Approximately 13 months ago, I moved into my aunt’s home in Santa Barbara. I spent 7 months working at a coffee shop; biking around town; reading and walking on the beach; seeing more of California and the western states; and recovering from the sleep loss of my senior year of high school.
In March, I stayed for a week with my closest friends in a hostel in Chicago. I took an Amtrak train for twelve hours to Mississippi and saw both sets of my grandparents. I traveled to Kenya for two weeks to say goodbye to my once-upon-a-time home and to friends.
At the beginning of April, I settled on an organic dairy farm in the Netherlands. I spent a lovely two months there, and then two too-short weeks on a sweet biodynamic produce farm. I spent those long spring days learning how to muck cow stalls; teach a calf to drink from a bucket; make cheese; say 10 ice cream flavors in Dutch; plant lettuce sprouts; clean onions; eat tayberries; and pick red currants. I met so many kind people and fell in love with the flat, green land of Holland.
Returning to the present: I am back in the US, with my parents and brother in our new condo in our old home, Nashville, Tennessee. It’s such a joy to be in a familiar town with long-time friends.
In a few days, I will start university at a small school outside of Asheville, North Carolina. I will settle into the deep, blue mountains and continue to thank the Universe for my whirlwind of a gap year.
As much as I’d love to, I couldn’t possibly tell you everything. Instead, I’ve compiled a list of all the places I’ve spent at least one night in the past thirteen months and linked is a poem I wrote there. I think it says enough.
It was a journey, folks. Thank you for following along, and thank you for reading.
2. Pocatello, Idaho (1 night)
4. Victor, Idaho (2 nights)
5. Salt Lake City, Utah (1 night)
6. St. George, Utah (2 nights)
8. San Francisco, California (4 nights)
11. San Diego, California (4 nights)
13. Starkville, Mississippi (5 nights)
14. Birmingham, Alabama (1 night)
15. Atlanta, Georgia (1 night)
19. The Hague, Netherlands (7 nights)
21. Amsterdam, Netherlands (1 night)
24. New Castle, Virginia (1 night)
25. Albany, New York (1 night)
26. Indian Lake, New York (7 nights)
28. Nashville, Tennessee (1 month)