New Orleans //
I had been told wonderful things about New Orleans, however I was extremely unprepared for the visit. I seemed to be constantly running out of time, so each place I ended up seemed slightly more unplanned than the last. Two nights before getting there, I looked online to find an AirBnB available. There wasn’t much left. In fact, the only place I could find that was affordable, was situated in the area of town I was warned not to stay.. the South 7th Ward.
In the end all was fine. I felt safe, and loved roaming the streets and feeling all the energy this city had to offer, seeping out from every doorway and window. There was a rhythm to this city… you could feel the dark magic, the history, the years of suffering since the water had blanketed this entire place, yet you could also sense a community full of hope and optimism. A huge smile and a fading laugh in the distance. This town was ready to party.
Savannah + The Carolina’s //
All of a sudden it got real humid. Dry heat vs damp heat.. two completely different worlds. Draped in a thick dew, I pulled into a camp site in Savannah late at night. There was no way to cool down, and my windows had to be wide open while I slept. Better yet, there was someone else crashing my slumber party… the mosquito, and boy did him and his buddies make themselves known. I said I was unprepared right? Next morning I woke up to what seemed like hundreds of bites over my body. NOT FUN. However, my surrounds were now visible and I was quickly up to explore. The benefit of a bad sleep is the ease of getting up at sunrise. There’s a smell to this place that’s really comforting too. Warm but fresh. Sun filtered in through the giant trees, covered in what would soon be my favourite detail of the trip.. Spanish Moss. I squealed like a kid when I saw the rows of Oaks lining the driveways, but my favourite part of this camp site? Animals! Apparently I was also staying on a farm which was straight out of a Disney movie. I ran around chasing the ducks, patting the horses and giggling like a 5 year old.
After Savannah I headed East through South Carolina up to meet a good friend at Holden Beach, NC. Soon the greens faded to cool blues and sandy tones, and I was beachside for a week. Rain storms, late night drinking, swimming, and riding bikes up and down the endless row of vacation houses. I lived a real American family vacation thanks to a generous invite from Margaret. It was a nice break from the tiring town-hopping and mosquito attacks.
ASSATEAGUE ISLAND //
While in North Carolina, I met a girl who’d just been camping at a place called Assateague Island. She informed me this island had wild ponies wandering on it, and that you could sometimes find them on the beach, or even in the ocean. I vaguely recalled pictures popping up on the internet of ponies hanging out on white sand. As I’m a big fan of horses, I scanned my map to see if I could make a stopover to this wonderous world of beach ponies. Sure it was a little out of my way, but I was going! One night and one day of intense pony hunting ensued. I roamed up and down for these mysterious beasts hanging out on the beach. It took me right to the last 20 minutes of my trip before I finally found them. ‘Just one last trip to the other end of the island’, I thought. I just KNOW they will be there. And as I got to the far parking lot, I nearly collided with a lamp post, because to my left was the most stunning sight to behold. Silhouetted against a moody sunrise, were 5 wild ponies standing perfectly on the horizon.
There were signs all over the place warning you not to go near them. They were wild and dangerous apparently… so when they started walking towards me, I was a little apprehensive. My experience with horses didn’t cover wild, East Coast American ponies. I only knew about tame New Zealand ones. Glancing in both directions for any sign of warning, and seeing none, I reached out to pat the cutie with the blue eyes who’d come right to me. Kind of a cool moment to have that early in the morning… just you and the ponies, and not another human in sight.