What are weekends for? Well, mostly these days they’re for sleeping since teaching in the US is an exhausting occupation. They’re also my time to clear the to-do list of non-teaching related tasks that I have to complete. You know, cleaning, eating, shopping, watching Netflix, contemplating the meaning of life – the usual. But weekends are also for exploring.
When I moved to the States I had grand dreams of traveling around, visiting dozens of different states, experiencing all the great things America has to offer that I have heard so much about. In reality, I work, eat, sleep, repeat. I have had a few adventures: Thanksgiving in Chicago, Christmas in New York, a spring weekend in the mountains, rodeo excitement and bluegrass festivals. But I had hoped for more. There’s still time left, though, so I’m not giving up on my adventures just yet.
But there’s plenty of exploring to do without leaving North Carolina, without having to drive very far at all.
One thing I love about North Carolina is the parks. People here like to be outside, which suits me just fine since I like nothing better than a quiet walk to think and breathe and just be. I’ve made it my mission to visit every park within an hour of me by the time I leave. I’ve crossed a few off my list already, and this weekend I crossed a few more off. I even revisited one of my favorites, all in the name of exercise and photography practice.
Each time I visit one of these places it reminds me just how big America is. You can drive just a few minutes from the center of Raleigh and feel as if you are in the middle of nowhere. Lakes, forests, wooded trails: perfect peace in the midst of a stressful week.
Crowded District Park, Apex
Bass Lake, Holly Springs
Yates Mill, Raleigh