Dear Jane,

For the first time in at least 2 years, I got to take a vacation.

A few months ago my dad and I were having a typical conversation about the holidays, when he suddenly mentioned that the day after Christmas, he was planning on high-tailing it to the Florida Keys for 10 days. Naturally, I invited myself…

The trip was incredible. I went to Harry Potter World and stayed on a boat with a vegan Jamaican and her boyfriend. I walked miles in the rain and read Jane Austen on the beach and hung out on a pier with about 20 iguanas of all shapes and sizes. I had Banana Pancakes from a local diner that could make a grown man cry from ecstasy. Did I mention I love my Dad? The best part anyway was the road-trip conversations about the people of our past and present and future.

One of the things I was most anxious to accomplish on this trip was to finish reading Pride and Prejudice. My wonderful best friend gave me what I like to call the “Jane Austen Bible” for Christmas, which contains every book she ever wrote (sigh…) I had tried to conquer Austen novels before and never had the time, so I decided my 10 day journey would be the perfect starting point. And readers, I fell in love.

For a writer from the 1700’s, Austen was way beyond her time. The women in her novels are accomplished, head-strong, feisty, and speak for themselves. They marry for love and not for money. Elizabeth Bennett is probably one of my most favorite characters in all of literature; mostly because I find myself relating to her so closely. She is lighthearted and  stubborn and seems to be a good judge of character, that is with the exception of Mr. Darcy. Their love story is one that has melded itself into the hearts of readers for centuries, but is not the typical one of lust and dream sequences. Austen demands that love is produced through time, and willful action, and sincere hearts. Darcy is proof that first impressions are often faulty, and dignity and human character is shown with time and effort.

Beyond Jane, I learned a lot of other things on my trip. Like how to make herbal teas from scratch that will cure everything from a sore-throat to a migraine, and that my great-grandmother was a flight engineer on bomber-jets during WWII. I also rang in the New Year with my dad, and might have fallen asleep before 9pm, but resolutions and the holiday in particular have never meant much to me…

However, Jane gave me a change of heart with this passage in P&P, so here is my resolution:

What are men to rocks and mountains? Oh! What hours of transport we shall spend! And when we do return, it shall not be like other travellers, without being able to give one accurate idea of anything. We will know where we have gone — we will recollect what we have seen. Lakes, mountains, and rivers, shall not be jumbled together in our imaginations; nor when we attempt to describe any particular scene, will we begin quarreling about its relative situation. Let our first effusions be less insupportable than those of the generality of travellers.

Seriously, beyond her time.

Happy 2015, readers! Maybe I’ll conjure the energy to write more this year. Or maybe not.

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