For some reason, it didn't hit me that I'd actually left Atlanta until I was driving through a tunnel on my way to go camping in the quizzically named Parrottsville, TN. Or, technically, while I was driving through a mountain in North Carolina.
It was that exact shift in scenery which triggered the realization of the other-ness I will constantly experience in the coming months. Of the perpetual "moving away from" I will be doing as I travel onward. Of the fact that after 16 years of wanting to go, I finally went.
And I went big.
It took me a full 2 hours on the road to realize I don't need to go back. I don't know when it will occur to me that I won't have to keep moving forward.
The rolling farmlands of Tennessee's Smoky Mountains.
I hope a bear doesn't eat me, I thought to myself for neither the first or last time, braking for a mountain highway curve. Though, Christ, that'd be a great story.