Tag Archives: Florida

Spontaneous Solo Travel 

8 Mar

With the promise of a three day weekend I made the decision to do something I’d been wanting to do; visit St. Augustine, FL.

I did invite a couple of people, with short notice no one could come. I decided to go anyway. Best decision I could of made.

I had the most enjoyable weekend, possibly of all time. I booked and inexpensive hotel right in the center of all there was to see and do and I purchased a trolley tour that came with admission into 5 popular attractions.

I spent 48 hours going wherever I wanted, whenever I wanted, seeing and doing whatever I wanted. It was beyond perfection not having to compromise or think about anyone but myself. It truly blows my mind how much I’ve grown and changed in the last three years or so. There was a time when I wouldn’t even go to Walmart alone, now here I am traveling over two hundred miles for a weekend totally alone.

St. Augustine is truly amazing, the history, shopping, food, and all there was to see and experience. Now, the price of admission seemed a little high on some of the attractions but when purchased in the trolley package totally worth it. My only trolley complaint was if you wanted to get on just to get back near your hotel it could be quite a long ride, upwards of an hour/hour and half.

I learned a lot about the area, American history, and myself during this trip. 

Tiny House: Moving 

7 Oct

The process of moving my tiny house, now named The Scooby Shack, was not without trials.

My mom and dad did the moving. The vehicle they rented to drive it down to Florida from Ohio was canceled by the company 4 days before it was set to leave. A new vehicle was acquired only to find out it didn’t have the required equipment to hitch up The Shack. A third vehicle was then found, brought back home, and hitched up to the camper.

Hours later, raining, and the lights that were working on the camper are not not working with the rental. After purchasing a light kit my parents are finally able to start making their way to Florida.

The drive went fine, but as they’re driving down here my dad notices that the alternator is starting to go out in the truck.

We are able to get The Shack put in its spot an drive the truck back to the house I was  renting, where we called the rental company who in turn called a tow truck to get it. The tow truck driver was exceptionally rude. An it took over 24 hours to get another rental to move my larger items like the bed.

We made countless trips between the house I was moving out of and The Shack taking as much as we could with Kiwi my little Kia.

We also ran into an issue with the water heater; ended up being a flaw in their instructions and not the water heater. Very long story short we figured it out. But not before having to stay in a hotel for a night because we couldn’t get the water on.

It was a very stressful couple of days but we were able to get everything set up, stabilized, organized, and clean.

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Risk

21 May

5cc39bb680ca95fd35c8315cb4239db8“Attractive as some things are you have to weigh your risks. How badly do you want it, how badly are you willing to be burned?”

This quote has really stuck with me the last few days, its from a book by Patrick Rothfuss that recently finished reading called The Wise Man’s Fear.

The idea of moving to a tropical climate was so attractive; but ever since I moved I’ve faced trial after trial. It has truly been the most difficult year I’ve ever experienced. I made the rash decision to accept a job outside of my experience and education and move after having my heart-broken. I thought new everything would help it hurt less.

Being in a new place, with a new car, a new job, new friends, has been exciting…but learning a whole new life all at once would be hard in the best of circumstances but I left because of hurt…out of fear and anger.

Now a year later I’m missing my former life. But, you can’t go back right? I’m tired of missing out on my nephew growing up, on family events…it’s not Ohio and the unforgiving five months of winter that I miss…it’s the people.

Sure this is the perfect weather for me…and I have access to the beach whenever I want but is the sun, surf, and sand more important than family?

I have a big decision to make; give it another year or run home.

Spring Break in FL

19 Mar

RuiRicardo-Folio-Illustration-Agency-Vector-Posters-Editorial-Publishing-Beach-LThis past week my younger sister came to visit me in Florida during Spring Break. Here is what I learned in the planning and execution of this Spring Break in Florida.

