I've friends who've been to the Isle of Iona in Scotland, others who've told me about blackwater rafting (ask about it) in New Zealand, I've a coworker who is just returning from a vacation in Iceland! I hear and treasure their stories and feel a yearning to travel abroad a bit myself.
But then, I have weeks like these last few where I've had the good fortune to travel about my region and realize there's so much I've yet to see right here.
I've travelled through Kentucky and Tennessee a good deal lately. I went down through Booger Hollow and crossed Stinky Creek and camped for free at Pine Mountain. I drove the winding dirtrock road up to Jerusalem Ridge – where Bill Monroe, the Father of Bluegrass music, grew up. I walked out on his Ridge and looked down in to the valley below and could hear the high lonesome sound of nature that Brother Bill put to music.
I've crossed the imaginary line that divides the Bluegrass State from the Volunteer State and reveled in it all. While on vacation, we drove from Kentucky's Pine Mountain to Tennessee's Smokey Mountains and it was all so Good.
I've seen a five foot long snake quietly slide away from me to safety, spooked a skunk and breathed to tell about it, watched in awe as a deer soared over a fence and soared in spirit myself as I watched the circular flightdance of countless hawks. I've skipped rocks with my son and daughter in a tributary to the Pigeon River and slept on the ground perhaps not too far from where John Muir slept as he made his sojourn from Louisville to Florida.
And it was all so Good.
So, while I experience the yearning for travels to a distant land at times, I still have so much to see and learn and experience right here. Perhaps one day I'll be able to heed Muir's advice:
Wander a whole summer if you can. Thousands of God's blessings will search you and soak you as if you were a sponge, and the big days will go by uncounted. If you are business-tangled and so burdened by duty that only weeks can be got out of the heavy laden year, give a month at least. The time will not be taken from the sum of life. Instead of shortening, it will indefinitely lengthen it and make you truly immortal.