Abbey here.

I just don’t want to regret things. I look at my life and I measure its value based off what “future me” will deem acceptable. I’ve heard so many stories and listened to so much advice and I know time goes by quickly. One day I’ll wish I were younger. I’m not old enough yet to wish I were younger now, but that day will come, much sooner then I’m prepared for it to come. Five years from now, seven years, ten, fifteen. Soon I’ll long for the good old days when I was younger and freer and didn’t have quite as many bills…right?

I don’t want to do that.

I don’t want to be that person.

I want to be 30 and excited about being closer to 40, 40 and be excited to be halfway to 80. I want to understand every day that today is my good old day. Today is the best day yet. Years ago were fun and good, or maybe long and terrible, but leave them where they are because today will be wasted if you don’t. Stop finding things to complain about and reasons to be discontent because then you’ll look back on life with regret.

I don’t want to regret, do you?

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Right now, I’m only just old enough to start seeing the difference between a good life and a bad life. I don’t wish for youth. I never want to be younger than I am now, but I also don’t want to be older. I know youth is wasted on the young and wisdom on the old, so I just want myself to mature quicker than I age. I see older people and love that they’ve gained so much but hate that I’ll have to live that long to get to where they are. I wish for their knowledge, experience, and perspective now without years slipping into the past in order to build my ladder to understanding. If I could have the knowledge of a 100-year-old woman in my 21-year-old body, then I wouldn’t worry about regret, would I?

Or maybe I would.

What does she have that I don’t?

A past. A bad back. Perhaps cancer? I don’t want those things. I’m picky. I want to pluck the good out of the bad and live on like that, but even after I make my selections, I’ll need to maintain them. Good doesn’t last in our bad world. Life takes effort. Good attitudes, healthy perspectives, and a willingness to be content with the experiences you have, are, and will experience later is a constant decision. The only automatic in our world is an inclination toward the wrong.

I don’t want to regret things.

So I won’t.

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The psychological definition of regret is, “a negative cognitive/emotional state that involves blaming ourselves for a bad outcome, feeling a sense of loss or sorrow at what might have been, or wishing we could undo a previous choice that we made” (2018).

While it’s certainly a necessary emotion for correction in the case of wrongdoing, to make adjustments for future decisions, and in order to be relatively human, living in a constant state of regret for what has already passed is a waste of your future. What you do now is an investment in what you are capable of doing later. Therefore, an hour spent with envy, worry, bitterness, or wishing that thing from the past hadn’t happened exactly how it happened won’t lead you to your desired outcome.

No matter who you are, where you are, or how you came to be the person you are, there’s something you can find to regret. There’s no grass greener then your own, so why do we keep searching for it, especially when–even if we happen to find it–it won’t be as green once it’s in our hands?

20171114_153104I still don’t want to regret things. I still often look at my life and I measure its value. I still know that time goes by quickly.  Five years will pass, seven years, ten, fifteen. But I’ve found that in your struggle to get ahead, you may discover yourself pushed far behind, so stop struggling. Do your best. Don’t worry.

Your future will be no more perfect then your past, but it will be yours. It can be good. Make the best of it and don’t be fooled into thinking there’s greener grass.

 

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Appalachian Trail, Catawba, VA 24070

Distance:                                                                           5-mile round trip (2.4 miles to summit)

Elevation:                                               3050 feet (approximately 1250 elevation change hike)

Difficulty:                                                                                                                       Medium/Hard

View:                                                                                                                360 degree panoramic

Worth it:                                                                                                                             Yes (4 stars)

20180225_145719.jpgAbbey again.

This is possibly one of the most well-marked trails I’ve ever hiked. There are so many markers, signs, and clarified pathways that it just makes me wonder: how many people had to get lost once upon a time for them to feel the need to be so thorough? Not a complaint, just a curious question.

The trail begins at a hard-to-miss parking lot and you’re warned at the very genesis of the trail that there will be some actual hiking/rock climbing involved in order to reach the Dragon’s Tooth. The first mile and a half aren’t all that difficult, however. The path twines around a stream and leads you up some relatively steep inclines (slippery when wet), but it doesn’t really get that difficult until the last 0.7 miles.

We went after it had just rained all night and the path was soggy, but the trail was reasonably isolated. It’s obviously a populated area, however (clear pathways and continual signs to encourage you in the right direction) and I wonder how busy it gets during nicer weather. Parts of the Dragon’s Tooth Trail do coincide with the Appalachian, so if you ever happen to hike that monster, you’re sure to cross by this fascinating overlook.

I’m labeling this hike as “Medium/Hard” because there are many difficult sections–not necessarily ones that challenge physical strength (though our legs were tired out by a lot of steep inclines), but rather maneuverability. There are several points where you have to be comfortable climbing rocks, scaling high steps, and treading uneven and precarious ground. If you’re a beginner hiker, be prepared to take your time (and wear some hiking boots or shoes with good treads) and don’t rush it. If you’re an expert hiker, or even if you’ve been  accustomed to some rock-climbing, it won’t be too difficult at all. Just don’t go in expecting smooth paths. Prepare to climb some rock.

