North Cakalakky

Ah, the little road trip winds to a close, much more bittersweet than I imagined. I knew I’d be seeing a few things and saying hello to some friends, but I absolutely underestimated how wonderful this trip would be.IMG_5206

I left Saluda (the tiny town South of Asheville) Thursday morning feeling extremely pleased with my short time there. Rainy waterfall hikes and long, sunny treks around a lake with music and good company was all I could ask for at a stop that I never even intended on making a few days prior. Driving into Raleigh I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I have a wonderful friend there and had full faith in her ability to extract the best parts for my expected 24 hour stay.

For our first night Maia had scoped out a band at random, that seemed cool and was playing in town. Not only were are jaws dropped in amazement for most of the show, but turns out they were from Oakland! There was something warm and comforting about hearing the music from the community that I was surrounded by for my time out west, all the way in Raleigh, NC. Though I hadn’t heard them before, it only took a few texts to realize our handful of mutual friends. Anyway all that to say it was a great night.

And while I planned on heading out the next day, Maia mentioned that should I decide to stay… there was a First Friday art market with music and friends happening that night, and a 5k run the next day, both of which I was welcome to join. Technically I didn’t have to be home by any set date…

Another fun day later she said that should I decide to stay another night… a few friends were headed out to Falls Lake for a short camping trip. Still didn’t have any need to be home so soon… FullSizeRender (22)

So my Raleigh trip dragged on a bit but it was great. I eventually packed up the car and headed out Sunday evening, I did have an interview Monday to make it to. But my golly Raleigh, you were something else. Getting to see your creative side, your mountains and lakes, your cool people, I was impressed. FullSizeRender (21)

This entire trip was more impressive than I had anticipated. I expected to see a few sights and get in some good podcasts and high five the friends I passed, but I did not expect the level of love I found. Alabama was kind to me the whole way through, from the beaches to the campground I didn’t stay at to the waterfalls upstate. New Orleans was a big city with rich culture and something to say- and I was able to meet a few people to share those stories. Tennessee brought the mountains. Chattanooga was more beautiful than I expected and the drive into North Carolina was peaceful even with the clouds. The Carolinas brought music back in to my life, both literally and figuratively. And Virginia brought me home.

Lots of love to the states and the people that made this trip possible. The old job for laying me off and giving me this time to play around, the huge support system in Florida that kept me afloat, and everyone along the way that opened their arms. I’m in Virginia Beach for now, for the first time in seven years. Summer’s coming and I am feeling great. Thanks to the universe for helping line up all these moving pieces in such an ideal way, if only for a moment.

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Sunshine Shannon


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