Atlanta, GA: April 5th – April 10th
After spending a whole week in Fort Lauderdale constantly in the presence of 15 other people, I suffered from the culture shock of only having Tanaja and Conner around as well as a mild case of post-spring-break depression. But, as I’ve learned many times in the past year, you always have to keep moving forward, and I did so quite literally by once again packing up Ro-Shell and taking off for Atlanta, GA.
Most of my time in Atlanta was spent getting my life back in order after a chaotic Spring Break. I emptied the sand out of my bags, did heaps of laundry, reconnected with the people I’d been neglecting and got myself to a gym stat after 9 days of 0 workouts and way too much junk food and beer. In between all of that I also got in some much-needed relaxation time by watching several movies and sleeping A LOT.
Despite the need to take some time for practical things, I definitely didn’t want to miss out on my opportunity to explore Atlanta. I spent a whole evening driving around Atlanta (having a chase car is a beautiful thing) and making stops at major sights like Centennial Olympic Park, the botanical garden, Buckhead and Ponce City Market. At Ponce City Market I finally found a long-awaited place called Batter that serves scoops of cookie dough like ice cream – it definitely lived up to the hype. I also spent a night after work at Kennesaw Mountain, which is an awesome hike with great views of the Atlanta skyline as well as cool memorials as it is a preserved Civil War Battlefield.
We also got to hang out with some cool people in Atlanta. Elise’s sister Madi – who is basically like my younger sister now too – lives in nearby Auburn and met up with us for dinner at Atlanta’s famous Juke Joint restaurant. I tried chicken and waffles for the second time on the road and liked them much better this time, and it was also really nice to catch up with Mads. We also worked at Walmart one day with a touring MLB event that allowed us to play the MLB: The Show video game as well as be drawn by a caricature artist. We spent a long time talking to their crew about life on the road and mutual places we’d all been, and I thought it was really cool how we were able to form such an instant connection because of our similar experiences.
Knoxville, TN: April 10th – April 15th
After a quick five days in Atlanta, we headed to Knoxville for what was to be another short five-day stay. We were staying at a Candlewood Suites, which are always risky because they can range from totally sketchy to some of the nicest hotels. This one may not have qualified as ‘totally sketchy,’ but it was pretty dumpy and, if you’re easily scared like me, the type of establishment where you have to sleep with the lights on. It didn’t help when we went to see the new thriller, A Quiet Place, which was a great movie but definitely made me feel extremely anxious the entire time.
To escape our creepy hotel, Conner and I took a day-trip to the Great Smoky Mountains where we did the Alum Cave Trail that took us up mountains, over bridges and creeks, and through caves and bluffs. While on the trail we met a nice older guy who told us all about the rare birds we could see on the hike as well as about the “eye of the needle” which was a perfect hole at the tip of one of the mountains in the distance. This guy was not only really knowledgeable and friendly, but he also was seamlessly climbing the mountain while Conner and I were sweating profusely and struggling to keep up. I hope I can be that fit and cool when I’m in my 70’s.
When we weren’t hiking or being sketched out by our hotel, we explored the downtown area, which had some college-town vibes since Knoxville is home to the University of Tennessee. We ate at a great Tapas restaurant one night where Tanaja claims she had the best burger of her life, and we also saw some live country music at an outdoor bar. All in all, Knoxville was a really cute city.
Spring Break was the last big milestone of my year, and though I’ve been aware of its rapid approach, during my weeks in Atlanta and Knoxville it really started to sink in that the end was near. A lot of people I work with were already seriously looking for new jobs, including both of my partners, and I felt like I had to make the choice to either coast through the rest of this job and start focusing on the future or to fully enjoy the time I have left and worry about what comes next later. Don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely thinking about the future, but I also want to make the most of the time I have – or at least that’s my excuse for being lazy and unmotivated about the job hunt. So it looks as though I’ll be unemployed for a while post-peanut; please hit me up if you have an open couch for me to live on!
Stay tuned, there’s fortuNUTly still more!