I chose to move to Lynchburg and have fallen in love with it enough to call it home. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that my wife and I are factors in my sister and some of our closest friends emigrating to what we lovingly call “LynchVegas.” Here are the selling points with which I would counter the Lynchburg skeptics.
Some of the Many Reasons I Love Lynchburg
My Biggest Accomplishment in South Africa
Back at my hostel, folks asked where I’d been; and I told them.
Responses included, “They let you do that!?” and “How did you arrange that?”
There are some big lessons in there for me—professional, relational, and spiritual ramifications that I’ve been processing since then. But on my first morning in Cape Town, I made the rest of the trip unnecessary. This would not be topped. This would be the story of the trip.
Danger Comes in Small Packages
If I were to measure the adrenaline rushes of my life in terms of cost per hour of participation, negotiating the Garden Route proved far more affordable than bungy jumping, sky diving, hang gliding, etc. That said, I wouldn’t mind paying extravagantly for safer ways to get my hits of endorphins, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
The Symmetry of Symbiosis
My wife and I were on a romantic getaway in a jungle hotel. We toured the Arenal rain forest with a public-university-trained nature guide explaining the eccentricities of the flora and fauna that we saw as we meandered. What struck me more than anything were all the symbiotic relationships—both plants with creatures and creatures with other creatures. In their current state, neither could survive in their current form without the other in its current form.
Enjoying the Snow Leopards of Life
So, while I didn’t really need to learn Walter’s primary lesson, it was the “two” of the movie’s “one-two” educational punch that hit me so hard that I got emotional in the theater.
We didn’t blow out any candles or eat any cake. Nobody sang the happy birthday song—let alone had to volunteer to start everybody singing it. Greg didn’t opened any gifts; and there wasn’t a stack of cards. I don’t think I saw any table cloths. Yet, as we walked back to the equipment sheds, Greg told me, “This may have been my best birthday ever.”
A Suprising, Uncomfortable Moment of Truth
The fifteen seconds after my fall held a moment of truth for me. I’ve failed so many times in stressful or frenetic situations; but for a few minutes and while a few stories below the Lewisburg, WV, airport, I pulled it together and pressed through my aloneness, insufficiency, and pain to find the spoonful of composure hidden in my chest.
I’m flying, floating, then riding a bus to what’s rated as one of the most grueling hikes in North America—a rugged wilderness described by trail alumni on YouTube as a place where nobody escapes a battered body. In fact, the Canadian Coast Guard and Parks Canada medevacs or otherwise rescues up to nine people a week from this stretch of ground—when only 52 people per day are allowed to enter the trail.
When I tell people where I’m going, I get two general responses. The first: “That sounds awesome!” and more often: “Not me. Why would you do that?” For the crowd who fall in that second camp, let me walk you through the reasoning.
In the fourteen years since English 101, I have discovered my personal voice, the joy in the struggle of the craft, and the wrestling mat where I make sense of the world.
Somewhere amidst the Hawaiian shirts and bridge-playing fogeys, French-fried buffets and almost-innumerable hand sanitizer dispensers, Crystal and I surrendered to tourism.