Chapter 3: The Blank Spaces on the Map

And That’s Why I Hang My Hat in Tennessee; Exploring My Own Country

img_4625I have spent the last week heavy lifting, getting bruised up, and voluntarily and repeatedly jumping into freezing water.  Tennessee doesn’t seem to realize summer should start in February like it does in Texas.  Anyway, in summary, I’m well on my way to being a whitewater raft guide, y’all.

img_4690Let me back up.  For the last few weeks, I have been cross-country roadtripping.  I think I’ve doubled the number of states I’ve seen, just in the last month.  First, I flew up to Utah, spent a couple of days at the ski resort where my Costa Rican friend was working, and then drove with him and another Tico friend through Arches National Park in Moab, Utah, a tiny town in Arizona called Mexican Hat that I just think has a cool name, the Grand Canyon, Hoover Dam, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles/Hollywood.  That was a good time, and a good preview for when I go back on an extended trip to hike and camp and go where the wind blows me.  Also, it was fantastic to see my closest Tico friends, whom I haven’t seen in a couple of years.

img_4667After flying back to Texas, I turned around the next day and drove 19 hours in two days to get to a tiny town called Hartford in eastern Tennessee, which is distinguished by three gas stations and a handful of whitewater rafting companies.

I had found the job a few weeks back on, which is an excellent resource to find seasonal adventure jobs in the U.S.  I needed something to get me to September, when I’ll be headed to Germany for grad school, si Dios quiere, and something with rivers and sunshine sounded perfect.

It’s been a good time and a half so far, and if I’m not careful, this may turn into more than just a one-summer seasonal job.  It’s great, because the other guides are primarily Southern small-town adventurer types, and I haven’t been around so many people who have roots like mine since I left home five years ago.

I’m almost overwhelmed that I’ll be in one place for six months, and I’ll actually have time to really get to know the people around me and the place I’m living in.  Not to mention, this is the first time I’ve lived somewhere in the U.S. outside of the Republic of Texas.  I wrote a post over a year ago about the grand diversity of cultures and landscapes in my own country, so I’m about to put that to the test and see just how different the southeast is from my home.



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