South Carolina is home to many natural wonders. There's always something to see outdoors like waterfalls, Blue Ridge Mountains, picturesque lakes with mountainous backdrops, sunflower fields, and so much more.
Appreciation is always in order during the moments when life slows down from the hustle and bustle of living in one of the busiest cities in the world. Having time away from the madness to reconnect with my southern roots feels like a necessity. Being able to detach from modern society’s idea of everyday life (i.e. binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, endless scrolling through social media, working to the point of virtually no social life) is crucial for me.
The only way to feed my appetite of adventure is to simply get out and explore! As much as I love international traveling, there is still so much I haven’t seen within the United States. I think we sometimes forget how much natural beauty we have in this country, or even in our backyards. I often get the itch to just “be away,” and most times I think even a quick road trip may be all I need to not feel so cramped in this huge city. I crave the open roads, cleaner air, and even being able to see stars and constellations at night. When I was growing up in the country, I didn’t realize how much I would be missing when I eventually moved away. I didn’t realize when I grew up that I no longer would own my life anymore because a nine-to-five job would be robbing me of time for hobbies, a social life, and limited time to cultivate a real relationship.
Being able to detach from modern society’s idea of everyday life is crucial for me.
It wasn’t until two years into my last full-time job that I realized everything that I had enjoyed about my life was no longer present. My friendships were fading away one by one, I had no motivation to be artistic because by the time I got off work, commuted nearly two hours to get home, had dinner and a short workout, my day was over… And tomorrow the cycle would always loop. In my third year at my job, I took 5 days off to have my first vacation. When I returned, I quit. The time away to prioritize my happiness over the daily conundrums my boring life took an immediate front seat. I started a new travel bucket list and went to 6 countries within 6 months (cheaply, of course).
I’m not advocating for anyone to quit their job for the sake of adventure, but my day-to-day happiness will forever be my first priority from now on, and I believe everyone should be living this way. It’s a matter of figuring out what works for you and what makes you feel a notch closer to completeness. During my escapades with my boyfriend, I met his parents, who live in Salem, South Carolina. We take a 12-hour road trip from NYC a couple times a year to visit, disconnect, and venture to places we’ve yet to go.
Driving through South Carolina, we always see the mists that blanket over the Blue Ridge Mountains — that’s always one of our favorite moments. We go for a dip in a nearby lake (Jocassee, Keowee, or the lake in his parents’ backyard), hike to waterfalls, visit the Botanical Gardens, go target shooting, and enjoy the large property his family owns. But there’s still so many sites we’ve yet to see, such as: Botany Bay, the Sunflower Field, and the Angel Oak tree.
But what about BBQ? One southern tradition you can’t ever leave out is finding a place with homemade BBQ — we also found this on the way out of town driving through Marietta, SC. We stopped at Burly Bill’s BBQ, a local food truck on the side of the road that specializes in pulled pork sandwiches. Burly Bill’s has six different kinds of smoked meat, dry rubbed, and smoked on oak, apple, and hickory wood. After you finish eating, you can go for quick thrifting located on the same lot.