountain hikes in the Sierra Nevada and the adventure of discovering remote petroglyphs on Cedar Mesa.
The elaborate courtship displays of Great Egrets in High Island, Texas. Exploring the ancient ruins of Betatakin with a Navajo guide. Wading hip-deep through wildflowers in the North Cascades. The thrill of being surrounded by orca and humpback whales in Telegraph Cove. The exuberance of the French Quarter Festival in New Orleans. The scent of roasting peppers at the Santa Fe farmers’ market. The perfection of summers in the San Juan Islands.
When I read a post from a year or five years ago, I’m immediately transported back to that moment.
It is an art, trying to capture the soul of a place, the essence of an experience, and the nuances of feelings in words. I constantly fall short—but in making the effort, I’m immersed more deeply in the experience. Writing offers me the opportunity to relive our travels. And it’s in the reflection and writing that the experience is woven more deeply into my being.
“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospection.” – Anais Nin
The quote from Anais Nin has long been one of my favorites. From childhood, writing has been a way for me of making sense of the world, for acknowledging the joys of life, and for finding solace in difficult moments. Although I kept a daily journal for decades, I’ve never aspired to post daily. But I do enjoy writing a blog about each of our destinations—unless there’s truly nothing interesting to write about. That rarely happens.
Which brings us to Greenville, South Carolina. It was a brief stop for us, only two nights. I almost skipped writing about it. And then Eric said, “But what about the beautiful hiking trails? And the cool downtown?” And I know he was also thinking about our visit to the home of Shoeless Joe Jackson, the baseball legend who walked out of the cornfield in “Field of Dreams.” It’s one of Eric’s favorite films.
Paris Mountain State Park, just a few miles outside of Greenville, is beautiful. The park has miles of hiking and biking trails, with lots of CCC work throughout. Although we’ve seen a great deal of CCC work in our travels (yay for the CCC boys!) this was the first time I’ve heard the word “parkitecture.” It refers to the practice of the Parks Service in the early 20th century of designing with nature, combining native wood and stone to create attractive structures that fit beautifully into the landscape.
About the campground
Paris Mountain State Park is a sweet campground. Although it’s made for smaller rigs, we watched a couple of large motorhomes squeeze in. The sites are spacious, but the roads within the park are narrow and winding. Water and electric hookups, good Verizon, and the hiking trails are beautiful. It’s just a few miles from downtown Greenville.