Friday, September 20, 2013

A Tale of Three Cities: An Elemental Voyage

Hi everyone...after a somewhat long hiatus I'm back! With my beloved's birthday and a number of other events in the past month, finding the time to blog has been a challenge. But I hope to make up for it by giving some information about my recent vacation to the south with a little bit of a different take: An "elemental" look at the cities I visited. I hope to give some interesting facts about each city and relate it to each of the elements. 

Over the next few weeks, I plan to give you an opportunity to see each of these cities perhaps differently than you have in the past using an elemental perspective. What I mean by that is to talk about my impressions of these cities and how each of the four elements--fire, earth, air, and water--played a role in my visit to Chattanooga, TN; Atlanta, GA; and Gatlinburg, TN.  

So let's start with some overall comments about fire. Neither my beloved nor I had visited any of these cities before. That goes in the fire category with the idea of "discovery". Of course, many other people had seen these cities before I did, but there's always a sense of being a pioneer in my mind when I visit a new city, or even when I find a new shortcut. Travel is something that changes you; in many ways, it can alter your perspective or perceptions. That's one of the reasons why it's so important to get out of your daily routine every once in a while and travel. Luckily, the weather wasn't too fiery; toward the end once or twice I almost considered putting on a souvenir sweatshirt I had bought [GASP!]. 

The element that I personally felt the most was likely earth. While the trip didn't start out very earthy, it ended that way, as you'll see. But I think the earth energy effect we felt the most was soreness and fatigue of our physical bodies. While I'm no elder eagle, I'm no spry scorpion, either; we packed a lot of activities into nearly a week, and it took a toll on us. It didn't help that both of us were just post-cold, either, with a cough that just hung on for dear life. But we pushed ourselves to the limit. 

I felt air the most when communicating with the outside world. I totally enjoyed sharing my status updates and photos with friends from all over the world. Technology goes in the air element, and it was very easy to find a wireless network--you know, one floating around in the AIR?--anywhere we needed one, with a few rare exceptions. I got a real charge over everyone's interactions with me on where we were, as well as what we were doing and seeing. Since I don't do a TON of social media most days, it was liberating to be able to share what was up when I wanted. And it's amazing to know that no matter where I was, I could get a restaurant reservation, directions, or other tourist information just by taking my phone out of my pocket. I'm old enough to remember the days when phones were on walls and you waited by them for people to call you, and when faxing was considered cutting edge technology. 

Water is probably the most obvious element for this trip, for a few reasons. The trip celebrated the 40th birthday of my beloved, and love of course is part of the water element. The entire theme of the vacation was water-related, since we chose the three cities because they had aquariums that neither of us had ever seen. I even considered writing one of these blogs from the Georgia Aquarium, falling asleep in front of its 6.3 million gallon tank with four whale sharks. But that wouldn't have made a great place to do it, as you'll see when I talk about our visit to the ATL. 

I hope you'll find this interesting, and will stay tuned for my next installment! Until then, dear readers, may you be blessed with elemental balance. 

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