Discovering a Bit of “Pink” on Our Adventure

Sometimes the road best traveled is the part that’s not journeyed alone. Despite this truth, no one more than me appreciates the benefits of solitude.

My motto proclaims, “Writing allows me to create a world where I’m never lonely.” And when writing, I am usually alone, except in my head, and I typically enjoy the company. So when traveling, my preferences for time alone versus spending it with others varies. I delight in the singleness when flying. Earbuds are an excellent signal to others, “Please leave me alone,” but if I am lucky and find myself next to an interesting person, I consider the company a real win.  

As our good friend Dee reminds us, “GETTING THERE IS HALF THE FUN!” And unless I am on a solo mission, nothing is better than sharing an adventure.

Recently, I took a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains, and from looking at my text messages, the journey began in February of 2023 when we booked everything. That’s when the adrenaline started to kick in. Every intentional statement between four giddy girls in their 60s over the next three months clearly showed that we desired a vacation without rules. Four New England gals scattered throughout the country, hoping for new experiences to happen, and for me— I yearn for trees. 

After twenty years in SWFL for all the warm weather and tropical living, I miss the trees with their majestic stance. They make me feel secure and are the closest to understanding immortality. In their presence, we learn to understand their language in a forest or on the side of a mountain. They teach us survival; if we let them, they may live forever. So thrilled to be soon overpowered, I envisioned them waiting for us in the Smokys. 

I can only explain how I felt as we left the airport, driving into the mountains to get to our cabin, by comparing it to the idyllic image of someone coming to this country for the first time and getting a close glimpse of our Lady of Liberty. As it wasn’t an urban experience, that sheltering feeling conquered me, and in this deep rural setting, I sensed I belonged to something bigger than myself. I also knew I wasn’t alone. 

The trip became a series of three-dimensional reels, like images you see through a view master. Some photos of the four of us reminded me of the vivid colors in a scene from Mary Poppins, of the chalk drawings on the pavement—images of the mountains, a gorge, and views from our cabin deck. And for every picture taken, maybe a cloud of pastel dust trailed behind as we jumped into the image. We found ourselves part of the natural landscape, and a bit of pink emerged among the colors. 

There was more pink to my trip than I would have imagined. While there was the absence of flamingos and the shells of crustaceans, which I am accustomed to as someone living in Florida, I began to encounter beyond what is typical. I took notice of the colorful butterflies and, at dusk, what looked like a ribbon that stretched across the mountain tops. The sky became a pinkish multi-layer of exquisiteness. It equaled, if not surpassed, a perfect ocean-horizon sunset. 

Pink became the new delicious color to devour. 

In addition to the rosy hues that were popping up everywhere, I purchased a perfect hobo bag in town at a souvenir shop with patches of pink, and what came next was the biggest splash surprise of all. We signed up for a day of exploring: The Pink Jeep Adventures Tours

On arrival, what we experienced in the parking lot looked like a pepto bismol explosion was set off, engulfing a fleet of Jeep Wranglers. We were told, “Hop in.” by a man who would escort us in one of these open-air vehicles. Our guide, Chris, would take us on a three-hour ride exploring what exists deep within those breathtaking views we were watching everywhere from every angle. We stopped and visited trails and gorges carved from the Smoky Mountains countryside along the way, reminding us, “What is so beautiful is within our reach. We just have to find how to get there.” And for each stop, we added a new image to our view master collection on our phones and within our memory bank. 

We could have made the trip independently, fumbling through maps while peeking through our SUV windows but signing up for a guided tour was the wisest decision. Mainly because “The road best traveled is the part that’s not journeyed alone and it's nice to have someone do all the driving.” Sitting in that open-aired Jeep side by side and across one another, we could converse. We listened attentively while Chris taught us about the company's history and what makes the Smokys so unique. And as he engaged us – we acted precisely the way we could expect under the spell of what was around us and the color pink.

According to Google research, pink inspires the hunger for nurturing, enticing a sense of playfulness and the urge to reminisce. I became intrigued about my new passion for pink when I read this. It wasn’t whimsically brought on by my feminine thinking. No, it crept into my consciousness as just an appealing color that brought joy. And all those Google descriptions behind the color pink, specifically shade # F699CD, shed new light on why pink is now a vital color in my life for living.

It’s not afraid to stand against its most notorious identity as a sissy color. “Yes, I said it.”

Pink, for most, has always represented what is solely effeminate, and that’s not true. Maybe its softness confuses those, primarily men, who don’t connect with it. After all, most sports franchises don’t adopt pink for their uniforms except when they’re selling merchandise to women. So, to all the men who fear being judged riding in a hot pink Jeep, get over yourselves. Each of you is just as deserving of a fantastic bonding experience in a rugged open-air Jeep as anyone. 

My final thoughts are to embrace the journey with others, even when they start out as strangers; remember, there is always that time alone to reflect. Hold onto the things that bring you the most joy, and don’t be afraid to identify with something that makes you feel different. After all, who's really looking at you? And lastly, find that little bit of color in your life that makes you smile.

You may be surprised, perhaps tickled pink.


--by Jill Modell-Dion 

***This story is for my Smoky Mountain buddies, Dee, Carol and Cheryl. You are  the best travelers on the road to anywhere and everywhere!!

***Also my thanks to our guide Chris and the whole Pink Jeep Adventure Tours back in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee
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Some pics of our trip






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  • Dee on

    Loved this. Such a great trip. I have recommended Pink Jeep Tours to everyone. You are a wonderful writer. Where are we going next?

  • Shelley on

    fabulous piece, fabulous trip, fabulous YOU!

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