Returning to Mississippi to embrace people is going to be special. My family moved to Starkville, Mississippi briefly when I was a kid and I recall my time in the Magnolia State fondly.
The attched picture is my 4th grade pic from Ward Elemenary School.
For hugs, I will be at Cups Cafe, The Mississippi Capitol Building and Hal and Mal's bar.
Here is an excerpt from my best selling book Traveling at the Speed of Life about biking in Mississippi:
My first bicycle expedition was in fourth grade when my family and I had literally just moved to Starkville, Mississippi from Philadelphia.
Within hours of our arrival, my restless energy was driving everyone crazy. So, to ease tensions, my mother said something that gave me the ultimate green light.
“Just go out and ride.”
Without a care in the world, I grabbed my bike with its purple banana seat and pedaled out into the surrounding farmland with only my tremendous thirst for exploring to guide me. I ripped through Starkville’s rural streets, screaming “Hellooooo” as loudly as I could to anyone or anything that could hear me, until it started to get dark.
Starkville, Mississippi is not Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Without nearly as many streetlights, night falls hard. My little heart pounded furiously as I pedaled through the unfamiliar graveled streets with one eye on the darkening horizon and the other on the road. As the encroaching night amplified my fear, along with every sound I heard, I remember thinking that what I felt must be the exact feeling that the vampire hunters in the movies must feel. Frightened by my own thoughts, I raced through the streets and eventually barreled through the doorway of our new home.
Once inside, I looked out the window and across the blackened acres that surrounded me and smiled. The ride was not that far, but it was a big stepping stone for me, because I had made it through a vast territory: my own fear.