I did see several people bringing their pets along with them, but I wouldn’t recommend letting just any furry friend tag along. Make sure your pup is prepped for some serious sections requiring balance and climbing before bringing them here.

Once you reach the top of the hill and you see the sign for Dragon’s Tooth 0.2 miles away, follow the arrow and the blue markers. It’s going to lead you to the right and downward again, but soon you’ll come upon what you’ve been working for.

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The summit is sandy and fairly clear, providing plenty of places for a picnic, camping, or just hanging out with friends. You get a nice view of the mountains from there on the ground, so while you don’t have to climb on the Dragon’s Tooth in order to get a pretty view, you of course can (at your own risk).

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You get a 360 degree, panoramic view from the tip of the bigger tooth (but not from the ground), and while the wind picks up and it is a little intimidating, there are plenty of secure places to sit and relax. We ate our lunch up there, had some great conversation, and kept turning back and forth to view the valleys and mountains on either side of us. Dragon’s Tooth is on the ridge of its mountain, so any way you look is down. It’s not for the fearer of heights, obviously, but if you’re up for some rock climbing and want a beautiful view, scale the top of those teeth.

The smaller tooth (to the left) is a bit more difficult to climb, but there’s a small “eye” in the rocks that Noah and I found a seat in. It’s hard to get to (you literally have to climb the tooth, walk along some pointy rocks, and squeeze through a crevice in the rock to get there), but it was nice and secluded. And it’s just fun to squeeze through small spaces for new viewpoints.

All in all, I like Dragon’s Tooth for how different it is. It’s not quite as exotic as McAfee’s Knob (which is a 5 minute drive from the Dragon’s Tooth parking lot) or as high as Sharp Top (which you can see from a perch on the teeth), but the hike up is so unique and the teeth at the top are quite impressive. It makes you look at nature and wonder.

It’s a must-see because it looks like it should be in a medieval movie.

And also it’s a fun time.

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Guest Post: Abnormal

Today we’re featuring our very first guest post! Abby Arend, a 23-year-old Midwesterner, writes about all things travel, adventure, and a healthy lifestyle over on her blog, Abnormal. You can follow her on Instagram @arendabby to see more of her travel adventures photos, but for now, check out what she has to say about the pros and cons of travel!

 

FOR THE BLOG 2

Like all aspects of life, there are pros and cons to everything, and there is no exception when it comes to travel. With that being said, there is much more of an emphasis on the pros of traveling rather than the cons. Although we lack conversation about the negative aspects of the things we love, often times it is beneficial to discuss in order to enjoy it to its full potential. Here, I break down my personal pros and cons of travel.

CONS:

  • Culture Shock/Reverse Culture Shock may result from travel and can prove to be quite heavy to cope with. Travel has the power to change your perspective on life, and some people may not understand that. In fact, even you may not understand it. Cultural differences such as language barriers, values, traditions and customs in unfamiliar countries are an adjustment for all individuals. Snapping back into your typical culture and routine will result in an adjustment as well. As much as travel has the ability to open one’s mind, the previous familiar may now be unfamiliar, which can lead to confusion and result in possible emotional and psychological distress. Engaging in conversations with other people about how you feel, as well as educating yourself about the area you are traveling may help.
  • Homesickness, Missing out on Events and Becoming Disconnected with Friends and Family is a common backlash from travel. Technology has become a vehicle to interact with companions at home, but it also depicts what you miss out on via social media. This may lead you to feel lonesome or depressed. As Christopher McCandless explained, “happiness is only real when shared.” These feelings may arise if you are traveling over an extended period of time, a short amount of time or they may even come and go. This may be something you will have to accept if you travel often, but remember to always keep in touch with loved ones.
  • Time-Management, Convenience, and Planning your travels is a worrisome and stressful task for many individuals. Often times people don’t even travel because of this. However, there are many resources to help you navigate through this task and plan your trip accordingly. If you plan ahead and give yourself options on what to do and when to do it, you will make more use of your time and your trip will be less stressful and more enjoyable. This will also help you save money because you can budget beforehand.

PROS:

  • MBWA – that’s right, you receive your degree in Masters By Wandering Around. You may even receive a PHD in it! The amount of learning; from learning about others, yourself, languages, history, math, geography, holy crap just everything, is remarkable. If you read my blog post Studying Abroad: 4 Biggest Mistakes you will learn more why.
  • You don’t need to be rich to travel. In fact, from my experiences, it is almost more rewarding to travel with less money. This allows you to respect the experience. Yes, I probably would never turn down a few spare bucks to book a flight, but you will appreciate the hard work you put toward achieving what you love. This is something you will truly treasure. Travel teaches you techniques on how to stretch a dollar and choosing activities which truly mean something to you. When you travel with less money, you have to be more mindful of what you spend your money on. Therefore, this thought process helps you decipher your likes from dislikes, which ultimately cracks open your mind to determine what you value most. This is a precious component of life which you may learn from travel.
  • Meeting new people from around the world is a positive aspect of travel. Yes, you will miss your close friends and family, but you will gain relationships as well. These relationships will allow you to feel more welcome and valued in the place you travel. Additionally, they are also great connections for future endeavors. Put yourself out there and see just how great of an impact these new friends will have on your life.

