Friday favorites & feelings

“What was your favorite part?”

I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve been asked this question throughout the past two weeks. No shade to anyone who asked me—I would be eagerly asking you the exact same thing if our roles were reversed.

But man, is that a hard question to answer. Each time, I find myself completely overwhelmed with what to say. The first few times, I’m pretty sure I went with “Uhhhhhhh…oh my gosh. I don’t even know. There were so many things! I should have been more prepared for this question!” Eventually, I learned to throw out a few go-to highlights (hiking on a glacier in Patagonia; playing on sand dunes in Colorado; conquering a 17,000 ft. peak in Peru).

But do you want the honest truth? I still have NO IDEA what my favorite part of the last five months was. And the thought of whittling those experiences down into cohesive stories and sound bites is still overwhelming.

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My brain right now, trying to decide where to go from here.

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Saying goodbye to 2016

Well, hey there!

It’s been a much longer blogging hiatus than I planned—but we are officially back in the USA! The past week has been a blur. First, there was the crazy, wonderful holiday chaos of parties, baking, present-wrapping, and squeezing in as much time as possible with family and old friends in town for the holidays. Then, the inevitable post-holiday illness that resigned me to the couch for two days. Now, it’s our annual reunion with camp friends for the new year—and when we get back, it will officially be 2017.

I was planning to write a post with goals and resolutions for the new year….but honestly? I’ve never been much for new year resolutions anyway.

I just don’t love the pressure of it—the assumption that a new year is the only appropriate time to turn over a new leaf. Just one chance a year to work on improving yourself, that’s it! But what I do like is the opportunity that a new calendar year gives to look back and reflect on everything that’s happened in the past 365 days.

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Hoxworth family history in Cincinnati, OH

[Writer’s note: It’s easier for me to update Instagram more frequently than the blog, so follow me there @laurahoxworth to see more photos throughout the trip!]

Hello from Wisconsin! I have lots to say about our stay in America’s Dairyland (and sausage land…and beer land…), but I’ll get to that soon. First things first: I wanted to write about our very first destination—a quick stop that was special to me for personal reasons.

After setting out from Greensboro, NC, on Wednesday, we spent our first day driving through the mountains of West Virginia, and our first night car camping in Indiana’s Daniel Boone National Forest—where we got to our lakeside campsite just in time to see a gorgeous sunset over the lake (and where Callie had a wonderful time chasing katydids).

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On Thursday, we arrived at our first planned destination: Cincinnati, Ohio!

We aren’t doing a lot of city exploring on this trip (especially since we have a certain furry companion with us), but there’s one main reason why we put this spot on our map: it’s the city where my dad grew up and went to medical school, and where my grandparents lived and left somewhat of a legacy—and I’ve never visited before. So it seemed like the perfect stop as we made our way up toward Wisconsin.

It’s funny how family history becomes more interesting the older you get. I never had the opportunity to meet my grandfather, but I’ve heard plenty of stories. And once I knew we were headed to Cincinnati, I started asking family members and doing a little research into who he was. By all accounts, Paul Hoxworth was a character: fiercely intelligent, curious, confident, caring, and nothing if not entertaining.

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Rubber bands & Ziploc bags

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Locked & loaded: ready for two months on the road

The summer before I went to college, I spent MONTHS getting ready.

I made lists on lists on lists. Over and over I ran through them all in my head, trying to think of every possible thing I could need for my dorm room. One morning, my mom found me rummaging through a cabinet, hoarding a small selection of office supplies: rubber bands, scotch tape, scissors, Ziploc bags.

“You know,” she said—in the simultaneously kind yet all-knowing voice only a mother can master—”I bet there’s someplace in Chapel Hill you can buy those if you need them.”

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To the little Southern town that welcomed me in

Let me start with a confession. When I first decided to take a leap of faith and move to a tiny town in the heart of the South, I wasn’t exactly planning on staying very long. I thought I would get a good start in my career, get a taste of working in higher education, and move on within a year or two.

But you had other things in mind. And four years later, here we are.

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Off to a smashing start

In which we encounter the first mishap of our trip before even leaving the driveway.

I apologize for the long break between posts (and also for the potato quality photos here—we left our good camera in North Carolina a few weeks ago and finally got it back today).

My excuse is that this is what my life has looked like for the past two weeks or so:

Moving is always chaos. Then, consider the fact that we’re moving away from somewhere, but not to anywhere—therefore, our stuff is being spread out among a total of two houses and three storage units (not counting what we’re taking with us, which also had to be separated and packed).

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Great American Adventure Part One: U.S.A. Road Trip

First of all, I have to give a HUGE thank you to everyone for your wonderfully supportive response to our big news! Taking any kind of risk—especially one on this scale—is so much easier when you have family and friends cheering you on from the sidelines. I was overwhelmed by all the love, well wishes, and votes of confidence. You all are the best and we are truly grateful!!

With just 30 days until we officially hit the road, things are already getting a little crazy over here —wrapping up projects at work, starting to pack up our stuff, showing the house to new renters, making last-minute appointments/meetings/COUNTLESS lists….etc. etc. etc. I meant to post this a week ago, but time keeps getting away from me!

Anyway, since a few people have asked for more details (and I would LOVE to gather as much advice as I can in the next few weeks) I wanted to share some specifics that were too much to fit in the original post. Starting with Part One: the good old-fashioned U.S.A. road trip!

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