Nashville. The name has weight. It’s a city with a history and for many it conjures up images of blue jeans, cowboy hats and country stars. That was the city in my head, but it wasn’t the city before my eyes.

As we rolled into Nashville, Jeremy and I were nearing the limit of what we were willing to endure for the day. Once we hit the city, the humidity rose, the sun beat down, traffic brought us to a crawl, and we were sick of sitting. We had been on the road for 8 or 9 hours, and the last thing we wanted to do was sweat it out as we inched toward our destination. Covered in bugs and road dirt, it goes without saying, we weren’t exactly feeling funky fresh.

But as we would learn, the tougher the ride, the more we would appreciate the destination.

We were soon saved by the good graces of our interviewee, and it wouldn’t be the last time. Lacey was kind enough to put us up pre-interview, so we could shower and hydrate. It’s a good thing too since the alternative was to look (as the kids say) like a hot mess on camera.

Jeremy took this interview on solo for reasons which may or may never be explained in the show due to the magic of editing. The short of it is, I was exploring the local landscapes and taking in as much as I could. I found Nashville fascinating. In many ways it reminded me of Brooklyn. It was young, it was active, it had great food and terrific local beers. Like many other cities in the country, it has its problems too, but my time and experience was limited to a few short hours.

That night began a 3-day BBQ binge. Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, I was like a kid in a candy shop, but I was most excited for a rare treat I’d been on the lookout for: Frito pie. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the concept, it’s pretty straightforward. A Frito bag is cut open sideways and generous portions of chili and neon yellow cheese are scooped into it. The result feels like you’re holding something responsible dog walkers will find familiar, but once you’re past that, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

I was under the impression I would find the elusive and mysterious Frito pie somewhere out in the southwest, but here it was, not so far from my own backyard. If you like terrible, gooey, overblown nachos, you’ll love this too. Think, “salty, Tex Mex, guilty pleasure” and you’ll be pretty close to the reality. I hated myself in the morning, but I loved every minute of it that night.

And that’s one of the most important lessons of travel. It’s easy to get bogged down in the negatives and feel miserable about what is going wrong, but if you open your eyes to the new experiences around you, you can’t help but have a good time. That night, Lacey showed the cast and crew an amazing time. We ate, drank, and laughed until we reluctantly headed back to our room around midnight.

Tomorrow would be another day. It would likely contain its ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade this life for the world.

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