This week I’m beginning my around-the-world adventure, which will last five months. I hope you’ll enjoy following me as I blog about my travels.

As a world traveler I have come to appreciate home in a way I used to take for granted.

Lake Eola

Sunrise over Lake Eola

At the moment my home is Florida. In my bedroom I have floor-to-ceiling windows facing east. I keep the blinds up at night so that every morning I’m greeted by a spectacular sunrise. I make sure to savor my view every morning.

I’ve come to think that, although I’ll certainly see many beautiful things in the months to come, I won’t see anything more beautiful than the Florida sunrise in all its changing glory day after day.

I left Florida earlier this week and am now in Durham, North Carolina. Durham used to be my home, and I know it well. What’s amazing about Durham these days is, when I go away for four or five months, as I just have, I return to a dynamically changed town.

In my stories I love to use setting as a character.

Note: See my blog The Sense of Place in My Novels.

My most recent story, Love After All, is set in both New York City and Durham.

Note: I’ve already written about how I use New York City in this book. See my blog Love After All.

Love After All is, part, my love letter/wish-you-were-here postcard from Durham. The story takes place in April at the time of the Duke reunion, which is upon us.

Here’s a quick description from the point of view of Laurel, my heroine, of Durham’s reviving downtown:

“A few minutes before six, I walk down Main Street to Five Points where I pause to take it all in. I cannot believe how many people are out and about. I’m from New York, but that’s not my point of reference. It’s what Durham was hardly even six or seven years ago, a downtown whose heyday was maybe the 1950s, after which its slump into irrelevance was long and steady. And now, all of a sudden, like so many other American cities in the post-manufacturing era, it’s a magnet for twenty- and thirty-somethings. Call it a mid-sized city Renaissance, nationwide. For the first time ever in the Research Triangle, Durham eclipses both Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

“At Five Points alNorth Carolinaone there are two tapas bars, a wood-fired pizza place, a cupcake shop, a wine shop, a cool women’s clothing store, a hipster bar, and a New Orleans style café, not to mention the Durham Arts Council. Further down Main Street I see Dain’s Chicken and Waffles that has had lines out its doors since it first opened some years ago.”

At Five Points, three streets intersect, making five points. Chapel Hill Street enters from the lower right side of the image and continues toward the upper left side. Main Street enters from the lower left of the image and continues toward the upper right. The fifth street, running out from the center to the middle left, is Morris Street.Main Street Durham North Carolina

This odd intersection insures that driving in Durham is somewhat chaotic, because the streets radiate out through town at odd angles and often twist and turn. I once heard they were originally old cow paths.

Durham has become known as a foodie town, and rightly so. New restaurants are opening up all the time, and they have to be good. Today I met friends for lunch at a relatively new place, Luna Rotisserie and Empanadas. I had almond encrusted deep fried avocado with corn salsa and jicama kale salad. Yum!

It’s on Main Street a few blocks east of Five Points. What Luna currently looks out onto is a blocked-off Main Street looking a lot like this:

Luna

Tomorrow I’m off to San Francisco for a few days before going on to Japan. When I finish my trip in August in Durham, I am sure the town will have changed even more! Maybe Main Street will even be completely open by then.

My few days in Durham this week have made it an exciting place to begin a world adventure.

Final note: Love After All will be on Amazon in the next few weeks.