by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
How many times in your life have you gone on a road trip from point A to B and never thought once to stop along the way?
I think it's very easy to do. We're so concerned about getting to where we're going that we don't even think that we should stop and smell the roses along the way. And in my recent travels, I took to heart the stopping and smelling the roses quite literally.
My plan on my journey back to Vegas was to take my time and enjoy the sights. How often does one get the chance of driving across country? I wanted to enjoy as much of it as I could and I did.
After Graceland I stopped at the Memphis Botanical Gardens where I enjoyed roses, outdoor sculptures and a Japanese Zen garden. Quite beautiful and glad I took the time. It rejuvenated me for the rest of my journey.
I also decided to make a stop for lunch at the Armadillo Botanical Gardens on my way through. It was quaint, but worth the visit. They have a butterfly garden, art sculptures throughout and a lovely pond area. I sat and read and enjoyed a beautiful day in Texas.
So, next time you travel, take the time to enjoy the journey. You won't regret it.
by Jocelyn Paige Kelly
On my way back to Vegas from Wilmington, North Carolina, I knew I'd go through Memphis.
The moment I realized this I kept hearing that famous Paul Simon song playing in my head. For weeks I kept singing, "I'm going to Graceland, Graceland, Memphis, Tennessee" just because I couldn't get the song out of my head. Ear worm.
Then, I asked myself, "Why not go to Graceland?"
I'd never been and didn't remember how much I knew about Elvis, his songs and life until I got there. I grew up listening to Elvis, my parents both having been fans and having seen him in concert once before his death. On my drive across country I listened and sung "Burning Love" to "Hound Dog" to "Viva Las Vegas" over and again.
And it ignited a fire inside my heart that made me very grateful for my journey to Graceland.
You see, for a lot a of people going to Graceland is like a spiritual pilgrimage. It's a journey to a place that feels sacred because it's treated with honor and respect by everyone who enters. It displays the life of a man's successes and struggles, his pain and sorrows, and shows very easily how much he was loved and how much he loved others.
Seeing Graceland is like experiencing the realization of one man's journey of the American Dream. All the good, all the bad, and all the ugly.
Above, I took photographs of the bridge from the Heartbreak Hotel to Graceland. I was in awe over the number of signatures and words left from visitors over the many years. Some are just generic signatures or claims of being here. Others extremely heartfelt and personal.
At the end of my journey, I curled up in my hotel room and enjoyed watching the Elvis Channel. Most of the programming was concert performances and interviews, but I did get to see a few movies. My favorite was Jailhouse Rock.
I left Graceland feeling a bit wistful, yet happy. It were almost as if I left a part of myself in Graceland while getting something else in exchange. Maybe everyone who goes feels this way.