The Places That Heal Us

A silhouette photo of Brandon standing by Lake Lanier at Legacy Lodge at Lake Lanier Islands

We were only away from home for two days but it felt like we were on the vacation of a lifetime. Before Brandon and I went away to Legacy Lodge at Lanier Islands, we didn’t realize just quite how stressed and overwhelmed we really were. We knew that we were tired and stressed but we hadn’t processed how close to burn out we were until after we had checked into the lodge and were in our room. As we sat there on the bed looking at the lake the fatigue hit us hard. It’s like all at once we suddenly felt all of the feelings we’d been suppressing. We were overcome with the stresses of infertility, the overwhelm of adoption, the pressures of career, the expectations of blogging, and the demands of day-to-day life in a split second and it was in that instant that we realized how much we needed that getaway for ourselves.

We haven’t traveled all that much since we married, unless you count moving. We spent the first two years dealing with Brandon’s illness and surgery, then we moved to Florida, then we moved to Georgia. There were a couple of minor moves in there and career changes which left us always busy with regular life and never sitting down to plan a vacation. When we did try to plan a trip it turned into this huge argument about where to go. If there is any one thing in our marriage that leads to disagreements it’s location – where to vacation, where to live, etc. 

I was born in the mountains of West Virginia and grew up in Florida (although we took long vacations to West Virginia at least 3 – 4 times per year). I feel like I grew up in West Virginia nearly as much as I did in Florida but having been born there and having most of my family there has helped me bond with the mountains in a way I never did with the tropical beaches of Florida. I hated living in Florida and it never felt like “home” to me. I always felt stressed, tense, and miserable. I need the mountains, forest, and appalachian comforts to recharge and feel comforted. 

West Virginia
Hometown, West Virginia

Brandon needs the coast and the water to feel at ease. There’s something about the ocean, the sea salt breeze, and the coastline that comforts him and lets him renew. It makes him feel closer to God and more in tune with his own thoughts and feelings. It helps him become reflective and joyful in a way he doesn’t feel in other places. He moved around a lot when he was younger (Air Force family) and I had initially expected he’d be adaptable to anywhere but that’s not the case. It’s the ocean that feels like “home” to him.

Fun fact about Brandon: He is an aquatic life and shark aficionado. He once studied Marine Biology and pursued certification in scuba diving. 

Brandon LaMar in Savannah, Georgia
Tybee Island, GA

It’s made it tough on us (in a #firstworldproblems kind of way) whenever we tried to plan a vacation. I’d want to go somewhere mountainous so we could go hiking and enjoy the outdoor scenery. He always wanted to go somewhere tropical with 90+ degree weather, palm trees, and salt water. We have tried a couple of compromises but it never worked out well before. In 2016, we took a trip to Savannah, GA to be on the riverside and head out to Tybee Island but it was a disaster. I blogged about it but deleted the posts because I realized I was being too harsh in my response to a singular weekend. 

We’ve planned at least a dozen weekend trips we end up canceling because one of us isn’t excited about going. It wasn’t until this unexpected weekend at Lake Lanier that we began to see ground for compromise. It wasn’t the ocean but Brandon enjoyed his time on the lake. I think Lake Lanier being so large helped because it didn’t feel like an over-sized pond. I realized I don’t need mountains as much as I need wilderness. He realized he doesn’t need the tropics as much as he needs water. 

Now, we are working on planning a few more compromise trips. We are thinking about a trip to Minnesota (due to the lakes), Maine and other coastal places in New England, and a couple of other places around here. It’s been a compromise almost 7 years in the making but we are finally getting there. Hopefully this will help me bring more travel posts to you all soon. 🙂 

Ashley LaMar
Ashley bounces between Atlanta, GA + Charleston, WV with her husband and two small dogs for life and work. If she’s not writing or blogging, she can usually be found cooking, reading, or watching baseball. Follow her on Twitter @ashleyfromfbl

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