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Photo Blog: The Great Smoky Mountains

I am off of Facebook. And Twitter. And Snapchat.

Have I lost my mind as I commit social suicide? Sure, maybe. I’m off the grid! Not like Alaskan Bush people off the grid (it’s not like I have my own reality television show), but it does come with a similar sense of freedom (and indoor plumbing).

People have complained to me about my recent counter cultural choice because they want to see photos of my travels. For this reason, I have decided to begin incorporating my photos as photo blogs here on Contented Gypsy.

(Please note if you are reading this through your email, you will need to click “view in browser” in the top right of the email to see the full gallery of photos.)

Without further ado….

I grew up in a gorgeous place in East Tennessee just outside Knoxville. My parents transplanted us from Florida so we could grow up in a town several years behind the rest of the world. It’s easy to see why they moved us here almost 18 years ago. The beauty of the land is captivating and the people are just so darn charming and nice.

Seriously, though, you never meet a stranger (which proves to be problematic if you want to make a quick errand). It’s almost like the land time forgot where old school values rule the roost. And up until last year, my parents never even locked their doors.

I love my hometown…now.

It wasn’t always so. Just like the country songs melodically telling stories about growing up and leaving small town America for a bigger city, I fell into the trap of thinking anywhere else would be better than right where I grew up.

I wanted to spread my wings. To “escape” and see what the world had to offer.

I moved to Denver and loved every minute. Despite growing up near the mountains and working at Dollywood Splash Country in the heart of Pigeon Forge every summer during college, it wasn’t until moving out west that my fond relationship with adventuring in the outdoors developed. Camping, hiking, backpacking, biking, you name it, it became incorporated into my life.

My job is fitting for my personality, and the reason I have moved around.

A lot.

Denver, Nashville, New York City. And while I move often, I have explored even more. The Caribbean, Europe, Canada, Africa.

Throughout my travels, I have learned adventure, wanderlust, exploration, (pick a random overused adjective) doesn’t have to be in a faraway place. It can be in your own backyard.

Spending time in various parts of our great big world spurred a realization of the meaning of home. The quietness of small town America. The “it’s Friday night what are we going to do now” inevitable feeling of staying in a few stoplights town.

Looking back with mature eyes, I realize now why my parents wanted to leave Orlando. Wanted to leave a bigger city for something much smaller.

Enjoyment is what you make of it, and the essence of intentionality. This is the very heart of this blog, Contented Gypsy. It’s about creating and being mindful of our lives and living in a God honoring way which brings joy and blessings to our lives (and others) by following His instructions.

Sure, in New York City, I had something to do every night of the week, but, truthfully, I often spent my time wishing I could escape the noise for peace and quiet.

With a fresh perspective, I can fully enjoy this beautiful part of the country I now visit often.

This past weekend, I visited my family, and we got to spend a day driving through Gatlinburg into the Smokies. Even at the height of tourist season when the locals avoid the mountains, the views of the land made the entire journey worthwhile.

Throughout my travels, I have learned adventure, wanderlust, exploration, (pick a random overused adjective) doesn’t have to be in a faraway place. It can be in your own backyard. I mean, have you seen the gorge Pinterest photos of extravagant tents set up for backyard sleepovers, hello!

Please don’t think just because you are unable to hop on a plane today to travel to an exotic beach, the way you spend your free time isn’t as glamorous as those self proclaim adventurers flooding Instagram.

I would LOVE to see your photos of your travels in and around your hometown. Please share them on Instagram using #contentedgypsies on your photo.

I’m always looking for ideas and cities to explore. Comment below and tell me about your favorite hometown adventure and how you spend your free time. Inspire others to go out and tour their city.

Until next time.

Contented Gypsy |Autograph

 

 

 

 

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