Hey there. My name’s Pat, and as of February 1st, 2020, I became a misplaced Pennsylvanian and one of the many newest residents of Asheville. I’m a content writer at VirtualJobShadow.com, an Asheville-based ed-tech college and career readiness platform where I write about the confluence of education, technology, and the world of work at large, but this isn’t LinkedIn, so I’ll stop. You could visit me there though, if you’re so inclined.
I mention it only because work is what’s brought me to Asheville and I highly recommend checking my company out. I’m also a former high school English teacher and job shadow coordinator, and would’ve loved to have had the VirtualJobShadow.com platform available to help out my students back when I was in the classroom. I’m not just saying this to blow smoke for my bosses if they’re reading this either (but if you guys are, please note my off-hours endorsing!), but because I wouldn’t have relocated 10 hours away from home if it wasn’t for a company and product I really believed in, but once again, I’ll stop. Much as this isn’t LinkedIn, it also isn’t an ad.
In fact, my goal’s for this blog to feel as little like an advertisement as possible. I don’t want you to read about my experiences and be able to see the blatant grabs for sponsorship. I have a corresponding Instagram account, since I realize the youths want pictures and not my long-form ramblings, and it says right at the top that I’m not trying to motivate or inspire you. I’m just someone who loves the written word, and the last thing I’d want to do is sell you products under the guise of sharing my life. I’m here because I love to write, love experiencing new places, and have always thought more people should explore their own backyards. That being said, if you’re a local brewery, bookstore, outdoor outfitter, bakery, restaurant that specializes in chicken & waffles, or by some stroke of luck, the Narragansett marketing department is reading this, I’m not only open, but eager to throw my integrity out the window and influence the shit out of anyone reading this. Just don’t come at me with diuretic tea… unless you have a check with four zeroes.
Up until this past month, I’ve lived in Pennsylvania my entire life. I tell people I grew up in Scranton, but the truth is it was a small blip on the map about a half hour north of there the failing New York Times once likened to a gulag. I did go to college in Scranton, and also completed a 5-year stint in Lancaster. I truly loved growing up, living in, and exploring PA and her surrounding areas. I run another blog, www.PAWeekendFun.com, that’s currently on hiatus-ish since I’m no longer based there, but feel free to check it out. Pennsylvania being underrated is a hill I’m willing to die on. You know what’s not underrated? Asheville. People love Asheville.
If you check out my PAWeekendFun goodbye post, you’ll see that my new hometown’s been somewhere that’s been on my radar as a place for me to visit for years. There’s so much going on here, and since I’ve accepted my position in October, my Asheville to-do list has only continued to grow. I’m psyched to start checking it off, checking out all the new Asheville-based adventures that comes my way, and psyched to have this new platform to share my musings.
I think I’ve been doing decent so far. Three weeks in and I’ve been to 10 breweries for at least one beer (several for more than one). I’ve waited 20 minutes at Hole for overpriced, artisanal donuts, which were good, but didn’t dissuade me from my opinion that artisanal donuts don’t need to exist unless Krispy Kreme goes under. I’ve eaten at Farm Burger several times, hiked the Linville Gorge on a gorgeous but freezing Saturday morning, have been spending too much time and money at used bookstores, became a member at one lovely dive bar, and really went full Asheville by buying a coffee table made of reclaimed wood at a very “quirky” consignment store (the cashier was wearing a unicorn onsie while noisily sucking down a Capri Sun…). All I really need to go full-local are a few tattoos, an Avett Brothers t-shirt, and well, I already have my vaguely “artistic” side hustle right here!
Jokes aside, I’m really excited to be here. I remember flying in to visit for the first time back in November, just as the sun was setting over the Blue Ridge Mountains, and thinking, “yeah, this was a good call.” I thought the same thing when I opened the patio door of my apartment for the first time a few weeks ago and was greeted with this view:
Please follow along as I explore my newly adopted hometown, attempt to find a local chocolate milk that rivals Turkey Hill, continue to explain to people that Scranton is a real place and not a fictional city created for The Office, and do my best to continue to say “you all” instead of “ya’ll.”