I'm back from the roadtrip and it was great! I got to see so many cities and states that I've never been to and just see more of America in general. The trip was well timed with the Fourth of July, so I'm just going to pretend that we did that on purpose. Totally planned. We drove down to Corpus Christi, TX and back and stopped in lots of places along the way: Indianapolis, Memphis, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Nashville... it was great. I came back with a stronger appreciation of the diversity of America, to be sure. I'll admit it, I did love to poke fun at Texas before. Now that I've actually been there, I can see why its residents love it so much. It really is a very nice state! I don't agree with the politics at all, but the state is nice and I'd like to go back. Dallas was one of the most enjoyable cities that we stopped in and I'd especially like to go back and spend more time there.
We spent four full days in Corpus Christi. It's a city right on the Gulf of Mexico, so very hot! I am a very fair-skinned northerner, so I came back from the trip with much more color and painful sunburn on my back. The pain has subsided, but the peeling has just begun... SPF 55 with several reapplications was clearly not enough. I bought some SPF 100 today at the store. Kyle and I enjoyed a nice day at the beach on the Gulf of Mexico and it was only my second time in waves. My first time at the beach was in Rhode Island when I was younger and I had a very negative experience with waves, constantly being pulled under and almost losing my glasses that I'd forgotten to take off (we somehow found them in a turn of luck). This time was the complete opposite, I came away loving the waves and having fully enjoyed playing in them for hours on end. I would have liked to go back for another day, but time did not permit it and I don't think it would have been wise given the bright red shade of my back after that day anyway.
We also spent a full day in New Orleans on our way back to Michigan. New Orleans was one of the things I was greatly looking forward to on my trip, and the city did not disappoint. We stayed in the French Quarter and it was beautiful. The whole city of New Orleans really does have a completely unique appearance and feel. Kyle and I went to a museum while we were there and learned all about Katrina. I hadn't realized how much I didn't know about it and I feel very educated about the disaster now. The whole thing is very frustrating, given how much we now know in hindsight could have been done to help in advance. I, unfortunately, suffer from migraines. After having been completely clean on the trip, I got three migraines in a day in Louisiana, so had to go back to the hotel room around 7 pm and spend the rest of the time in bed. I was really disappointed because I wanted to see more of New Orleans and go out to get jambalaya for dinner, but at least we had seen most of what we had planned and had enjoyed our time there. I really want to go back! I'd like to talk more about the trip and post pictures, but I can't post any right now, so I'll talk a little more about it next week. :)
And as for the challenge! I had a little difficulty deciding what to propose as my challenge. The idea I ended up going with is one I've been mulling over for awhile now. Each of us will find a charity/cause we are interested in and passionate about and help that organization in some way. That could be by donating money, time, or in another way you can think of. I wanted to leave the way in which you help open because I know not everyone has spare money to donate and giving time is very valuable as well. Now, this can't just be the first charity you find. This needs to be well thought out. Spend at least a week researching different charities (the research doesn't actually have to last a week, but give yourself a week to do your research and then sleep on it before committing). The charity can be either local or worldwide, animals or people, there are no guidelines as to what kind of charity you can pick. This should be a meaningful experience for you, so please pick something important to you! In addition to the charity work, on the week we post about what we did we'll all write up a paragraph explaining the charity we chose, why we chose it, what it does, and why it's important. Hopefully we'll all find new charities/causes to support for years to come. I already have an idea of what area I want to go with this and I'm looking forward to seeing what you guys come up with. Enjoy. :)