Three years ago I had a memorable stop in Lafayette, Louisiana, so when I found a Workaway experience nearby, I was hoping it would be equally special. Little did I know.
The town of Arnaudville, where I lived for two weeks, is holding on to its Cajun/Creole culture, yet opens its doors to newcomers. My host, Kathleen, is an artist, builder, jill-of-all-trades, community "servant", musician, world traveler, and all-around warm and welcoming person. Her home speaks to her uniqueness. Her circle of friends welcomed me.
My "work" was outdoors which I loved, and among other things, I learned how to build walkways with and without cement! Most of all, I experienced what community feels like. I'll let the photos tell the details of my days!
With a bit of melancholy, I rolled out of town serenaded by Louis & Ella, and 7 hours later, rolled into the Austin metropolis hyped by the "psychedelic cowboy band," New Riders of the Purple Sage. It may take a while to adjust!
I've driven through Alabama twice in my life, but decided this was the year that I would actually make a stop and visit. Since I didn't want to meander all the way to Birmingham (which I hear is getting hip), I decided to spend a week camping at Gulf Shores State Park. I knew before arriving that there were just 11 tent sites and 500 RV sites, so my expectations were low regarding a grand outdoor experience. Yet, the Park is on the Gulf of Mexico, is nearly 6500 acres, and has 27 miles of paved biking/walking paths. How bad could it be?
Well, there were two key elements that escaped me! One, the Park is a snowbird destination for Midwesterners and Canadians; I guess "warm weather" is a relative term. And two, this isn't a State Park, this is a "Resort Park" (their term, not mine). In addition to cabins, a fishing pier, air-conditioned bathrooms, and a golf course, the Park has a swimming pool, large laundry facility, camp store, outdoor amphitheater, and nature center. Ah, to get away from it all!
While I was extremely grateful for the cycling paths, I felt like a fish out of water. Literally, people would walk by and stare into the "primitive" campsites like the Loch Ness Monster was in residence. The entire week I had just two, five-minute conversations, and neither one was with an Alabaman. A bit disappointing, but for the near future, Alabama has been checked off the list!
I'm now in a small town in Louisiana doing a two-week volunteer stint and the setting is superb.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover