Lessons from Chattanooga

by | Feb 24, 2021 | Inspiration, Travel

It’s hard to believe, but I will be departing Chattanooga in a couple of days! I let Maine on Jan 24, so it’s been a month of digital nomad life. I stopped by my folks’ house for a week, then I visited a friend in Christiansburg, VA, and spent the last 3 weeks in Chattanooga.

I’m about 18 hours (by car) south of my home in Maine. And even though, I was on a sun-seeking mission, I managed to find more snow along my route!

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way:

1 – Home is where the heart is.
Cheesy, yes, but true. While on the road, I was open to how I might feel about leaving, and what I’ve realized is that I can be home wherever I am. I have been busy exploring new places, eating different foods (hello fried chicken!), and adjusting to life on the road. All the while, checking in on my needs and desires. For me, the physical dwelling is simply that. I feel most at home when my boundaries are being stretched and when I am immersed in newness.

2 – Our support systems are ours to create.
One of my big pushes for venturing out on this journey was to have some new stimulation. In quarantine, we have very little external variety. We’re spending a lot more time at home, less time with our people, and more repetitiveness than ever before. While on the road, I have been able to increase the variety (while being socially responsible in my activities), but the need for support along the way remains. So now, more than ever, I have been able to be intentional about what that support network looks like. It’s a focused effort to remain connected to friends and family, given that a socially distanced visit is unavailable. It’s all too easy to become complacent and let this support network slip away. As we come on a year of COVID life, it’s more important than ever to bolder our support systems so we can remain sane through it all.

3 – Get out of the weeds.
Whenever I’m in a new place, I try to go to the highest point; whether it’s the top floor of a building or a viewpoint from the top of a mountain (see photo from Cloudland Canyon State Park). I find perspective there. I enjoy seeing the bird’s eye view because it reminds me to get out of my way. We can often get stuck in the to-do list, in the details of what needs to be done, and we lose perspective. Whenever I get bogged down in this way, I remind myself to zoom out. And from that 30,000-foot view, what perspective can I gain that helps me navigate the details?

4 – When things feel overwhelming, go to nature.
I have done more hiking in the last 3 weeks than I have done in the last 3 years. I have made it part of my routine to get outside and into nature as often as I can. When I feel off-kilter, overwhelmed, or emotionally taxed, I find it so helpful to unplug and to get into the woods. Away from the stimulus of social media, work demands, and screen-time, I reconnect to what matters most: what I’m feeling, what I need, and nature itself.

5 – Thai food in Chattanooga is mediocre at best.
Sorry, not sorry. I LOVE Thai food and I’m on a mission to find the best Thai food in America. To date, the best place I’ve found is in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, but I’m excited to find a place that can top that!

Chattanooga has been wonderful. It’s full of kind people, gorgeous views, and delicious foods!

And now…on to Florida! See you soon!

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