I have begun to group potential travel destinations into 6 categories: water (beach, lake), mountains, big cities, international, specific purpose (wedding, conference), and completely random. To keep it fresh, I try to rotate them, but man, it had been a minute since I had really been to the mountains. So, luckily, that was this weekend’s destination for our annual fall family shenanigans.
I have a bit of a strange relationship with the mountains. I spent four years there in undergraduate just north of Asheville, NC, by my own admission completely ignoring their beauty. I was on crutches for two of those years and completely focused on playing soccer for the other two. So I am attempting to fall in love again (or maybe for the first time).
Over the past few years, nature, as my son would say, has become one of my best friends. As I wrote last week, I am completely dialed into how it affects my five senses. Let me give you a peek into what I mean.
Behind our rental house in the woods, the small river was roaring. I wanted to smell a smokiness that would remind me of Football Friday Night in the Carolinas, but it never appeared. The weather dropped well into the 40s, jolting my skin alive and allowing me to see my breath for the first time this year. I saw many beautiful critters, leaves that had not yet changed, and stunning views from Boone Golf Club.
I also ventured through Appalachian State’s campus, taking me back to middle school when I spent the entire summer there. I tasted tangy BBQ, bacon in my beans, cheddar in my grits, and cinnamon and plum in my cider. The body was alive.
One of my favorite conversation starters is to ask people where they would ideally spend each of the four seasons. I think many people call this their happy place? Well, news flash, mine is not Boone, NC, but I did very much enjoy myself this weekend. I can’t say that I have one specific happy geographical location, to be honest. Maybe I’m still searching. But I do have a happy place. It used to be on the soccer field, but that era is slowly coming to an end. It’s now firmly on the golf course (and/or deep in a plate of BBQ).
I honestly enjoy putting on a crisp golf outfit that is neither corny, stodgy, nor sloppy. I enjoy arriving early and getting a good stretch in. I enjoy the sights and the sounds and the smells of nature, still preferring to find the amazing in new courses, but appreciating more the familiarity of ones I’ve played many a time. I enjoy the obstacles on every shot. I enjoy that 2 weekends ago it was 100 degrees in Las Vegas when I teed off, and 14 days later in NC it was 48. I enjoy visualizing and feeling not just where I want the ball to go but how it is going to get there. To have something that can be so frustrating at times beg for me to try to do better tomorrow? That is my happy place.
I am quite obsessed with the question I posed above. Ideally, where would I spend spring, summer, fall, and winter? I’m often at odds with myself, because I think I would enjoy finding those actual happy places, but I still swear by the new and undiscovered.
If you have the luxury of having a happy place, let me encourage you on one thing. Happy place and comfort zone seem to sometimes be synonymous, so I want to delineate. Happy places are simply that, but offer you the ideal environment to laugh, recharge, create, and grow. Comfort zones? It’s just where the flowers go to die.
Enjoy your happy place. Embrace your happy place. Utilize it to grow and thrive and prosper. If you ever encounter me in mine, we are going to enjoy each other’s company. But we are also going to dive deep, grow, and really try to figure this out. And then, of course, we are going for a big plate of BBQ to wash it all down.
Have a great week.-Benj
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