Walking along the famous Appalachian Trail this weekend
got me thinking once again about a favorite subject – travel. Sometimes travel
gets complicated (customs, visas, missed connections, currency exchange,
language barriers). Other travel experiences are as simple as putting one foot
in front of the other. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy exotic places and learning
local culture and and don't mind working to get there. But this weekend was all
about the simple pleasures.

At its most basic level, travel only requires two things:

• being in motion

• a desire for new experiences

I spent the weekend on a particularly scenic stretch of
the Appalachian Trail near Mount Rogers in the Blue Ridge Mountains of
Virginia. Over two days our journey covered approximately 15 miles – pretty
miniscule compared to world travelers – but there were a multitude of wonderful
experiences in that short span of time.

Every bend in the trail offered up another view of the
mountains. Chatting with other hikers and National Park Service Rangers is always
illuminating. Standing atop the summit of Virginia's highest mountain supplied a
nice feeling of satisfaction. Going the distance in the rain with a 40+ pound
backpack provided a little physical and mental challenge to work through while
trying to keep spirits up. Yes, travel includes a few sour notes every once in
a while. It's part of the overall experience, especially with outdoor travel.

Not everyone who reads this blog will be inclined to
hoist on a backpack and hit the trail. You can, however, experience the simple
joys of travel without much effort or money or flying across a continent.
Explore a hidden corner of your own community or a neighboring one. You never
know what you'll find.


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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