Tuesday, June 11, 2024

A New Season of Life by Eleri Grace

I very much appreciate the "starting anew" theme for June rather than January, and it's more relevant for me this year than I might have expected. After all, it was last May that both my children had significant graduations (my daughter from college and son from high school). But this June also carries its own turning point or fork in the road for me. 

For the last several years, I've spent some time Zillow shopping for my ideal retirement location. A friend had mentioned a small town in western North Carolina that I'd never heard of a few years back (Waynesville), and when I looked into it, I was quickly enamored with the overall region. If someone had asked me "mountain or beach" even a few years ago, I would have very likely been quick to say beach. I love the water and enjoy spending vacation time at a beach house or resort. There's something so soothing about the sound of the ocean - it's calming and peaceful. But, I've also always been very drawn to forested settings, and the long-range mountain vistas in western North Carolina have stolen my heart. I am excited to go visit the area in person for the first time later this month. I made a resolution last summer that I would set aside at least a week this year to rent a vacation home in the area and begin checking out the various towns and communities, with an eye toward buying or building a home within the next 3-5 years. This trip will be my first step in the journey, and I'm very excited to experience all that Asheville and its surrounding mountain communities has to offer. 

I bought a guidebook to Asheville and the Great Smoky Mountains (a book is always my first and best go-to resource for information, which I'm sure many of you can relate to) last week and have plotted out several must-see locations -- indie bookstores (!!), cool restaurants and shops, and a variety of the little mountain towns that might one day be my home. I spent 6 weeks interning in Winston-Salem while in law school many years ago, so I've long felt a pull to North Carolina and Virginia generally, but I've never actually visited Asheville at all. If the guidebook hype matches reality, I think I'm going to love it!

A close friend who might well join me in this cross-country move down the road will fly in for the latter half of my week's stay. I'm looking forward to both spending some time exploring on my own and reflecting in solitude and then having my friend join me for the last few days. I suspect it's one thing to ooh and awe over the natural beauty of this region sitting on my couch and Zillow-scrolling but maybe quite another to look at it from the perspective of uprooting myself from my existing supportive community of friends and family to start anew all over again. 

Here's to new beginnings and the unexpected paths we all might contemplate taking as we live full and meaningful lives! 

You can read more about me and my writing at my website or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest!

1 comment:

Judith Ashley said...

Eleri, I can totally understand why you are looking at a forested mountain area instead of the beach. I bought my house almost 50 years ago because I could see Mt. Hood when the leaves are off the trees. A bit different to do so now because the trees have grown and multiplied but I can still get a glimpse. And a few blocks away, when the clouds are away, I can see "My" mountain in all its glory. And I'm an hour or so from the Oregon Coast so the beach is nearby.