1. MUSICIANS PURSUING THEIR PASSION | This may be my favorite reason to visit Nashville. As someone who appreciates listening to live music I also have a deep sense of gratitude for the musicians who determinedly pursue their talents to make it to a stage where I’m welcomed to experience it. I grew up with country music, but I also grew up with the “classic rock” music my dad listened to when he was growing up, something I innocently believed was shared merely between us. Nashville made me realize that there’s no matter where you are there will always be the songs that defined an era of time that we all share in reminiscing. Regardless of your musical preference, the variation of musicians you encounter in Nashville is one undiscovered yet by another place. I don’t know of many things that can bring people together quite like the sound of live music or a familiar tune, but I do know it has been the experience of music that has brought me closer to the kind of human connections I seek to find in my everyday life.
2. JACK DANIELS MUSIC CITY NYE, Music note drop. | If you’re ever looking for something different to do for your New Year’s Eve celebration, I suggest checking out the Jack Daniels Music City NYE. A totally free concert series that ends with a unique twist to the traditional ball drop, instead you watch as a music note drops to the countdown of the New Year. I truly enjoy any opportunity to switch up traditional plans and ideas and this New Years Eve was a pleasant reminder that I need to continue to do so. Even with the temperature below zero and the beer freezing in my hand faster than I could manage drinking it I could feel what it meant to live in serenity. I’ve never taken for granted the times I’ve gotten to experience things my parents never did at my age, but I will say the moment Cheap Trick came on the stage and I watched as a lady in front of me began to sob I had to reevaluate my level of indebtedness. An encounter I’ve carried with me every time I’m standing in a moment that demands to be thankful for and it’s recognizing these moments that has allowed me to relieve that same peacefulness I once uncovered.
3. DARE TO RIDE THE BULL | Here’s one thing I said I was NOT going to do in Nashville. If you’re like me then you probably think that the people who pay the five dollars, or whatever fee it is, to ride a mechanical bull in a bar probably have a lot more to prove that their bull riding skills. Just to be frank, I had nothing to prove and I knew what the outcome was of riding a mechanical bull, so I never understood the purpose of trying it. If you’re not like me then you probably think people like me care way too much what other people think. And for that assumption, you’d be correct. I’m not sure why, perhaps my opinions broadcasted on my face served as an invitation, but the guy sitting at the table next to me dared me to ride it. For a girl who says she has nothing to prove there’s nothing like a dare to incent me in confirming my capabilities when questioned. It goes without saying, I ended up riding the bull. Here’s one thing I didn’t think I’d discover in Nashville, an event to challenge what I assume. Large or small we encounter opportunities every day to decide but it’s this profound encounter I hope to meet again in daring to let go.
4. INTERRUPTIONS OF VIRTUOSITY | Nashville is filled with them and I wish I would have had more time to see them all. Paint combined with the texture and magnitude of architecture has always been one of my favorite forms of art. Although these murals have been around for quite some time I believe the rise in social media has brought them more attention, as they deserve. I also believe it has slightly hindered our ability to appreciate the degree of virtuosity in which they were created. I’m always hesitant taking pictures of art and there’s a reason you can’t have cameras in most galleries, not that I could recreate what was in front of me, but I’m always afraid I’ll miss the experience of it. An interruption you get only once, as it occurs in a flash and when you aren’t looking for it, it’s a nice pause to our usual thought process. When I didn’t reach for my camera at every mural I observed my appreciation in the coincidental moment of aptitude and my eagerness to meet it again.
5. STRANGE FAMILIARITIES | This one was fun, but I will admit the idea of it at first seemed odd. If words didn’t carry their connotations with them so vigorously have you ever thought about what you might try? Take the word, Hostel, which is, in fact, a place that provides shelter for those who need it (and yes in a less expensive way) however the word when you hear it often suggests something dark and terrifying. And I think perhaps the glorification of a shocking experience made into a Hollywood movie named Hostel is to blame for my unwillingness to never consider staying in one. This hostel was the opposite of what I thought it would be and the people I stayed with were memorable in a way that reminded me of my own friends. I was oddly surprised how much I looked forward to coming back to this place each night and how unenthusiastic I was having to pardon from a group of people I’d never known before. I have since stayed in two more hostels. The openness of trusting people you’ve never met in order to know them in a way only a shared experience can grant is an unknown yet regular encounter we’ve all had in the start of any friendship. Thank you, Nashville, for showing me that even though people and places may be unfamiliar to me today I should seek the opportunity to experience what they may reveal tomorrow.
Leaving Nashville New Year’s Day was hard and not just because of a roaring headache I had from the night before. It’s interesting what a change in environment can help you to unveil about yourself and maybe it isn’t unique to where you are but who you are in that exact moment. The end of 2017 and the end of my trip to Nashville was distinctive to me and what I could uncover but as I leave this place I look forward to my next encounter.