Virginia: Travel Observations

“Don’t let the doorknob hit ya where the good lord split ya — in the front and in the back.”
-Homeless Man of Carytown

We spent some time roaming a wooded rural area of eastern Virginia this past weekend. My soon-to-be mother-in-law recently moved, and we flew in to help break in her new home.

I’m not from Virginia, but his family has become my family. The more we visit, the more Virginia feels like home. And it’s always nice to catch up with friends and family.

Airport Musings

I managed to stay patient and stress-free through the airport. I typically have a fun time watching people at the airport and imagining what their lives are like, despite generally disliking people. Though sometimes it’s somewhat depressing.

I wonder if that’s due to my quiet judgment, or something else. I do my best not to judge others or make assumptions, but we all do it. Whether we mean to or not. In the moments of a bustling airport, it’s fairly easy to pass judgment onto others.

In any case, people watching can be entertaining and insightful, while also being sad and worrisome. Also, some people should probably not have children.

The Rural Woods

Since moving to a quiet and boring suburban area in Michigan, I have become convinced that I am a city guy. I miss the business and mystery of Chicago.

Yet, something about the woods of Virginia draws me in. They hold a beautiful mystery all their own. Passing through narrow streets beneath a wooded canopy just does something for me.

And that’s not to say that Michigan doesn’t have it’s own beautiful trees and whatnot. It’s just not the same feeling.

I’m now convinced that the only sort of rural living I would enjoy would be tucked away through the trees. Somewhere hidden yet homey.

Steinlen & Cats

Théophile Steinlen was a Swiss-born French artist who had a great affection for cats and included them in many of his paintings. He loved cats before the internet was a thing. He was an O.G. cat master.

Besides all that, his work is really something that speaks to me. I think his most recognizable painting is the Tournée du Chat noir (google it), but my favorite is probably the Lait Pur Sterilise painting.

We visited a very quick and small gallery of Steinlen’s work at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which I found to be inspiring. It also gave some good information about Steinlen’s life and his work.


Carytown is an urban shopping district lining Cary Street in Richmond. I have been there a handful of times now, and it’s always fun walking down the street and browsing the shops.

There are a variety of different boutiques and restaurants along Cary Street. Galaxy Diner is a popular spot, and I love their fried pickles.

It was interesting traversing Carytown this time around, as I now have older memories of the street to look back on. My fiance took me there the first time I went to Virginia a few years ago, and it was one of the best times of my life. I never thought I would be able to travel and create memories all around the world, and having this spot that I’ve gone back to a few times is something really special to me.

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The more time I spend with my fiance’s family and get to know them, the more I feel like I’m part of something special.

I don’t often feel that I have a tight family, or connections with anyone now that I’m older and we’re all going separate ways. So feeling that I have this new family is something that lights me up.

My heart is full of gratitude.

— J. S.

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