We left Stephanie’s in Delaware for one of our biggest drives of the trip, through the widths of the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and arriving in the far reaches of Tennessee. We started at 4am armed with rollups and sandwiches and water and fruit and biscuits. The only stops being for petrol and drinks!
We were to arrive at a Nashville house of a SERVAS couple Trine and Jerry. In all its beauty SERVAS has been an experience of trust and hospitality. Trine and Gerry rent the top floor of a house fairly close to downtown. One bedroom, small but homely space. These guys had responded to Christos’ SERVAS request with a ‘good news and bad news’ reply… The bad news was they wouldn’t be home, the good news was it meant there would be space for us all.
So we rocked up in their driveway and were greeted by such a lovely couple; so gentle, loving, adventurous and outdoorsy. These two had met while working at REI a great big outdoor adventure store in America. Independently they had both completed the Appalachan Mountain Way walk, one of them had taken 5 months, the other 7 months. No small undertaking. If we had more time and slightly older kids these guys would have blown our minds with their stories and knowledge on how to access various outdoor adventures; rock climbing, rivers, hiking. But as we are, and our time constraint goes, it was not to be.
Trine was incredible and I was so moved by the comfort I felt in her kitchen. They had come to greet us and hand over keys before returning to house and animal sitting duties while Jerry’s sister was overseas. Within half an hour I had her pasta and freshly made sauce on the stove as she showed me the meringue cookies she had made, the snacks for the kids on offer and all the bedding possibilities. I fed the kids as we chatted, amazed as I say, the warmth and generosity was palpable.
All this time everywhere we looked were inspiring photos of their ice hiking adventures, wilderness photography and words of love and appreciation. It truly was a nurturing space to settle for two nights.
And as I am wishing I had more time to be with Trine (she was off rock climbing the next day) then back to work as a nurse, Toby and Christos had tapped into the incredible knowledge of Jerry on the GoPro. This is a camera device that can be strapped on your head, made waterproof etc. Christos had bought one before we left Melbourne much to my raised eyebrows. It had been under-utilised to say the least especially given all we have done this past 18 months… Toby had recently taken it on as his thing to remember to bring it with us, or charge it as necessary, but a distinct lack of confidence still prevailed when it came to ‘how to use it’ . Within minutes Jerry had the Toby inspired, understanding and experimenting with our GoPro. Awesome.
So, we are in Nashville, home of country music. My sister Pam and partner Craig come to mind, not in the traditional country sense, but in the modern Nu Country cool sense that I really like but don’t really have or play as often as I would like.
Ideally we would have got some country music running in the car, Memphis was a drive by and would have benefited from some Elvis exploration… But you can’t do everything.
We spent the afternoon in Nashville Downtown looking for Nicole Kidman to have a shrimp on the BBQ with as we were sure her email invite got lost in spam… But alas we settled for a wander, a cruise of boot stores, a little shopping by Christos for Father’s Day from the Boot Barn (sadly no boots), a replacing of quality rain jackets lost by Iceland Air in Emilio’s lost backpack with cheapo slickers that will get us by in Peru, and a beer watching fledgling country singers in a corner bar singing for tips. I truly thought of my big sister lots, texted and wished we had a few days shopping together with a night cruising upcoming stars on stage. I’ll have to pursue that with her at the Oakleigh Bowls Club when I get home.