A few months ago, I traveled back down to the town from which I graduated high school. I basically hadn't been there since. My family had moved away and my connections to the place had mostly faded, minus a few notable exceptions (the reason for returning).
The trip was also extra special with my companion/lady friend, Lauren. When Lauren and I made our way down to the Cumberland Gap of TN/VA/KY, I just couldn't believe how stunning it was. With my new outdoor appreciation, I saw the place that I breezed through my final years of high school in an entirely new light. Cumberland Gap went from a place that I immediately wanted to escape to bigger and better places to a really charming small town with truly outstanding scenery. The people and memories didn't hurt either.
After asking my old English teacher where to go for a good hike, @laurensobolik and I set off. I couldn't stop thinking about how much I rejected this area from my identity, how I really, really wanted to leave and head North.
The town may not change that much, but you do. What was once considered unworthy is now worthy, cheap now valuable, a waste of time a treasure of time. My old school even moved. The campus is beautiful.
But most important, as always, it's always about the people.