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For our last spring break from Hopkins, my roommate Kira and I decided to go on a roadtrip. We both wanted two things: a new(ish) landscape and warmer weather. She wanted the desert: I wanted a million trees, mountains, and a big lake in, I don’t know, Montana or something. We compromised, seeing as Montana in March didn’t really seem like the best M.O., and we drove down the Blue Ridge Parkway, into the Blue Ridge Mountains. Spoiler alert: we did no homework on this trip.

Crossing the VA border felt incredibly triumphant, as Kira shows with her sun salutation here. But our first actual stop was in Roanoke for one night, a very (very) small town a few hours south of the border. We stayed in a sweet Airbnb owned by a nice couple — an artist and a massage therapist (the latter’s business cards were in our room) — and found it very difficult to leave. Very.

Thank God we brought our JOURNALS

Next up was Asheville, in which we ate many delicious things and bought many books. The drive down the Parkway, though, may have been the best part.

Our final stay was two nights in Sylva, NC, a small town just south-ish of Asheville. We didn’t actually learn this until we got there, stayed a night, and went to the local public library (not for schoolwork — it’s beautiful and old and on a hill and we were being tourists), but Sylva is where Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri was filmed. There were tiny glass case displays about it inside the library. We were walking in the shoes of Frances McDormand and Woody Harrelson, and we didn’t even know it.

Between the mountains and the towns, we had a wonderful last break, though it didn’t feel like our last. It was nice meeting people who knew the Baltimore area, asked us how we liked it, asked us what Hopkins was like: a good home base to represent, in our way. But, then, it was also good to feel completely removed from Hopkins as well, immersed in new places where people didn’t know us. Good to stay off the computer, good to read books not for school and write things not for school, sitting on a windowseat with mountains as the view. (I sat here a lot.)

And it was good to breathe atop a mountain or two.