Thursday, July 30, 2020

Life Lately | July

As mentioned in my June update, I left DC to spend a few weeks in North Carolina with my family. Ordinarily, a trip down to Raleigh means packing in visits to favorite cafes and bookstores and seeing as many friends as possible, but this time it was nearly the complete opposite. I saw few people aside from my family, and whatever visits I did make to local businesses were for to-go orders only.

In the middle of my time in Raleigh, my sister and I drove to Louisville, KY to visit our brother. While there, we took as many precautions as we could to distance ourselves from others and stay safe, and opted for spending the days in nature - Mammoth Cave National Park and Hoosier National Forest - rather than in the city. Traveling isn't the best choice right now, but it felt good to see family and spend time in new geography.

Through the extended time away from DC (and seeing people other than my roommate), I gained a clearer perspective on the habits I've formed over these last few months at home. While I was careful to maintain good pre-COVID habits like working out daily and sticking to certain work + sleep hours, I fell into a more restrictive mindset with other things. I tend towards organization and minimalism, but when left unchecked, these values can become the goal rather than the means to goals. Getting out of my own space for a few weeks helped disrupt those thought patterns, and I spent the rest of July purposefully choosing activities that took me out of my normal routine:

  • Spent a week screen-free in the evenings and completed a 1000 piece puzzle by myself
  • Had my hair cut by a professional for the first time in 7 years
  • Spent a morning walking around the Mall (I've lived in DC for nearly 3 years and can count on one hand the number of times I've visited the Mall by myself)
  • Visited a wetlands reserve
  • Made doughnuts from scratch with a friend (she did most of the work, I did the final few steps)
  • Participated in a virtual escape room with friends

If 2020 has taught us anything, it's that nothing is certain. Rather than setting expectations for August, I'll simply say: here's to valuing what's most important and learning new things, no matter what happens.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Hoosier National Forest

July 3, 2020

Snapshots from a day hiking Hemlock Cliffs in Hoosier National Forest, Indiana.

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Louisville + Mammoth Cave, KY

July 2-5, 2020

After months of not traveling, my siblings and I took a roadtrip to Kentucky for the long holiday weekend. We set Louisville as our base and explored Hooiser National Forest in Indiana (pictures to come later) and Mammoth Cave National Park, opting for nature over the city as a way to see new places while still social distancing and being safe.

We wanted the weekend to be a vacation and not a frantic rush to see everything, so we kept our pace slow. We stayed in one half of a small duplex across the street from the Kentucky Derby and frequented the local outpost of Sunergos Coffee every morning. We ate late dinners in Louisville's East Market district and watched movies on the couch in the evenings. We earned blisters from our sandals while crossing the footbridge over the Ohio River, and I gained several hundred more freckles from all the time in the sun.

Kentucky isn't my favorite state, but the drive through Appalachia to get there was gorgeous, and the state has enough stunning nature, charming Southern cities, and good food to keep us happily occupied for a few days.
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