My upcoming weekend will be spent in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina. I was raised in a small town, but I consider Charleston where I “literally grew up.” I went there a naive kid, who hadn’t seen much of the world or met many people different than myself. I left a well-traveled and open-minded woman, who had just landed a
super low paying job in politics. Charleston taught me many things, including (but not limited to) the appreciation for history and the need to preserve it, that bourbon could fix a bad day, to embrace tourism and the tourists that come along with it, how to parallel park like a pro, what exceptional shrimp and grits taste like, how much I love the ocean and the smell of marsh – and how to walk in heels under any circumstances (cobblestone streets are no joke, y’all). It’s where I met some of my best friends and made some of my favorite memories. Every time I return, I am reminded how much it, and the people and experiences that went along with my years there, shaped me.
Pat Conroy wrote my all-time favorite quote about Charleston. It sums up how those of us that have lived there and since moved will always feel about her.
“Charleston has a landscape that encourages intimacy and partisanship. I have heard it said that an inoculation to the sights and smells of the Carolina lowcountry is an almost irreversible antidote to the charms of other landscapes, other alien geographies. You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the lowcountry, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes.”
― Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline