Yesterday I barreled (haha, get it?) through the swamps of Florida and Georgia and into the forests of South Carolina. Last year, I stopped somewhere south of the North-South Carolina border for a night's sleep at a cheap motel. This year, however, I persisted and made it all the way to Asheville.
I pressed the button on Vincent's dashboard until the temperature displayed below his speedometer, and watched it drop precipitously, from 91, to 88, to 83, to 79, to 72. I remember that incredible feeling when I'd traverse the mountains out west and could feel the temperature change after only travelling a hundred miles.
Exhausted from the day's travels, I scoured West Asheville for a reasonably stealthy place to park, but couldn't find anywhere that wasn't either directly in front of a residence or on a busy commercial street. So I searched for the nearest Cracker Barrel and made their parking lot my home for the night.
To be honest, my night's sleep outside that Cracker Barrel was among the best I've had in months. The cool mountain air soothed me with its natural fragrance—so much more inviting than the stale, noxious fumes of recycled and conditioned Florida summer air. Whenever I take trips like this I'm reminded that the simplest changes are often the most profound. We spend so much of our lives chasing status and material goods, not realizing that often our contentment lies on the other side of a simple environmental shift.
So far, my trip has cost me only gas money and a few dollars for coffee on the interstate—my food supply has so far been commandeered from leftovers from my apartment. What bliss to know you're making the most of your earnings and stretching out the amount of leisure you can have by eliminating luxurious spending.
Now I'm sitting in Vincent's belly, enjoying a fresh cup of coffee I brewed in the parking lot of an Ingles grocery store. I somehow had five green propane bottles stored up at home that I thought I'd bring along, so I want to run my stove as much as I can so I can discard them to free more precious space.
I had forgotten, in my past year of domesticity, the thrill of not knowing where you'll sleep.