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Evacuation from Hurricane Florence: Part 1

It was almost impossible to find bottled water in Chapel Hill

When the news about the incoming hurricane reached Chapel Hill, there were a lot of mixed opinions. Many believed that the media was overplaying the strength of the hurricane, whilst many others had already booked their ticket to the West Coast, fleeing the area immediately. As exchange students, it was hard to properly assess the situation and we had no idea what the correct response was.

Originally my roommate, Emma, and I had decided that it would be quite the experience to stay in Chapel Hill during the hurricane. So we stocked up on bottled water and canned foods, preparing for the heavy winds, rain and falling trees that were to come.

Booking flights and rental cars

However, on a Monday evening when a group of us were watching Game of Thrones in Spencer Hall’s TV room, we got a notification on our phones from AlertCarolina. UNC had sent a school-wide message saying they were cancelling classes for the week and that they would ‘strongly encourage’ students to leave the area no later than Wednesday evening. This definitely changed our views on it.

Our phones blew up with group chat messages from other GLOBErs in Chapel Hill, where people were trying to figure out what to do, where to go and when. We all grabbed our computers and began planning. Emma booked a ticket to Idaho to visit the family she lived with during her exchange year. Carsten and Martin, from GLOBE 12, found flights going to Las Vegas. A group of Hong Kong students were on the next bus to New York. It was an excited frantic- we were all worried about the hurricane and its impact on our little home, Chapel Hill, and the rest of North Carolina, but we were excited about the opportunity to travel.

Ovidiu and Ditlev ready to leave

A large group of the CBS GLOBErs decided we wanted to spend the time to go on a trip together. There were many suggestions, and it took almost five hours to finally decide, but eventually we agreed to rent some cars and drive west. We booked a large cabin in the woods of Franklin, Tennessee, not too far from Nashville and we prepped for a big road trip. The day after, we attended the few classes that weren’t cancelled and then we went home, packed our bags, picked up the rental cars and off we drove in the rainy weather, listening to country music and eating American snacks as we went along.

It was nothing short of impulsive and spontaneous. We had only booked the accommodation and transport less than 24 hours ago and we hadn’t fully comprehended what was happening, but there was no doubt that this would be a trip to be remembered.

We feel lucky to have had such a wonderful trip as a result of the situation, but we know how devastating Hurricane Florence has been to many on the East Coast. Our hearts go out to our GLOBE family across the Carolinas and all those affected by the hurricane.

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