In my mind there’s nothing like stepping out of life and ascending to that tiny strip of
land off the North Carolina coast … my Ocracoke, our first stop on this journey,
which I guess you could call our vacation.  We decided to stay at the campground,
and I’d have to say the main benefit of doing it that way is that it’s the only place
you can get an oceanfront room on the island.  The drawback is that, unless you
have a fancy RV or a lot of bells and whistles – we don’t – you have to put in a bit
more effort to attain comfortability.  Not to mention the showers are cold water only
and the mosquitoes are absolutely ferocious.  But there is definitely something to be
said for how relaxing it is to just sit at a picnic table under the stars, drinking beer
and chatting the evening away, no temptation to turn on the TV.  And Julie Best
joined us, which made it doubly nice.

We spent one afternoon riding around the island looking at properties for sale.  This
has become somewhat of a habit with us, as we dream of being able one day to
actually buy one of them and become a permanent part of Paradise …

You might ask why, if we are so enamored of our favorite island, we chose to drive
thousands of miles to the interior of Mexico in order to write our book.  After all, the
spirit of our main character permeates throughout the island and its waters (and
indeed, our brief visit there was intentionally made to commune with the Old Man, to
receive his inspiration and blessing for our work ahead).  In brief, aside from the
expense of renting and day-to-day living in coastal NC, we felt a need to separate
ourselves from what we had grown accustomed to, to seek out an entirely different
environment and to fulfill a gnawing desire to become world travelers -- even if that
means, for now, just paying a visit to the country next door.

Our three nights in Ocracoke -- plus two days at my Mom's in Hertford, NC, where
we engineered a re-pack of our ponderous load -- were a welcome break between
the maddening work of packing up the familiar and heading out for the unfamiliar
across this great and beautiful land.

#  #  #
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A Break from the World
A bird's eye view of Ocracoke
Lighthouse and Village.
Pen's Essays - 2
Typical beachfront on
Ocracoke, this appears to look
across to Portsmouth Island.
NOTE: These are NOT my
photos, just ones I found on the