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This train is bound for what?

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I've been home for a little over 12 hours now. I got in at around 8 a.m. after driving all night from Memphis. I was supposed to stop in Nashville, but there was a foul-up with a hotel and money. So, I figured it was close enough that I can just go back in a couple weeks, or in a month or so...once I'm done with this quarter of school.

I don't really know what I want to say about this trip. In so many ways is was so much better than the last couple and in yet so many more it was quite inferior.

The drive down to NOLA was absolutely splendid. It's about 12-14 hours and I did it all in one day. The first few hours were rain, but the sky was light and the road was familiar. The rain cleared away and left me with a sunny day by the time I got into southern Kentucky. Really. It was beautiful! I also spent a brief moment on I-24 in Tennessee (I think?). I'd been on it once before (last June on my way to Bonnaroo) and loved it. There's this amazing section where you drive through a valley and you ride right along a lake with a massive, green island in the center. It's hard to believe I'm in Tennessee. Something about it feels very South American to me. It's beautiful. When I hit Mississippi and Louisiana, I saw two things I hadn't seen in forever: Dead Armadillos and Palm Trees. I never realized how much I missed those things until I saw them again! I was also surrounded by Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas accents: The three finest accents in all of America, I think. They're so full of honey and smiles.

Wednesday was the last concert for the Railroad tour. I'm not really a breakfast person so I delayed eating and opted for just a sweet tea. The next thing I knew, I was planted in front of Old Crow around 7pm and I realized all I'd had all day was half a sweet tea and a coke. I scored a bottle of water from the performer/security cooler and that got me through the show. By the end of it, though, I was a mess. I headed back to the hotel and left everyone else to their partying. I couldn't even walk straight. When I wandered into the hotel, the receptionist actually asked, "Already too much fun?" I just smiled and nodded. It was true, of course...but I'm pretty sure she thought I was drunk-Not dehydrated.

So, I made it to my room, immediately collapsed in front of the porcelain God for a few minutes and then took a cool bath for my sunburn. Yes, sunburn. I grew up in Florida! How could I forget to use sunblock? Then, I realized I didn't have any Advil AND I couldn't locate a vending machine in our ritzy hotel. I gave up and dove into bed with plans of a.m. beignets. It's amazing, though, the sort of friends I've acquired. I woke up a few hours later to aspirin, ginger ale and a smile. Then, I went back to bed.

Thursday was a whole day of New Orleans. I skipped Cafe Du Monde because, well, everyone goes there and, also, by the time I rolled out of bed it was lunch time. Instead, it was burgers at a cool little bar. Then it was time to hit some music/book stores, a really cool music t-shirt store and the French Market. I spent FAR too much money in just a few short hours. With my stomach and head still a bit weary from the day before, I really wasn't sure I was up for drinking. And since we didn't have a hotel booked or any obligations for Friday in NOLA, it was in the car and north to Memphis.

I hate Memphis and have said multiple times already that I will only go back one more time-To hit Sun Studios and Graceland (since we didn't make it there, even with the extra time) and then never again. Who knows it that will actually hold true, though. But, their interstate system is horrible. No one can drive. And, not to be a snob (though this is insanely snobbish, I realized), but they all sound like a bunch of idiots. On top of their Gump-like accents (which I don't understand, because I don't think Forrest was from Memphis), hardly anyone I spoke to was capable of stringing together a proper sentence. Urg.

Despite Memphis being, quite possibly, the worst city in the universe-I had a pretty amazing time. All the gigs that I saw were great. As a matter of fact, M&S were actually better in Memphis than they were in NOLA. Though, I could just feel that way because it was a longer set and I wasn't 100% dehydrated and suffering from sun poisoning. Instead, I was tipsy on SoCo slushies, nibbling peanut butter crackers and in the company of even more people that I absolutely adore. Also, the hotel was far away and just a Holiday Inn, but actually pretty spectacular. I spent a few hours on Friday stretched out in the massive bed with the curtains open and the sun pouring into the room. It was perfect. Of course, the room was up a few floors and I always like that, so that might have helped my opinion.

Basically, my trip was pretty awesome.

More importantly, though, was that I realized just how much I love that life. I had a bit of a meltdown one evening when I remembered I'd have to come home and when I realized that I had no plans for more travel in my future. I'm sure I won't spend the entire summer at home-but with no actual plans it still became overwhelmingly depressing for me. It took a really long phone call with my mom to remind me that while living at home and being unemployed/broke sucks, I'm still working. I'm working in school. Soon enough I can, hopefully, land a job that will allow me to be out and about all the time. Or, at the very least, pay me more money and give me decent vacation time so that when I want to take off for a week, it won't be such a financial burden.

Traveling just does me well. It forces me to live outside my comfort zone and to make new friends. It gets me out into the sunshine and adds color to my cheeks. It sends my mind whirling. I wrote 3 songs while in Memphis. Of course, by "songs" I actually just mean "lyrics." But soon they'll be something more substantial, I think.

The crew/artist passes for the tour all said they were bound for glorious disgrace. I think that's beautiful and quite possibly a pretty accurate summation of how I've been steering my life lately. I can't guarantee I'm going to be a millionaire (I most likely won't) or make all the moral decisions my mother would prefer I make. But I'm going somewhere...and I'm having an awesome time on my way.

Love, from this train.

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