This was my first time to New Orleans and I was super excited despite some of the negative reviews received. I initially had planned to be in New Orleans for New Years Eve but traveled to Savannah instead and saved this for later when I knew Vlad would be here. Partially because I was nervous after so many individuals had pointed out that they viewed it as an unsafe city and partially because I knew Vlad really wanted to check it out too. And of course, we loved it. I knew that I would, but I am always drawn to the chaos. The colors, the music, the history, it really was a great place. So much so that I actually caught Vlad asking several people about real estate and rent prices.
Before spending a few days in New Orleans we stopped to visit a college friend of mine and her family near Baton Rouge. We walked in the door and there were already crawfish boiling. I have been a vegan for ten years but have been a bit flexible on my egg and fish intake on the road because I am not being as diligent about my regular plant proteins. I did try one, even though I wasn't able to crack it open myself or even watch it being cracked open, but it was I guess kind of delicious.
The south really feels like another world away. People's values, accents, everything feels so different. Laws might be a bit different too, our first stop after the crawfish was a drive through daiquiri place that totally blew my mind (they hand you booze out a window, into your car, it's just nuts). We were welcomed with open arms everywhere we went. Like we were neighbors that had lived down the street instead of perfect strangers. We did not run into the van kids from Miami, but we did see a lot of young people living on the streets. Vlad tried to make me feel better by insisting that so many of them had chosen this lifestyle. That they would rather run free without ties to society or bills or responsibility. But it is still hard to understand how some of us can be so continuously blessed while others are going without.
I have discovered that the lower the temperature the less inspired I feel to take photographs. It was actually pretty cold while we were in Louisiana and I noticed that I kept forgetting to grab my camera, or when I did have it attached to my body I rarely took my hands out of my pockets to actually use it. Obviously an issue I need to overcome being a photographer located in Michigan as well as getting ready to head out to the mountains.
I am also really drawn to anything and everything green. When I first started heading south five weeks ago I was so excited just to see foliage. I took a picture of a gate covered in ivy and I thought it was the most beautiful thing ever. Once the scenery started looking more like winter, I lost some of that inspiration. Again faced with another challenge to overcome.
We had to head back up to Michigan at the end of this week for a couple of weddings but then I will be finally heading heading out west for the second part of this journey. I am super sad that the first five weeks have flown by so quickly and probably a bit more sad that it will be a couple minutes before I am back in warmer weather, but I am pretty excited about all of the beautiful places and people that are shaping this trip. I am feeling anxiety about heading out again solo, but I know this is what I want. There is still much to explore and many lessons to be learned. It has been and it going to continue to be so awesome.