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26 nov201826

The Magic of Tree Hill and Capeside

Wilmington, United StatesWilmington, United States
Hollywood East - that is how sometimes people call Wilmington. From a small English colony in 1720s (first permanent settlement) to a place that is known all over the world (to a limited few) and a cultural hub in the eastern parts of North Carolina with a population over 120 000 in a matter of three centuries. Quite impressive if you ask me!

When I was in New York I knew I had to leave it as the cost of living there is way too high. After having decided to visit Sam in Clayton I had to think about my next move. It had been the first time when I didn't have a clear direction where to go. My contract with MovingWorlds was finished and I didn't have anything new in the pipeline, so the world was my oyster!

I decided why not go to Wilmington. I have always wanted to do that and recently I was even reminded that 15 years ago I did tell somebody special that I would go there one day. 15 years ago I was still in high-school and I would never have believed had somebody told me that I would get there a decade and a half later. 

Until about 2014-2015 Wilmington was a thriving movie hub where magicians produced shows like Dawson's Creek, One Tree Hill, and Seepy Hollow; and movies like Iron Man 3,  Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and over 300 movies. All of them were filmed in the EUE/Screen Gems studios and on the streets of Wilmington. I started watching One Tree Hill thanks to Natalia and Marzena who introduced it to me sometime in 2004.  {"type" : "www", "url" : ",_North_Carolina", "date" : "19 November 2018", "author" : "Wikipedia", "title" : "Wilmington, North Carolina"}

We all know that what's on television is just fiction, same as books, comics, and everything else that people make to entertain us in different way. To me, especially after having been watching classic movies for overy two years now, it's a little bit different. I don't see a distinction between fiction/real. Who says what's real? I see the stories that people wrote and those stories come from their experiences mixed with other people's stories creating a unique landscape of human emotions. Add to it the desire to give people ability to relate and connect, and perhaps a glimpse of how to make decisions in this crazy world, and you don't just have a movie or a show. You have a means to convey messages that not everybody gets from their friends, books, parents, or school. 
The view from the Battleship Park

I started searching for places to stay and found a room downtown on AirBnb. I asked for 2-3 days to make sure my travelling plans align with the dates I chose and just when I was ready too book it somebody snatched it from me and booked it for over two months. Giving up wasn't an option so I started looking on Craigslist and Facebook. That's what I did when I was about to come to Peru an it turned out perfectly, so I signed up for Wilmington Facebook group and posted an ad. 

Couple of people responded but I started talking only to one, Lynn, who after twoo weeks of vetting process, agreed to rent a room to me. One of the many things I have learnt so far thanks to travelling is that even when there are no plans or an obstacle happens to appear, the universe has a way of correcting it. It has been 50 days since I arrive and I am so glad that everything worked out the way it did!

And then Florence came.. The strongest hurricane in recent decades. At one point Florence was bumped to Category 4 and we had to evacuate. I have gone back to Clayton for few weeks and Lynn with her friend went to Greensboro. Imagine my surprise - what are the chances that just when I decide to visit a certain city there's a huge hurricane coming that could wipe it out? Yes I wanted to do the math but realised it would be way out of my league. Thankfully when I was in Clayton I watched the hurricane unveil and decrease its category to 1.  I've never been anywhere near a hurricane and at first I wanted to stay in Wilmington but at that time it was going to be a disaster and Lynn didn't want to risk me getting crushed by a tree :) 

Few weeks later I arrived back to Wilmington and started exploring the city. Of course the filming locations were the top of my list and I have already visisted few of them. One of the most beautiful things are all the messages people leave in those places. Yes in most cases when you just sign your name on a bench or wall it's just a vandalism. Is it the same here? I don't think so. However subjective it is, to me the line is apparent: in these places people want to feel connected to the feelings that this place made them feel. 

Some of those messages might seem overexaggerated like "Thank you for giving me life" but you just have to realise how much change people on the screen can bring into your own life.
One of the main locations of OTH
After two weeks I settled in in my new reality. Found my spots in the city like Brooklyn Cafe or Dam Tree Park but most importantly found a place where I can play pool. It's the oldest establishment in the US. The pool place, located in the basement, has still got original structure from the 1800s!

Despite of the everlasting joy of moving from place to place one of my core needs is work. Anybody who knows me can agree that I am a workaholic, though probably not as big as I used to be. My work with MovingWorlds had finished and unfortunately could not be extended so I have been on the lookout for new opportunities. I found one, great company but after three interviews and technical exam I was told I wanted too much money even though I had told them I didn't know what I want.  Talk about irony since I would be willing to work for far less than others for the right job - I learnt the importance of feeling good at a workplace over the salary since I left UK...

Week after week had passed and I grew to like Wilmington. One day I decided to visit USS North Carolina (BB-55), a battleship that took part in Battle of Solomons in August 1942, cruised over 300 000 miles, and took part in nine shore bombardments. {"type" : "www", "url" : "", "date" : "25 November 2018", "author": "Wikipedia", "title" : "USS North Carolina (BB-55)"} 
The look from outside
I wouldn't call myself a history addict but I can still enjoy looking through a portal to the past like this. The ship is almost in perfect state despite its decommissioning in 1947 and to this date is taken care of by volunteers. On December 10 it will have been exactly 22 years since the memorial was officialy opened to the public. It took me over 2.5 hours to see the whole ship and I feel luck to have been able to see it without many people on board. At one time music started playing through the internal radios, something from the 30s - as some of you can imagine - my feet started tapping. Other time I sat on a bench near the privates' quarters. Simple bunk beds, not a lot of space ut I closed my eyes and tried to see what it was like to live on that ship or any ship. 
It's one of my favourite brain exercises. To stretch my imagination to the limits by seeing the things the way they were in the past, feel for a split second what the people could have felt like, and appreciate the fact that I can still experience it. I do it everywhere. On a hill in Edinburgh, walking down the streets in Brooklyn, on a ship in Wilmington, on a beach in El Porvenir, or in the valley in Cusco - each place has a unique history that is not always visible to the naked eye. That's when I try to imagine it by myself and let my brain take over...
Control panel for The "Big Guns" - 16-inch battery
Right about now I was going to go to Mexico. First time during my journey I have nowhere to go and by that I mean I have no job, no volunteering, nobody to visit, so the world was open to me and I could choose my next step. This time I wanted to do exactly that - go somewhere I will be totally alone and without knowing anybody see how things play out. I was planning to leave for Mexico at the end of November and stay until I want to go to Europe, to my beloved Valencia to be precise, but I changed my mind. I was asked to stay a little bit longer and one thing I learnt during my travel (of many) is that universe will present you unexpected crossroads and when opportunity appears - you have to take it.

Therefore my trip to Mexico is postponed. For now I will finish 2018 in Tree Hill, welcome New Year even though calendar year doesn't have so much significance to me anymore. More often than not time becomes more linear rather than cyclical. Seasons are whatever I choose. Do I want spring - let's go to Medellín! Summer? Perhaps Honduras Winter? Canada it is. I think such choice gives me freedom I've always wanted. The only fear is that I think it will be difficult, if not close to impossible, to give up such freedom...
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