The Feeling of Peace by Morgan Faith

For the longest time in my life, I had dreamt of traveling the world someday. When I was in ninth grade, I made a dream board of what I wanted my perfect life to look like. I wanted to eventually find the love of my life, marry him, have children, maybe even adopt a few, build a nice house in the mountains somewhere, and have a pool. You know, the natural wants a girl can dream of.  

Though, on another part of that board, was places I dreamed of going later in my life. In my freshman year of high school, I tried to convince my parents to travel cross country in our camper all together and make Yosemite National Park our final destination. Me being a very organized and perfectionist person, created PowerPoint upon PowerPoint of each National Park I wanted to stop at along the way to Yosemite. The long hours of working on impressive PowerPoints and spreadsheets never actually convinced my parents. Though, they came up with the idea to travel at least to Smoky Mountains National Park.  

After freshman year was done and over with, my family and I had planned a vacation to the Smoky Mountains National Park. I didn’t think it was much of anything. I was excited but not as excited as I was to go to Yosemite and see all the large waterfalls dropping from cliffs. Once we had finally left to head to the mountains in mid-August of 2018, I had been game to go and explore. As we crest a large hill going into Sevierville, Tennessee, my mouth gaped wide open and shouted, “Oh my gosh! Look at those mountains!” It almost scared me just looking at them and how incredibly tall and ridged they were. These mountains were nothing like the Appalachian Mountains back home in Maryland or Pennsylvania. Rather, they were tall, stretching as high as almost 7,000 feet in the air. True too, they were touching the clouds. Each mountain ridge was curved out so beautifully in the skyline as we continued to get closer and closer to them each hour. In those moments as we were approaching our campground in Sevierville, Tennessee, I had instantly, strangely enough, realized that I was a part of a lot larger of a world.  

As we continued to stay in the town and explore for a week, my family and I did hikes to astounding fifty-foot waterfalls and a hike that would lead us to the famous Clingmans Dome between the Tennessee and North Carolina border. Looking out at the blue mountains and seeing those carved, etched lines almost like a drawing within the sky, caused me to feel at peace. There isn’t any other way of explaining that feeling of when I hike, travel, and explore, that I feel at peace with any hardship, adversity, or change that would come my way.  

As I continue to write and earn my English degree, I continue to travel to different locations such as, Asheville, North Carolina and much of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Mountains upon mountains and waterfalls upon waterfalls have caused me to feel complete and joyful in any circumstance in my life. Through experiencing this new opportunity of exploring the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in my life, my curiosity has gotten the best of me even more. It has made me truly want to travel the world and see the sharp, ridged, and rocky mountains of Switzerland one day or the blue, tropical beaches of Greece. It has made me feel inspired to write books or even a series of traveling this world that still might have some unknown parts of it. Curiosity and inspiration run through my veins but so does this specific type of peace in my life. The peace, that you can only find when you travel, explore, and walk out into the unknown. When I was younger, that unknown was defined as overcoming high school, bullying, and being accepted by my peers. Nowadays, walking into the unknown is living as a young adult, living my best life, and making a name for myself as a local author. Occasionally, I have those moments in my life where I feel like I need to re-discover peace again. Almost as if I have lost it and let the unknown worries of this world grasp me by my feet. Though, sometimes, just simply walking outside my doorstep, taking a fresh, deep breathe inhaling and exhaling, brings me right back to where I need to be. 

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