Current Location: Wilmington, NC

Some of you might have noticed that I incorrectly labeled yesterday as “June 26th.”  In fact, it was June 25th, but it seems as though I put an accurate description on the future.  I thought that Wilmington was great yesterday, and on the real June 26th, my positive opinion remains intact.  I love North Carolina.

In my mind, North Carolina is the ultimate renaissance state. It has mountains, cities, camping, hiking, fishing, snowboarding, surfing, beaches, tobacco farmers, bankers, historical landmarks… just like “Pedro’s South of the Border,” North Carolina has it all.  I think that you could spend months touring the Tarheel State and leave with a number of strikingly dissimilar experiences, each one as fulfilling as the last.

As much as I love North Carolina though, I sometimes feel like it hates me.  On one road trip many years ago, Melanie and I inadvertently spent hours circling something called Grandfather Mountain, receiving directions from locals that included steps such as “look for the building with the red, white, and blue rooster out front,” or “make a u-turn one mile before you hit the bridge.”  To add insult to injury, North Carolina is also the only state (… aside from California) in which I have ever received a traffic citation, an incident that still evokes feelings of bitterness.  Another time, I asked a gas station attendant if I was close to Sugar Mountain, and he happily informed me that Sugar Mountain is in North Carolina, but I was not.

So North Carolina and I have been through it all, the good times and the bad, but I’m happy to report that without question, today fell on the side of good.  My cousin, Nikolai, lives in Wilmington, but in a hilarious Gift of the Magi twist, he’s in Massachusetts this weekend, where I’ll be arriving in five days.  Almost as good though (sorry Nik!), his awesome girlfriend, Lara, and her family have been nice enough to show me around town, and I have experienced yet another perfect summer day.  Basically, I never want to work again.

Every now and then I think to myself, gee, wouldn’t it be great to be eight-years-old again?  And today, I was.  Of course, I was the kind of eight-year-old that gets to have tequila with her pizza at dinner and see R-rated movies, so I was the best kind of eight-year-old there is.

After seeing Bridesmaids last night for the third time (personal record tied with Titanic), we woke up this morning and had a leisurely brunch at a local place in town.  Then the real fun began.  Lara’s mom’s dog was with us, and we took her to a boat dock to swim…. but Roxy didn’t want to swim.  She leapt through the water to chase sticks but refused to go any deeper than where she could touch the bottom.  Basically, Roxy is the smartest two-year-old I’ve ever met.  Then, as I mentioned yesterday, I was curious to see Dawson Leery’s house from the show, Dawson’s Creek.  As it turns out though, the current owners don’t actually want strangers traipsing through their yard to gawk at the property, so the house is purposely very difficult to see.  I decided to leave well enough alone and managed to overcome my feelings of despair by sitting by the pool, getting pizza, and eating ice cream.

Essentially, today reminded me of the story that my father once told me of the Mexican fisherman.  One day, the Mexican fisherman was sitting in a cantina when an American tourist approached him.  The tourist said to him, “why are you here so early? You could stay out later and catch many more fish.”  The Mexican responded, “I sell enough fish to meet my family’s needs as it is.”  The tourist didn’t like this response and questioned the fisherman about what he did with the rest of his time.  The Mexican explained, “I play with my children, spend time with my wife, play guitar with my friends, and drink margaritas at night.”

The tourist was outraged.  “You should spend more time fishing and with those proceeds you can buy a bigger boat.  Then, with the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats, and eventually you’d have a whole fleet of fishing boats.  Then, you could sell fish to the consumers directly and expand your enterprise to Miami, New York, and LA.”  The Mexican wasn’t impressed.  “But how long would that take?” he questioned.  “Ten years.  Fifteen tops.  Then you can sell stock in your company and make millions!”

The Mexican pondered this statement.  “But then what would I do, Senor?”  “That’s the best part!” the American answered, “then you could play with your children, spend time with your wife, play guitar with your friends, and drink margaritas every night!”

And that’s how I feel about today in North Carolina.  What could be better than sitting by the pool, eating pizza, making ice cream cones, and watching Full House dvds?  (I told you it was an eight-year-old kind of day).  As far as I can tell, this is my life at the top.  How could things possibly go any higher from here?

Of course, I’m still making an attempt to answer that question, and tomorrow, my journey will take me to Foamhenge which might take this expedition to a whole new level.  One can only hope.  After that, I have a couple more things planned for Virginia, a place that I haven’t spent much time before, so I’m excited for the experience.  Thank you again for following along with my travels!  I’m looking forward to a great final week!