On traveling

Virginia is for lovers

Virginia is such an oasis, perfect for the indecisive humans that want a little bit of everything (cough, cough, ME!); from the roaring ocean to the glorious mountains, even the beautiful nothing-lands that are our untamed countrysides– how could you ever be bored?

You could spend today with your toes in the sand and that salty air flowing through your hair just to wake up tomorrow and strap on hiking boots and head over to the Appalachian Trail for some outstanding treks and breathtaking watering holes. Virginia is in the heart of it all. Hell, 50% of the U.S. population is within a day’s drive. We’ve got everything- even all four seasons! (Our Fall and Spring are unbeatable!)

I forget from time to time just how lucky I am to live here. How beautiful the scenery is and how much loveliness there can be within such a small piece of this country. Every now and then, like most humans, I need a little reminder. If I become stagnant for too long, I start to grow gloomy and moody and all of the other crap traits that probably stink to be around. Lucky for me, I can hop into Big Red and drive any direction from my home to a place that brings me back together. As for this past week, that place was nestled into the hills of Covington, Virginia. Falling Spring Falls! Redundant name, but the most surreal views.

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I texted my friend Chelsie the night before our previously-planned pool day and said, “If this idea is crazy, let me know: I’m feeling an urge to be spontaneous and kind of wanna get up early and drive to Falling Spring Falls..” and before I could even tell her how far away it was or even WHERE it was, she replies, “I’m down!!!!” And this, ladies and gents, is why we’re best friends. There just isn’t anything comparable.

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We hit the road with sleepy eyes and messy hair that next morning before the sun was out. We stopped for road snacks and bottled water and after situating the GPS and Pandora, we were off! The ride felt short and was filled with great conversation (the usual) and lots of “oohs” and “ahhs” to fill in the gaps.

We pulled off the interstate to a tiny nowhere town. We parked beneath luscious trees, right outside the roaring falls. Fog rolled heavy over everything. We got undressed on the side of that road, hoping that this seemingly deserted area wouldn’t surprise us at the worst moment. After throwing on bathing suits, I grabbed my camera and we set out for a better glimpse. There was an overlook next to the parking lot that offered a beautiful profile shot of the waterfall, but the surrounding area was fenced in and labeled “no trespassing” and “no access beyond this point” along every inch. In our traditional partner-in-crime manner, we obviously couldn’t follow the rules. We jumped over the small fence and followed the sounds of the cascading water. Just seconds after, we stepped out from the woods and overlooked the mountainside surrounding us. We were at the very top of the falls and the entire universe felt like a dream. There were wading pools and running rivers all before that major drop. We frolicked in that cold water like giddy children before we decided to descend to the bottom. The trail was short and moderately easy considering it was untamed and rocky. Our only issues were the choice of shoes we brought. Flip flops surely make wet rocks even more slippery than usual, but within minutes, we made it to the bottom. We stood beneath the massive falls in awe as the cliff above stretched its arms wide around us. The moss along the side was a glorious hue of green velvet. It caught my breath. It was too unreal to be right there in front of my eyes. Everything was so perfect and unassuming.

There was nobody there charging an entry fee to gaze up at this masterpiece before us, no lines we had to wait in to see it, no other visitors stuck in this daze alongside us. Just us two on the wet grass with our necks craned for so long that they still hurt, today.

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Packing up and heading home after a day so marvelous isn’t an easy thing to do. We both proclaimed too many times how badly we wished this nirvana could be tucked away and brought back with us. Truth is, neither one of us were ready for this diamond day to end. We made a few little detours on the way home because it’s difficult to drive past an abandoned hotel or Downtown Charlottesville, period. (WE ATE CACTUS TACOS. THIS IS A HUGE DEAL.) “No ragrets.”

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The beauty. Not just in what I saw that day, but what I felt, too. The way the sun pierced through that cold, misty wind. My willingness to not just believe in the immensity of this world, but to feel it in my bones.

I wish that I could be so present all the time, but the truth is that I’m only human; constantly breaking through the surface of water after time spent submerged beneath. I fall in and come out and will continue to do so until the day that I cease to exist. Exactly the same way that everyone else does. For now, I  savor the air and the light and I remember how wonderful it is to be alive. These sights. These friends. These moments.

Virginia is for lovers, indeed.

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Adding in some feels because I’ve been neglecting that (and this entire site in general) lately:

 

XOXO,

Nando!

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