I've been in North Carolina for the past four weeks now and I must say, I'm really loving it. The first three weeks were spent at my sister's place in Charlotte. In between catching up with her and my nieces and nephew, I got to know some of the surrounding towns: Waxhaw, Matthews, Davidson and Cornelius, all of which I found homey and charming, along with some of the fun neighborhood haunts: Amelie's French Bakery, Dharma Lounge, Common Market, Okra Yoga Studio, Cantina and so on. Much of the Charlotte metro area is interesting, diverse, super clean and pleasing on the eye, fun and the pace has that nice slow southern drawl, which makes it not really feel like a city at all. I loved every minute of my stay including the two yoga classes I took there.
Then I visited Asheville...
Though only two hours away Asheville is 180 degrees different than Charlotte. It's smaller, surrounded on all sides by gorgeous mountains, the population is more artsy, progressive and spiritual and the people are some of the friendliest I've met since I began traveling in January. Charlotte is more button-down and conservative, while Asheville has a large transplant and aging hippy population. What this means is that there's LOTS of interesting stuff going on: parties, gatherings, festivals, drum circles, Meetup groups, open mics...plus every other person seems to be writing a book. There's also an abundance of healthy, locally grown, organic food, 17 microbreweries, an arts district and based on the number of community households, a large emphasis on community living.
Can you guess where I feel more at home?
In fact, it feel so good right now, I've decided to stay put for several weeks writing, connecting with people, attending local events and possibly even collaborating with a couple of folks on some projects (more on that in future posts).
What has really struck me besides the beauty and friendliness of the people is that everyone I've spoken to feels the same way about Asheville. There is something special happening here and everyone who comes here can feel it. It's difficult to put into words, but it feels right.
For now it feels home.