“You’re taking a sabbatical!” Barbara said. “I define it a sabbatical as time off with a purpose.”
Indeed, that’s exactly what I did. By July 13, 2011, I’d gotten rid of most of what I owned and took off for a year of adventures.
June 22-29: vacation with family on Lake George
June 29 – overnight with aunt and uncle in Burlington, VT
June 30-July 4 – Quebec City
July 5 -13 back to NY to pack of what’s left of my stuff (hopefully, not much!)
July 13-30 – drive to NC. The unofficial start of my sabbatical (since I now no longer had a place to call home). Visit friends along the way as follows…
July 13 & 14 – visit college friend in Galloway, NJ. She has a two year old I’ve never met – shame on me!
July 15& 16 – stay with a friend from my Boston days who now lives in Lancaster, PA. July 15 is the first night she’s leaving her three month old alone with her husband while she’s on call. Her husband is happy with my timing.
July 17 – housesit a cat and some chickens in Laurel, MD
July 18 – visit a friend in Silver Spring, MD
July 19 & 20 – Friends in Alexandria, VA
July 21 &22 – Frederickburg and Charlottesville, VA – with a friend from my Outward Bound days
July 23& 24 – stay with a friend from college whom I haven’t seen since college 12 years ago. She saw I was driving by Virginia Beach and invited me to visit.
July 25& 26 – Stay with a childhood friend in Raleigh, NC.
July 27 – couchsurf in Asheville, NC
July 28 & 29- couchsurf in Brasstown, NC. Meet up with a former writing teacher and former writing classmate while there.
July 30 – start my stint as Student Host at the John C Campbell Folk School
- August 7-13: Celebrating 25 Years of Dancing with Glass and Fire (Glass Bead Making)
- August 14-20: Discovering your Ancestors
- Aug 26-28: Beginning Spinning on the Wheel
- Aug 28-Sept 3: Wanna Learn Woodturning?
- Sept 4-10: Piping Hot – Scotland’s Best (Scottish Cooking)
- September 11-16: Build A Garden Shed
- Sept 18-24: An Abundance of Appetizers
- Sept 25-30: Nature Writing
- Oct 1-7: Blacksmithing
- Oct 8-15: None
- Oct 16-22: Marbling and Bookmaking
- Oct 23-30: Spinning Words Into Gold
- Oct 30-Nov 4: Carving Old World Santas
- Nov 6 – Nov 12: Wooden Toys
- Nov 13-Nov 18: Bring Out Your Inner Ironmonger
November 23 – Left JCCFS having finished my hosting stint. Drive to Asheville with a friend.
Nov 24 – Picked up my cousin at UNC-Asheville and take a surprise trip home to NY for Thanksgiving.
Nov 27 – Returned my cousin to UNCA. Spent a couple nights couchsurfing in Asheville.
Nov 30-Dec 4 – Visited friends from JCCFS in Tallahassee, FL. Decluttered their bedroom closets:)
Dec 4-6: Went to see St. Augustine, FL. Heard it was a town I’d like, so I checked it out. Definitely different from the rest of FL, but took it off my list of potential places to live.
Dec 6-8: Visited one of the former work studies from JCCFS in St. Petersburg, FL
Dec 9-10: Visited a friend from JCCFS in Treasure Island, FL.
Dec 10-13: Flew to Asheville for a weekend to spend more time with someone I met there in November.
Dec 13-14: Visited a college friend in Orlando. Started work on organizing her garage:)
Dec 14 – Jan 4: Flew home to NY for the holidays. Saw lots of folks I haven’t seen since I left in July.
Jan 4 – 5: Fly back to Orlando. Help friend organize her condo – the need for which arose from her fiance moving in:)
Jan 5-8: Weekend in Asheville to see aforementioned friend.
Jan 8: Drive to Hayesville, NC. Set up temporary home there. Bartered with my first writing teacher: my organizing skills for room and board in a place with warmer winters than any I’ve lived.
Jan 15 – Jan 23: Drive aforementioned teacher to a condo in St. Petersburg, FL where we visited our respective friends and families.
Feb 16-18: Couchsurf in Asheville. Met writing friend to car pool to writing retreat.
Feb 18-29: Joined friends from my first writing class at JCCFS (in 2008) for a week of writing in our rented house on Kiawah Island. Continued practicing for the Camino.
Feb 29: Drove back to Asheville, picked up my car, headed back to NY. Visited friends along the way.
March 1 – April 5: NY for a month of catching up with friends.
April 28-May 9 - back to NY for my cousin’s wedding
May 9 – June 20 - Walked the Camino to Santiago (pilgrimage trail in northern Spain)
At the start of this sabbatical, I didn’t know where I’d go or what I’d do when I was finished. That came to me as I traveled, and at the end of July, I moved to Asheville, North Carolina.