Contemplating the New Year, travel first

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IMG 0009Busy Christmas. Boatload of options for 2012. Early January travel to shape a bridge between the two.

That’s my annual approach: live December’s holidays to the hilt blending as many friends and family of all ages and interests as possible, and then open a big window to the imminent future.

Bridging the blended family busy-ness of December holidays with the unlimited vistas of a new year for me requires long walks, best taken away from home.


The woods surrounding a little town on the North Georgia/Tennessee state line gave me the focus I needed.    

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Folk art needs to play a role in Traveling Mom’s new year.

Six hours of interstate driving from my home to McCaysville, returning four-year-old granddaughter Mattie Jewell to her parents in Atlanta en route, arriving in time for the New Year’s Eve gathering of neighbors with second-home cabins on Fightingtown Creek.   

I was the dud of the party and stepson Allen and his wife Bev who co-own our cabin on the creek could testify to that.

Partied out I was, more suited to sitting and staring and eventually thinking and planning.

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Gazing at the flames lulls the brain to a contemplative place.

Contemplative is my travel parameter for ringing in the new year through its first week.

The cabin’s stacked stone fireplace is fine for cheery conversations most of the time; bridging 2011 and ‘12 called for simply staring. No talk.

Plus perhaps receiving some energy from the art on the mantle, painted decades ago by my friend Mary Alice when we were raising young sons at the same schools.

Stoking those fires nearly emptied half of the woodshed.  Ah-hah! Half full or half empty?

I was using these travel days to shape my new year in the full and happy mode. Hiking is a chore, actually punishment for my husband.

For me it’s a brain releaser, delivering clarity and calmness.  I hope that shows all year for the many generations in my blended family of six grown children.

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Fightingtown is the name of the creek and some of the paths in the woods follow its banks.

Top Photo: Half full or half empty – the woodshed and the possibilities for 2012

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About The Author

Christine Tibbetts believes family travel is shared discovery — almost like having a secret among generations who travel together. She’s Destinations Editor and writing coach for TravelingMom. The matriarch of a big blended clan with many adventuresome traveling members, she is a classically-trained journalist. Christine handled PR and marketing accounts for four decades, specializing in tourism, the arts, education, politics and community development. She builds travel features with depth interviews and abundant musing to uncover the soul of each place.

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