Born in Georgia and raised in Alabama, I’ve been a Southern Belle from the start. While I have always loved “yes m’am”, “please”, and “thank you”, I long desired to leave my small town and see the world. I grew up in a town where everyone called you by name. The summers, while extremely hot, were full of memories of the annual Peach Parade, Peach Pageant, and Peach Auction. We were known for peaches. We even had a water tower shaped like a peach, which we affectionately referred to as “the big butt”. I can look back now and appreciate those memories but I must admit during that time I wanted to be anywhere but there.
I longed to travel the world and experience new cultures. I always had the feeling that I belonged somewhere else, like I was missing a puzzle piece. At the age of 19, I finally had the courage to move away. My first stop of many was Chattanooga, TN. Why? I’m not quite sure other than it was larger than the town I was from yet not the biggest culture shock. Maybe I was working up to the ‘big move’. I know it was difficult for my family to watch me leave. While I am sure they believed in me, they told me they knew I’d be back. Everyone always seemed to return to our little town. I now think this was their way of comforting themselves. There was no turning back for me.
Since that first move, I have lived in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, North Carolina, and South Carolina. I guess when you look at it I’m still quite a southern girl. I spent five months on the road for a client working as a tour manager traveling all over the mid west and west in 2008. We covered about 20 states total. During this road trip, I saw the pure beauty our country holds. Places that I would never think to visit such as South Dakota, Idaho, Iowa, among others quickly became some of my favorite places to date.
While living in the Carolinas, I met my husband. I always told my mother while growing up that I would marry Prince William. I was fascinated by the Royals. It is funny how life works because I did in fact marry an Englishman and he’s most certainly my Prince. He is well traveled and has experienced cultures from all over. His stories give me a greater desire to see the world from my own eyes.
I had the opportunity to go to England twice within the last year. This was incredible as my travel has been limited for quite some time. Parenthood doesn’t always allow a “fly by the seat of your pants” mentality. I was able to experience places such as London but also small villages like Bishops Lydeard and Mevagissey. These are the places I’m drawn to, small and unknown locations to the majority. This has only sparked my desire to travel even more. During the holidays, we took our children to the U.K. for seventeen days. Sharing new parts of the world with my children will be memories forever etched into the fabric of my mind.
Now that our children are a little bit older, I can follow my passions of travel and philanthropy. Next month I’ll be returning to Atlanta and in November I’ll make my third trip to London in a year and a half. I will also take my first trip to Punta Cana in December and then next summer I will visit Sweden. I am bursting with excitement of the memories that I will make on a personal level and the memories I will make with my family.
It’s been many years since I’ve lived in small town Alabama. With each new trip and each new experience I am thankful I stepped out into the unknown so many years ago. However, every time I walk past a basket of peaches I take a moment to think of old memories and appreciate old southern charm.