In 2011, I traveled to New Orleans with some other university students for a Leadership Exchange. It was, in short, life-altering. It was the first trip I ever went on "by myself" (aka, no parents) and the first trip I faithfully documented in my journal.
It was the first time in my adult life I experienced a culture radically different from my own. There's something about submerging yourself in an unknown city...really exploring and savoring it...that ends up teaching you a lot about yourself.
I meticulously researched coffee shops and jazz clubs and used book stores. I wanted to get drunk on (ON, not in - I wasn't 21 yet) New Orleans and press myself into every nook and cranny of the city.
Sounds of New Orleans Street musicians Laughter Jazz, the heartbeat of the city People begging for money Front porch rocking chairs creaking
Sights of New Orleans Brick streets Gritty everything Murals, painted with hope Shotgun shacks Marti Gras beads
Smells of New Orleans Beignets, puffy and sweet Lush, sweetly overgrown plants Fiery Cajun spices Jasmine perfume Chicory coffee
On our last morning, I woke up at the crack of dawn and walked all the way through the French Quarter to a little neighborhood called Faubourg Marigny. Y'all, I fell in love. Madly. It was quiet, historic, humble. I wandered around for an hour, said hello to people reading the newspaper on their front porches, stopped for coffee and took pictures of sidewalks.
As I was leaving, I stumbled across this. When I researched it at home, I found out it had just been installed by a woman named Candy Chang. Read more about the "Before I Die" project here.
What is the most memorable place you've ever traveled to?
Under Grace, Rachel