How The South Charmed Its Way Back Into My Heart

Why, hello there! It's been a week and a half - that's almost forever in my blogging world!

I took myself a little vacation down to The South, though. And when you go on vacation, you should ACTUALLY go on vacation, you know?

This is where I was:

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I also spent some time in Tennessee and Alabama. I did some super awesome hiking in Bama.

When I left for Chicago O'Hare airport that Wednesday, it was storming something awful. I was on my way to the airport at 6:15 am and feeling good. I couldn't wait to get on that plane and really start my vacation.

After checking one bag, I made my way through the strangely futuristic feeling TSA checkpoint (plus, the people were practically expressionless at O'Hare) and found a spot in my terminal and plopped down. About 30 minutes before take-off, I get a phone call from the airline telling me that my flight was cancelled and I was scheduled for one on the following day. I think the color drained from my face. I was ready to go! What do you mean I have to wait another day? Ugh.

So, after stewing for about three minutes, I got up and went to the desk. I asked if there were any other flights going to Tennessee because my Chattanooga flight got cancelled. Luckily, there was one going into Nashville and leaving in thirty minutes. I said, "Great, I'll take it!." I inquired about my luggage and the woman working assured me that my luggage would follow me. Fabulous, right?

So, after an hour of sitting on the runway and staring at this:

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The flight finally took off, so I could stop feeling like this:

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After a quick hour and 20 minute flight, I was walking through the Nashville airport, passing live country music to one side of me and sparkly cowboy boots for sale on the other. Ah, to be back in The South! I find the culture to be kinda whimsical, fun, down-to-earth, and generally relaxed. Perfect for a vacation.

I met my old friend of mine at the baggage claim, gave her a big hug and we headed over to the area where you pick up your checked bags. It's a good thing we had a lot to catch up on because we stood there foreeeever. Turns out my baggage had been left in Chicago. Womp, womp. At least my carry-on had my clothing, though. We had planned to go shopping when I got there anyways, so a trip to Target was no prob.

After purchasing some 100% cotton sheets and pillowcases, contact solution, soap, toothpaste and a toothbrush, I was all good to go. Luckily my luggage was FedExed to me the next day. So, it didn't end up being that big of an issue.

The next day, I went and saw one of the Civil War battlefields! It was a wonderful 85 degrees. When you drive up to this battlefield, the first thing you see is this:

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Cool, right? It's a battle tower - they would stick their guns out of the thin windows. This is Chickamauga Battlefield in Chickamauga, Georgia. It's the second bloodiest civil war battlefield. The Confederates won this particular battle.

And this is what the view looks like from the top:

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The battlefield stretches as far as your eyes can see. Crazy, right? Just thinking about what happened on that grass is so humbling.

There were also some civil war reenactors!

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That gun was LOUD!

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Then we headed over to Lookout Mountain which looms above Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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This is where The North won the war. Can you imagine fighting on the side of this mountain? Check out the view!

It's gorgeous up there. I would loooooove to retire to a house with that view! Just amazing. The next day, I went hiking with a good friend of mine in Guntersville, Alabama. We ended up driving through the same area I used to live in and it flooded me with memories. I lived there during SUCH a pivotal point in my life. It's a very special place to me :-)

We began early and I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed:hiking

Here's where we started off:

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It was an absolutely beautiful day. Hardly any humidity at all and 85 degrees! No complaints there.

We also came across this random graveyard in the middle of nowhere: graveyard

Creepy, right?

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SO COOL. I love stuff like that. There was definitely no sign for the cemetery. It just popped out of nowhere.

After an awesome, long hike through the woods, we headed over to Desoto Falls. I never knew there were waterfalls in Alabama before I moved there and as soon as I saw them 12 years ago, I fell in love:

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Isn't it gorgeous? I could just sit there for hours... And it's free! And anybody can go!

That part of the country can really seduce you with its Southern charm, I tell you what! I'm definitely looking forward to going back. It's strange how some places can really feel like home.

I think vacations are truly necessary to help reduce stress and hit the "re-set" button. It's SO incredibly beneficial for our health - physically and mentally. Getting out of your normal routine and comfort zone is important! And I look forward to doing it more often now that I seem to truly have a handle on my allergies :-) And I can also report that after this trip, my skin is pretty much 100% clear of eczema!

*Cheers to that!