Standing on a dock in an old Georgia fishing village with a small sailboat high and dry in the mud and our guide cursing herself because she had packed not a complete pair of shoes, but one of her husband’s Chacos and one of her own, I probably should have been thinking, “What have I gotten myself into?”

On the contrary, you couldn’t have slapped the smile off my face!

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It was a beautiful morning with the sun angled across the vibrant green saltmarsh and illuminating the working shrimp boats stacked two and three deep against the docks just to the right of us. We were about to board a shrimp boat of our own, the Capt. Gabby, a wooden shrimper that has been converted into a kayaking mother ship.

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The Capt. Gabby was about to leave Valona, GA and for the next three days work our way through the waters surrounding Sapelo Island and Blackbeard Island. With four other guests on board in addition to our guide and captain, we got a quick tour of the boat and pushed away from the dock.
It wasn’t long before we were launching kayaks into the Duplin River, a tidal creek separating Sapelo Island and Little Sapelo Island. Paddling with the tide out to the Doboy Sound on the south end of Sapelo Island where we met our mother ship for lunch.

laura-early-8Anchored in a perfect spot, we enjoyed our lunch with a view of the red-and-white striped lighthouse and a pristine beach surrounded by acres of saltmarsh. We weren’t alone, though. A pod of dolphins circled the Capt. Gabby, periodically coming up for air. Each time they surfaced was like a little surprise, and we all instantly smiled and pointed in the direction of the poosh! of the dolphin taking a gulp of air.

We spent the rest of the daylight hours fly fishing on the marsh flats, picking through treasures on a deserted beach, and marveling at the breeding plumage of the regal birds lined up against the waterline.

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Just as the sun sank to the horizon, we pulled anchor and got underway to our “sleeping spot,” a spot so calm that there weren’t even any waves to rock us to sleep. After a day of adventuring, I was having no trouble going to sleep. After a delicious dinner of Brunswick stew and cornbread crumbles, it was all I could do to keep my open while we did the dishes.

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There is something wild about being out on the water. We weren’t more than 10 miles from where we began our trip, but sitting on water like glass banked by rippling grass, capped by the night sky, I felt like I was a million miles from anything. As my fellow passengers and crew began to settle in for the night, I felt like I was a million miles from any other person. As I sat out in the chill of the night air under a moon so bright it lit the pages of my journal, I was overcome with the closeness to nature. Again, even though I couldn’t see them, I knew the dolphins were surrounding the boat by the intermittent poosh-es as they came up for air.

laura-early-1The next couple of days were filled with kayaking in new territory amongst the marsh grasses and tidal creeks between Sapelo and Blackbeard Islands, hiking through old-growth maritime forest, and climbing through skeletons of that forest on a beautiful beach.

I’ve always had big dreams about travel and adventure. Stories of far away jungles, tropical coral reefs, and wide-open savannahs spark my imagination, curiosity, and wanderlust, but I have realized recently that you don’t have to travel across the world to find adventure. There are endless opportunities right under our noses.

laura-early-5Over the past couple of years, I have lived in some great places for adventure, places that attract vacationers from all over the world. I regret that I got too caught up in working and didn’t take advantage of exploring those areas while I had the opportunity. Right now, I live and work on the Georgia coast, which is wild and wonderful in so many ways that I can’t even begin to elaborate on. One of my new endeavors is to explore close to home as much as I can because who knows when a new and exciting reason to move might come up!

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