Life lately & Friday favorites

This is what my life has looked like the past few weeks: traveling around back and forth between North Carolina and Virginia (and briefly, Texas!) Boat rides and long runs and afternoon thunderstorms. Opportunities and disappointments. Possibility and uncertainty. Waiting. Catching up on reading. List-making. (Always list-making.) More waiting. Taking pictures of flowers.

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The most exciting news as of late is that we booked a venue and a date for our wedding next spring (!!!), and spent a wonderful, relaxing Easter weekend at home with family.

But mostly, my days are made up of alternately 1) planning way far in advance and 2) trying not to think much about the future in hopes of avoiding panic attacks. I’m reveling in unstructured time (so much reading; so many breakfast sandwiches) and then also loathing it, because truth be told, I am a structure-loving gal at heart.

This is a season of me trying to lean into fear and uncertainty….and succeeding and failing in roughly equal measure.

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A backyard escape

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I like to talk about how in my free time, I love to be outside. But if I’m being honest, here’s where you can find me a big chunk of the time: wistfully browsing breathtaking photos of faraway places on Pinterest, skimming articles on the trendy new travel destination, adding new spots in Sweden or Croatia or Alaska to an ever-growing mental bucket list. I’m daydreaming about the next spot on my list before I’ve even stepped off the return flight from the last one.

Part of this is an inevitable side effect of travel. It’s addictive. Anywhere you go, you’re bound to discover at least 10 more places you want to visit. There’s the local spot that you never knew existed until you visited the tourist destination nearby. And the city you never thought much about…until your hostel roommate gushed over for 20 minutes. Then there’s the places you’ve already been—but you just need to re-visit that tucked-away courtyard to sip the world’s best latte one more time.

Travel has the strange power to make you appreciate the comforts of home…while simultaneously making you itch to discover someplace new. It’s a part of the deal, and it’s fun to imagine where you might go next. Until it’s not.

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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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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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“Because It’s There”—Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

Have you ever read a book that climbs into your brain and refuses to leave?

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Last year, I picked up a copy of Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer for 50 cents at a used bookstore. I had read Into the Wild a few years before and really enjoyed it, so I was excited to give this one a try. More than a year later, I finally opened it up…and finished it within 48 hours. Once I got about 10 pages in, despite knowing how it ended, I could. not. stop. reading.

Even now, weeks later, it’s still on my mind. This book just…destroyed me. I’ve read plenty of books that made me cry (looking at you, The Book Thief), but I’m talking about something different. I never cried during this book—it was less of an acute sadness, and more of a heavy weight on my soul. When I finished it, I got so quiet and somber for so long that Chris, concerned, asked me if I was going to be okay.

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Friday thoughts & thought-provoking links

It has been a rough week here on earth, y’all.

I’ve been struggling all week with what—if anything—to post here. The thing is…I am an over-thinker and a conflict-avoider. Whether it’s a challenging situation at work or things happening in the world, it always takes me some time to gather my thoughts. My tendency is always not to jump into the fray, but to pull back, into my head. To read and think and read some more and worry about what I’m doing and if it’s enough.

There is an incredibly nuanced and complex mess of problems facing us right now. I don’t think that there is a single solution here—not even a single issue at play. It is complicated, and difficult, and frankly it’s hard not to throw up my hands and give in to despair. But that is one thing that I won’t let happen, because despair is a victory for hate.

All I know right now is: We have to come together. We have to keep trying. We have to keep loving. We have to reach out and listen to one another. With compassion and understanding, we need to face the hard truths about ourselves, our culture, our country and its threats—together.

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Friday favorites: 6 short stories to read this weekend

Like most of us, I never feel like I have enough time to read. When I was a kid, and even into high school, I used to devour books like it was my JOB. These days, I add titles to my Kindle wishlist about 10 times faster than I can cross them off.

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(I also like to collect old, pretty books that I will probably never read.)

But here’s the thing. When I stop and think about it, I actually do spend a lot of time reading….just not as much time reading books.

So what DO I read then? Random stories on the internet.

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