Leaving it at the bridge…
It’s that feeling we experience deep within our souls when land turns to water, and nothing but a bridge separates us from the narrow sandbar known as the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It’s that sigh of relief when we leave our problems on the other side of that bridge, and cruise highway twelve with the windows down. The salty air makes us yearn for our first Atlantic Ocean bath of the week, and the pure beauty of it all keeps us coming back year after year.
People often ask me what it’s like living on the Outer Banks full time. Something about fall (in particular) seems to overwhelm my heart with joy. It’s almost as if the energy from the summer finally settles down, and everything seems to kick back and relax. The air is crisp, the water is warm, and the ocean starts producing swell. As a native Outer Banks surfer, everything revolves around the ocean. My mood is directly affected by the tide, my blood runs red with salt water, and my toes get along very well with the course Outer Banks sand. “What’s it like living on the Outer Banks full time?” – Breaking the cardinal rule of communication, I answer a question with a question; “have you ever been here in the fall?”
Sometimes I wonder if we truly enjoy everything the Outer Banks has to offer. We seem so caught up in the hustle that we forget to stop and look around at the raw natural beauty of it all. Just the other day I was in Rodanthe, and I witnessed an amazing moment take place between a boy and his father. I was looking at the ocean (as I do frequently every day) and I heard this young boy (about 8 years old) ask his father if he could go swimming. His father replied “no, we have to go back to the house and get cleaned up for dinner”. The boy looked upset and said “but Dad, look how nice this is, we’ve been here for 2 days already, and we’ve spent most of our time inside the house getting ready to get in the car and then go inside again. Can I just swim for a few minutes?” – His father looked at him with a smile, took off his shirt, wrapped his sunglasses and cell phone in it and ran towards the water yelling “last one in is a rotten egg!”
For me, that moment symbolized everything the Outer Banks stands for. It was obvious that the father hadn’t been able to let loose all year. But all it took was a catalyst (his son) to break the strong grasp that life tends to have on us all, and I could tell that the rest of their vacation was going to be different. The Outer Banks truly is a magical place, and I feel blessed every day to wake up and drive south to Hatteras Island. I may not be able to directly share that feeling with everyone, but I can do my best to show people who can’t be there. Social media has opened up a new realm of exposure. It is my privilege to share my home with all of you. At this point in my life, there is nothing I’d rather be doing.
When you come to the Outer Banks, try to erase all of the noise, the buildings, the cars, the concrete, and focus on the natural beauty of it all. Our local businesses are great perks, but the real star is the Outer Banks itself.