Get the most out of your travels by evaluating your personal pros and cons. By doing this, you will have more realistic expectations about the outcomes of your travels. In addition, you will also be more prepared, more relaxed and therefore, less stressed. Enjoy it!FOR THE BLOG 3

 

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Once upon a time, Moriah and I took a trip to Charlotte, North Carolina. Moriah wrote about it last week. We were bored and I had a weekend free, so I told her to get out of her work and take a trip with me (she did it, of course).

Charlotte was one of the many kinda-cool cities within a 4-hour drive (I didn’t feel like driving much more than that for just a couple days), so that’s how we chose it as our ultimate destination. Since we had two days and the drive was relatively short, I searched up a couple other things we could possibly do during the trip since Charlotte didn’t seem large enough to require the entire time.

One of the things I looked up as an option was Pilot Mountain, which I wrote about already and ended up being one of my favorite views because of the massive distance you can see.

The other thing I found was Mount Airy–or, Mayberry, if you want.

If you’ve never seen the Andy Griffith Show, then you’ll probably not care at all to go to this small little nothing town. The only reason I’ve seen the show is that this was the TV I watched when I was a kid–not that I’m that old (though maybe I am, you don’t know), but disks and DVDs were the go-to for entertainment when you don’t have cable.

It’s not my favorite show, or even my favorite black and white, old TV show, but it is fairly nostalgic, I suppose. Lots of memories involved.

I always enjoyed the show, and so I enjoyed Mayberry–er, Mount Airy. It was a rainy old day, so not the nicest to explore, but we did find a sock shop, take some cool pictures, and talk to a couple of the natives who were probably die-hard Andy Griffith fans (maybe not, but if you live there, you may as well be).

I’m not sure what all to tell you, other than that you have to pay to get a tour of the jail and it was closed when we went, there’s a post office that has an abandoned upper-floor and we explored it, and the pancakes aren’t really good at all but it is cool to eat where Andy Griffith did.

Definitely a cool little down, but once-going is enough-going.

Off to our next adventure!

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Noah and I went to see the total eclipse in South Carolina on August 21st of 2017. It happened at about 2:45 in the afternoon and lasted for two minutes. We got up at an insanely early time in order to drive down to South Carolina in time to find an acceptable place to view the eclipse. We ended up arriving early (which is never a bad thing) and driving through tons of traffic, roaming through festivals and crowds, before finally settling on The Greenville Zoo as our viewing place.

The entire city seemed to have taken the day off work for the occasion.

I don’t have any epic pictures of the eclipse itself because all that could be photographed was a light splash in the middle of a slightly shadowy sky. The weirdest thing about it was that, without glasses, the sun looked no different. It just kept getting dimmer and dimmer and dimmer.

Until it was nighttime.

Pictures simply do not do the event any justice. It was dark. The only light came from a small circle around the moon and also the zoo lanterns. Some of the animals were remarkably docile during the entire time while others (mainly lemurs) continued with random outbursts of wild screams throughout both the light and dark.

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Shadows from trees usually look like tree and leaf shapes, but that day they took crescent shapes nearest to the eclipse. Even our bodies’ shadows were obscure.

After the eclipse, we left the zoo and drove to Falls Park on the Reedy River. We explored the town, went for long walks, crossed bridges, walked in the water, nearly pet ducks, watched a comedy club (definitely worth your time–the one we found was free), picked up a free plant (I still have that plant; it survives even though I’m terrible at watering it–what a trooper), and had an ultimately wonderful time.

The drive back was long and exhausting, but we made a great memory and I really wouldn’t change a thing about it.

Travel tips, anyone?

  • Plan ahead to arrive early. You don’t know the place, you don’t know the delays. Being early can’t really hurt (it just might mean you gotta get up a few hours before the sun and you’ll have some extra time to wander around).
  • McDonald’s gives you free ice water. Lots of places charge (Sonic, for instance), but McDonald’s doesn’t, and when it’s a sunny 92°F in South Carolina, this is valuable. Invaluable, really.
  • Traveling for a total eclipse is worth it. If you ever have the chance, go. Noah and I drove about 5 hours to see this one (10 hours round trip in one day), and while that’s understandably impossible for a lot of people, the trip is well worth it. There’s just something really cool about it being night in the middle of the day.
  • Some strangers are actually cool people. We didn’t have any glasses for viewing the eclipse (we aren’t planners, and neither of us really thought that part through), but several people offered us theirs to borrow. An eclipse is an awesome experience and there’s something cool about how perfect strangers were eager to share it with us, to better our experience, and to bond over why it’s so cool. Also, they’ll absolutely take your picture for you and probably not steal your phone (keyword, probably).
  • Take turns driving. One of you can sleep while the other drives and that’s okay.