That Time I Went on an Adventure

I love Incarnate and Asunder by Jodi Meadows. There is something amazing and magical about those books. When I saw that Jodi was hosting several giveaways for her writing anniversary I knew I had to check it out. She has several giveaways going on that you can check out here. For the arc of Infinite entry she gave us this challenge:

To win a signed ARC of INFINITE, write a blog post about a time you went on an adventure, or made a difficult decision that would impact the rest of your life.

I have been very fortunate in my life so far in that I haven’t had to make very difficult decisions that would impact the rest of my life. The biggest thing that I have had to deal with was moving from Michigan to Tennessee halfway through my senior year of high school. That wasn’t MY decision though. That was my parents. Any other choice that I’ve had to make that has deeply impacted my life hasn’t been difficult to make. So here is a time I went on an adventure.

May 2011 started off like any other month. School was out for the summer so I was working full time at JCPenney (where I am still working). I spent the days I wasn’t working hanging out with my best friend, Erin. For a while, even before the movie was announced, my other friend, Courtney, had been talking about this book that I HAD to read. I put it off for a really long time and then I saw the announcement that they were making a film out of the book. The Hunger Games. Of course I read the book and fell in love with it just as Courtney had said for a long time I would.

There is a fantastic website I frequented that tells all about what movies are filming where and we had used this site to visit the set of Water for Elephants when it was filming a few hours from us. (In a turn of events I moved to where they were filming and pass one of the locations every day on my way to school) One day while checking the site, Erin and I discovered that they were filming Hunger Games in North Carolina. We lived in Knoxville so it was only a few more hours away. The next day Erin and I were on our way to Asheville. (Hotel courtesy of her mother’s rewards points)

I had never gone on a road trip before out of state without a parent and definitely never gone so far away before. It was this really crazy, scary, liberating moment. The first time I was off on my own somewhere. The scary thought being what if something happened to us and we had no one to help us?

We made it to Ashville in a few hours, checked into our hotel, and then got our laptops out and scoped out where we would be going. We had the name of a road for the first location and that was it. There was no address or city or anything else to tell us where we would be going. But we had the road. The next morning we got up packed all of our things up and drove even more hours away from Asheville.

We had a road name. Apparently that was enough. Welcome to DISTRICT 12!!

(Photo of my car and me talking on the phone there for proof that I really was there lol)

It was amazing to be there. They weren’t filming there that day, but you can see that they still had the bakery done up.

Throughout the rest of the day we went to three different filming locations. Part of what made the trip so much fun was the little amount of information we had to go off of. Like I said before, we had the name of a road and that was it. One little road in all of North Carolina. We hoped it was the right one. For the second location we went to a state part where they filmed the arena scenes. That one was much easier to find. Then we moved onto the location where they filmed the reaping. This was by far the hardest location to find.

We drove to downtown Shelby and it was frightening to be in the middle of an unknown city in a little shiny red car that stood out like a sore thumb. We had a picture of a building to go off and that was it. For this particular location we had no street name or anything. We had a picture.

This picture

And this was the building. I know it doesn’t look like it because they painted over it, removed a panel for filming, and we were at a different angle, but trust me, it was. (we know because people who were there during filming took video of the area so we used their videos to tell us where to go)

That was the last stop for us that day before heading home to Tennessee. It was such an incredible trip. It was last minute and spontaneous and for someone like me who loves to plan WAY WAY in advance and needs every detail it was refreshing and freeing to do something like this. I got to be away from my family for the first time, and I mean really away across state lines where they couldn’t get to me easily if I needed them, but it gave me a sense of independence and responsibility to make sure everything was going okay. (Although things did get a little scary in Shelby at one point, but shhh don’t tell my parents) There was also the thrill of the hunt while we tried to find all of the places. Apparently now there are websites dedicated just to this and will tell you exactly how to get there. While it would have been easier with those directions, I wouldn’t have changed the experience for anything.