In less than 24 hours I will be on my way to Shenandoah National Park. This is actually the first significant trip I have taken where it has been completely by choice, and a destination of my own choosing that was not influenced by other factors. At least, no factors other than wanting it to be within driving distance and staying within a particular (and frugal) budget.
Usually, trips and vacations have been influenced almost completely by family or friends. Either because family or friends were going somewhere, or they have been the destination. Significant business trips can be counted on one hand. These trips have always been quite enjoyable, but it is nice to feel more in-command of the content and character of a vacation. I feel less like a hanger-on, or somebody who is taking advantage of the hospitality of others. I honestly feel like this is my first “grown up” vacation.
I’ll be heading out tomorrow morning, and going to the North entrance of the park at Front Royal, VA. Then, I’ll drive almost half the full length of Skyline Drive (41.9 miles) to Skyland Resort where I have a cabin room waiting.
I have a few things that I want to do for sure: Visit Luray Caverns; Hike a stretch of the Appalachian Trail; Try some Geocaching. There are a couple of other hikes and rock scrambles I’ll probably try, but want to get there and ask around before making decisions on those.
I invested in some good basic equipment, including good hiking shoes, backpack, water bottles, food, headgear, bug repellent (I’m already a little bitten-up from rehearsals at the PFI!), sunscreen, and more. It’s not really going to be particularly dangerous, but since I will be on my own, I wanted to be well-prepared.
I haven’t quite decided if I will go completely dark. I imagine I will still be connected, and will probably not be able to resist the urge to post some photos and micro-blog on Facebook. There are some other hopes about the trip, in terms of inspiration. I’ll have my music notebook with me, and my keyboard app in case any musical inspiration strikes. I’m bringing along some reading, including the writings of John Muir.
This trip comes at an interesting time, where there is a bit of a change in the wind. I will be finishing my Masters in December, and when I return from this trip I will start officially searching for that Arts Management Rock Star job that I want to land by some time in 2016. I will be looking beyond just local opportunities, so my search will not be limited by geography. So this trip has excitement to it for what it represents, and for what it is leading into after.