This weekend, my roommates and I decided to take a break from finals and take a trip to Durham. What’s in Durham, you may ask? Well, for starters, my amazing brother and sister-in-law, and their adorable dog whom I will always be obsessed with (check out @ourspoiledpup on Instagram to peep some pics of their pup). Also in Durham this weekend: Johnnyswim. If you don’t know who they are, look them up on Spotify. They are a super cool, trendy, folk duo group, who happen to be married to each other and radiate with #marriagegoals.
Anyway, we drove up on Friday afternoon, ate delicious Mexican food Friday night in Durham, walked around an art museum with an old bank vault in the basement, hung out at a very trendy hotel rooftop bar, ate yummy doughnuts on Saturday morning, shopped around Saturday afternoon, and swooned over Johnnyswim Saturday night. I love a good concert filled with chill people and talented musicians.
After dancing the night away at the Johnnyswim concert, we headed back to Savannah. You know that feeling after a weekend away with friends: You’re exhausted from the jam-packed days of events, you’re semi-annoyed with your friends because you’ve seen them non-stop all weekend and need some alone-time, you have a long drive back, you don’t feel like driving and just want to be back. Well, that’s how we felt. We silently listened to our “car tunes” playlist and we stared driving South. We should have just gotten on 95 South and taken that the whole way down, but for some reason, my GPS took us a completely different way, and we ended up in downtown Pittsboro. Annoyed that we weren’t going to the easiest and fastest way, we pulled over to see where we were. By complete accident, we ended up in this quaint, leaf-covered town in North Carolina. We decided to check out some of the little stores along the street.
On the downtown strip of Pittsboro, we came across a little book store, filled with the smell of aged pages. (Fun fact about my friends and I: we’re all book nerds. We get really excited about good/interesting/fun/aesthetically pleasing books.)
We browsed around the bookstore, and each chose a book to buy. Mine was titled, “No Baggage”, a memoir about a girl who meets a guy through an online dating site, and decides to travel to 8 countries with him, a mere stranger, with no luggage, just the clothes on their backs. Sounds exciting, doesn’t it? I’ll let you know how I like it once I get around to reading it.
I walked up to the check-out counter to buy the book, soft Jazz buzzing through the musty, chilled air, twinkly lights surrounding the book shelves. The friendly, grey-haired man grabs my book and starts reading the back. “What’s this one about?”
I start explaining the concept to him, and he gives me a big smile.
“You know,” he starts, “I hitch-hiked here from upstate New York this week 40 years ago. I’ve been having fond memories this week about that time, feeling sentimental, you know.”
“Wow, that amazing. Why did you leave New York?” I asked him.
“Well, you know there was a girl involved,” he gives me a look as if to say, isn’t there always… “We were both fresh out of college, and looking for adventure. We were going to run away together, get out of town. She didn’t like that it snowed so much, and wanted to go South. The plan was for me to scope out a good place for us to settle down in the South, so I went first. I stopped in a couple different towns before I came across this one, some in Virgina, some in Athens, Georgia.”
“What made you choose Pittsboro to settle down in?”
“Well,” he starts up again, “at the time, an election was going on, and I looked up the polls for each county around here, and the majority of this county voted for Nixon. That’s when I knew I would be safe here.” he says with a wide grin on his face.
I start laughing.
“But seriously, I came down with nothing, met a guy who let me sleep in a tee pee on his property, and the day after I got here, I started establishing myself, whatever that means. Slowly I started meeting people, and before I know it, it’s been 40 years, I have 3 grown children, and still have the same friends I met that November many years ago.”
Y’all, I love talking to people like this. I love hearing people’s stories, people’s life experiences. Everyone is so vastly different from each other, but also, vastly the same. I think we all crave adventure, the same way the bookstore owner did. I think we all crave the feeling of feeling alive, and chase the things that make us feel it; and some of us end up all the way down the coast, like my new pal.
I admire this man’s bravery to leave everything familiar to him, and start fresh in a new place. I often feel as though that is a daydream of mine. I’m not sure whether he ended up with the girl from the story, but I do know that he looked happy, content, with his life and the way things turned out.
Moral of this story: Don’t be afraid to take a detour; it might lead you to a beautiful place and let you hear a beautiful story.