North Carolina is a beautiful, wonderful state. From mountains to beaches, to UNC to Duke, there is nothing mediocre about the great Tar Heel state. If you were raised in North Carolina, you should be able to identify with the following:
14. NASCAR is a big deal.
18. "Wagon Wheel" (by Old Crow Medicine Show) is a very important song to you and you knew it way before Darius Rucker covered it.
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As I have gotten older, I have become interested in more vacation adventures that I can take and include my love for riding horses and take pictures.
1. McGinnis Meadows Cattle & Guest Ranch, Libby, Montana.
This is an opportunity to work with real ranch hands and to participate in cattle sorting and participate in an actual drive.
2. Lajitas Golf Resort & Spa, Lajitas, Texas.
This is a full-service resort's equestrian center offers lessons and trail riding through the desert mountains bordering Mexico. The resort includes an 18 hole champion golf course, fossil exploration and bird watching expeditions, historical tours and exploring where Comanche and Pancho Villa once roamed.
3. Bitterroot Ranch, Dubois, Wyoming.
This ranch sits south of the Yellowstone National Park, the ride will be a pack trip with a guide, with the wranglers mixing it up and roughing it with the essential comforts. This remains one of the only mean to experience wilderness and other remote, often in restricted areas.
4. Historical Ride: The Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Ride, Tombstone, Arizona.
This is a five-day historic ide that shadows Wyatt Earp and his posse's trail of retribution against the cowboy faction.
5. Sugarbush Tolt Trek, Vermont.
Riding the Icelandic horses through the countryside of Vermont's Green Mountains. The magnificent views of the ski area, riding through the forest, and neighboring farmlands. The journey continues via "Enchanted Way," a wonderful terrain used by cross-country skiers in winter.
6. Navajoland, St. George, Utah.
This adventure takes in the most spectacular and interesting parts of the Navajo Indian Reservation. It's deep in the heart of the Southwest Desert. The ancient Anasazi people built a highly developed civilization a 1000 years ago. The ride crosses three distinct portions of the Navajo Indian Reservation, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley and Navajo Mountain.
7. Willamette Coast Ride, Oregon.
An adventure that includes wine tasting and beach riding. It begins in the burgeoning wine country of Willamette Valley, continues through the Coastal Range Mountains, and ending on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. The ride includes the luxury of wine tasting, riding through vineyards, ascending forested mountain trails and having an opportunity to gallop on the beach.
8. Scotland: Trail Riding in the Highlands.
This is the only opportunity to ride coast to coast in the UK. The week-long or ten-day rides take the rider through the East, North, and West coast and also beach rides. There is also a seventeen day, 250 miles ride from the East to the beautiful beaches of the North Coast, the beautiful scenery of the wild West Coast, riding out on a huge and snaking loop, and bringing the ride to an end at the beaches of the East.
9. Argentina: Ceiling of America Trail.
An adventurous ride through the Aconcagua region among the most massive mountains in America, including its tallest peak, the Aconcagua (23,200 ft).Riding at the heights over 10,000 feet, through the small trails, past unspoiled valleys, and colorful creeks. Witness huge herds of guanacos that still roam free and see where the Andean condors' nest.
The vacation begins at a German-Greek Ranch, having the opportunity to ride mostly Italian Haflingers.The rider will be able to venture the mountains forested with black conifers, green hills, ancient ruins, herds of goats and donkeys. There is the scent of wild herbs, timeless monasteries, and sandy beaches. It is also the island that Captain Corelli play his mandolin. The accommodations include a small apartment complex and/or with the guides in their own house in the village.
I'm sure that many people can agree that spending time in a foreign country takes a lot of adjustment and getting used to. I'm sure that many people can also agree that the adjustment back at home after being abroad can be just as challenging. I spent this past semester studying abroad in Florence, Italy, something that has always been a dream of mine.
It's crazy how quickly my time abroad flew by and that I'm sitting here today reminiscing on all of the amazing adventures that I took part in just 4 short months ago. My time at home post abroad has given me lots of time to reflect on my experiences and feel all different sorts of emotions.
Before I got to Italy, I thought that I would never want to come home. Nothing's better than eating pasta every day, strolling the streets of the birthplace of Renaissance, or traveling to a different country each weekend for such cheap prices. However, as the weeks went by I found myself missing my family, my friends, and the American lifestyle more and more each day, which made me excited for my departure date.
My time and experiences abroad were indescribable, but I was ready to come home. However, now I'm becoming more and more nostalgic of my time abroad as the days go by. Many people that I know have recently arrived in Florence to study abroad for the Spring Semester. Social media outlets, such as, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat allow me to watch them live a life very similar to the one that I was living just a few months ago, and its hard not to get just a little bit jealous of them. It's weird to not be watching the sunset over the city.
It's weird to not be walking down the cobblestone streets with a gelato in hand. It's weird to not be in my home away from home. Part of me wishes that I was back in Europe, but I also have so many exciting things to look forward to being back in the United States.
It's safe to say that Florence stripped me of every cent that I had to my name, so I was very excited to get back to work and attempt to make back all of the money that I spent while abroad. I enjoy keeping busy on my school vacations, so I have been trying to pick up as many shifts at work as possible. It's nice to get back on an actual schedule, and it was just as nice getting to catch up with all of my coworkers.
I was able to go running and workout a few times while I was abroad, but due to all of my weekend travels, there wasn't as much time for it as there is back at home. I can proudly say that I ate my way through Europe, so I was certainly ready and excited to get back into that gym grind. Nothing feels better and more accomplishing than getting back in the gym after taking some time off, especially when that time was accompanied by gelato, pasta, and pizza.
I haven't been at school since last May. While I was abroad, I took fairly simple classes, so that I would have as much time as possible to travel around Europe and explore Florence, so it may be a bit challenging adjusting back into my typical study schedule.
I may regret this statement in a few months when midterms roll around, but I'm excited to get back on a more academic and rigorous school schedule. I am a student who needs structure in regards to academics, so it will be challenging but nice to get back into the swing of my typical course load and difficulty.
Lastly, I am feeling excited to see all of my friends and family who I haven't seen since before my trip. I can't wait to hear about what's been going on in their lives and to tell them about all of my abroad adventures. Being back at home with my family is great and makes me realize how much I missed them while I was gone.
I'm excited to get back to school and see everyone who I have been away from for so long. It is a bit scary heading back to school after being away for so long, but I know that everything will fall right back into place quickly.
Studying abroad was a once and a lifetime opportunity, and I have no regrets. I learned so much about myself and about the world around me, but I also learned to appreciate everything that I have back at home.