DAY 7-8 – ASHEVILLE, NC
We arrived in Asheville in the early evening, parked the car, and walked around downtown. We found a coffee shop called Izzy’s to power up, get a campsite via Airbnb, and figure out an overall game plan. When we walked into the joint the guy running the place was playing Shabazz Palaces. From that point on I knew we were in a good spot.
Now the reason Asheville is on the Go Away Road Trip itinerary is that a person close to me had recommended that I visit. Her sister lives here and she told me how beautiful it was. There was even a point in my life I had briefly considered moving here, without ever seeing the place except in pictures. Well that obviously never happened.
There have been a few times in my life that I have up and left the place I was living to try something else. It was always directly related to personal strife in one way or another. I would arrive in a new place hoping that the new environs would somehow change me, that new people would bring out the best in me, that a new opportunity would somehow find me, but this was never the case as I was the same person everywhere that I went. Unwilling to do the work to really change myself and my circumstance, I expected a new place to do it for me.
This was the way things went for large portion of my 20’s. I’m not saying moving somewhere to start a new life doesn’t work, it works for millions, but it takes a strong person to put down roots in a new place and make it on their own. I just didn’t know how to take the right action in my life until my late 20’s. I thought I was some sort of self-styled rebel with a penchant for hard liquor and harder drugs, but really I was just some man lost in the modern age trying to figure it all out. All of the places I have lived are visited on this road trip, but I return as a different man, one with some experience, and with that experience comes a little bit of wisdom.
After walking around town, which is very warm and welcoming, looking around at the current locals, beer swilling hipsters, collared professionals and train hopping homeless with their flea-bit dogs and crusty instruments, we grabbed a delicious burger and headed slightly out of town to our campsite. What a great spot, and they had a tree swing that swung out over the river. We put the tent together at night, which was difficult, we are not outdoorsman, but I do enjoy the outdoors, and made a small fire. Our neighbors came to the spot late at night and asked if we wanted to drink some whiskey and smoke some weed. Josh was quite coy with his response but I just told them straight up that we didn’t drink. They didn’t come over and speak to us again for the entire night, even though I know they were looking to get on that tree swing. Whatever.
Swinging over the river and staring at the moon that night was one of the highlights of the trip for me thus far. There was just something incredibly free and serene about the whole act. Not sure if it had anything to do with being in a new place for the first time, but it’s possible.
We woke in the morning, packed up and headed out to the Biltmore Estate. When we arrived we discovered that the entry fee was $60 per person. Ouch. This whole adventure has some budgetary constraints for sure, but after some debate I said fuck it and paid the money. I’m not sure the next time I’ll be in Asheville or if I’ll ever have the opportunity again.
The Biltmore is quite the place. Grand and opulent, steeped in history, surrounded by a wonderful bucolic landscape. There were some very talented and influential people involved in the creation of this place. I would read into it if I were you.
After a few hours there we went back downtown. We stopped at Izzy’s and some tea shop next door Josh wanted to go to whose menu was a fucking novel, it was unbelievable. My tea was iced, refreshing and odd, Josh’s gave him terrible stomach pains for the next hour. We got the scoop on some waterfalls, which I was told were plentiful in these parts, and headed over to Pisgah National Forest to check out Looking Glass falls. Again, another unbelievable place. I really can’t put into words, especially since I have the images on here, how beautiful this part of North Carolina is. I definitely would like to come back here.
The John D video shot in Athens.
After a little hiking and talking about life and moving to new places, what feels like home etc, we booked a cheap room with Hotel Tonight and retired for the evening. Here is a short film I made for Asheville. This place affected me in a very positive way.