It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present in us; it is the very sign of His presence.
I’m curious if the deep yearning for wanderlust is more prevalent in 2020 than it has been in any previous year. This new decade has begun by handing us the most unexpected season any of us could have possibly imagined. But while our world has been thrown into a chaotic limbo, human goodness is as present as ever. We have had the opportunity to really evaluate what is important versus what is excess, and to ask ourselves if we are helping or if we are hurting. I’ve been one of the lucky ones whose personal quarantine adventures have included lots of time snuggled with my kids, athleisure wear, cooking, hand washing, writing, and Zoom calls. I’ve gotten to pause. During this time, my eyes have been opened to all that I have and all that is around me. Researching stories for this issue has made me fall deeper in love with the South. The history, culture, landscape, biodiversity, and future all feel brighter and richer than before.
While you may be more eager than ever to explore, the world is still spinning towards the unknown—awaiting an introduction to our new normal that can feel a bit like an arranged marriage that we didn’t sign up for. Humankind understands that we can’t control our circumstances, but we can surrender to the gratitude of what we do have. We can reinvent our inner selves and revisit what has always been with us. What more perfect time than now to rediscover the places you’ve always had close by?
The idea for our Wild South issue came to us pre-corona. It was already planned as an ode to the beauty and adventure that thrives in the bottom right corner of the United States. As this pandemic hit us, it became even more important for us to pay homage to the places that we may sometimes take for granted. Just when you think that great adventures, beautiful scenery, and historical monuments require a plane ticket and passport, we are here to remind you that you have it all in your region’s backyard. This issue features the places in the South where the adventure already required social distancing and was best enjoyed with a group of fewer than 10. It is the resurrection of the road trip and the remembrance that when the world tells us that others have it better, we can choose to love what we’ve got. Welcome back to the Wild South.