  1. Go to a local travelers bro: collect their knowledge as well as free pamphlets. I’m new to the area I know there is a lot more out there then I could even begin to know about so enlisting the help of a retired local in a room full of what the area offers is a darn good place to start. I then marked the free stuff from the more expensive things.
    • Something I should of done but didn’t think of at the time is to have a calendar and mark the days an hours that activities are open. We wanted to go on this great nature walk; had a whole day set aside for it…we got there to find out they’re closed on Mondays. Such a bummer.
  2. Don’t assume that a beach day is a free day. The beaches in the area I live in are free, even free to park. So it never occurred to me that other public beaches would charge $4-$6 an hour to park there.
    • We drove over 3 hours to get to the Gulf side of the state to visit a very specific beach -Sanibel Island- that I had read was the best place to find shells. There was a $6 toll to go over the bridge and then $6 an hour to park. Not to mention the traffic was insane. Bikers and cars a like. It took us over an hour to find a beach that even had parking left to pay for so we could get out of the car to check it out. Once we were on the beach we had a hard time finding a place to sit there were so many people, and these famous shells we were so excited about? Totally picked over. Looked to me like the local shop owners would get out early in the morning and collect everything of interest an then sell them for $4-$10+ per shell.
  3. Universal’s free boardwalk is a collection of shops and dinning options before you walk into the actual park. At Universal you pay $20 to park and then you can eat in Emeril Lagasse, or Forest Gump’s restaurant (among others). You can shop in the Universal store, enjoy ice cream or temporary tattoos. You can also take a free boat ride over to one of the partnering hotel’s and back. However: you can not get a Butterbeer or Pumpkin Juice unless you’re in the Harry Potter section of the park.
  4. The Disney boardwalk is free to park and offers a lot more variety of stores and food selections then Universal does, it is also at least 3 times as big and currently under construction to add more. Disney also offer’s free boat rides to different sections of the boardwalk, has a Lego store and massive Lego monuments, classic Disney and new Disney…overall if you only had time to visit one of the free boardwalk’s I would go with Disney over Universal.

We had a good week, the more expensive portions of the visit were less fun then the free portions, something to keep in mind in all aspects of life I’d say.

Headlights 

10 Feb

img_8591Where I’m from in Ohio there aren’t many street lights, when it’s dark out; it’s dark. The kind of dark that’s calm, welcoming and gentle. You’re not scared in the darkness there because there is no unknown to fear.

In the fall the sun tucks behind the hill across from my house. A stillness settles in slowly, easing you into the natural light of the night. Stars are close enough to reach out and touch and the moon is a mystical guardian of the rustic orange maple leaves and dull grass blades.

In the winter the air is sharp; stinging your ears, nose, and lungs. The only sound is created by your feet crunching through the thin layer of ice blanketing the snow. Venturing out into the night in the winter is well worth the crisp sting for the sky is at its most clear.

Nights in the spring are short-lived and sloppy. Everything is soggy in its attempt to shake off the cold and regain the healthy stock of green. Summer night are alive, accompanied by the musical talents of crickets and locus.

Ohio nights are dark, there isn’t much around to distract from its stillness. In Florida however nighttime is rarely dark. Streetlights line every street, stop lights are endless, and headlights illuminate the night with enough light that I’ve forgotten its night-time. Forgotten to the point I’ve caught myself halfway down the street before I realize I don’t have my headlights on.

I never forgot my headlights in Ohio.

Solo

14 Nov

6a725472069d2004f534b761da5c901aSince moving to Florida I’ve tried to do more things alone, and I don’t mean just watching Netflix when I’m not at work, but I do that a lot too.

I’ve been going to the beach, taking photos, walking for miles, lost in thought and enjoying the view.

The other day I spent the day on the beach then went to a few stores and window shopped, got a pedicure, had dinner alone. It was a quiet day but I need to learn to like the person I am on my own.

I’m forcing myself to do this so I don’t have regrets later…I don’t look back on the time I lived in Florida as the time I never did anything but watch Netflix. I really don’t enjoy doing things alone…I used to refuse to even go to the grocery store alone, now I do it all the time.

It is a lonely life but maybe if I’m lonely now I won’t have to be lonely later…

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Tossing shells into the ocean like pennies into a well.

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Catching up on some reading.

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Sunrise over the intercoastal

9. Pick Up & Move Someplace New

29 Aug

IMG_4345When I put “pick up and move someplace new” on my bucket list I didn’t really think I would do it…or if I did it would be within the state of Ohio. I NEVER thought I would end up moving over a thousand miles away from home.

After a heartbreak that jolted my reality I threw everything I had into a job application, sent it off, got a call within a week, interviewed a couple of days later, and a couple of days after that I was offered the job. I turned in my two weeks notice where I worked, and moved another week after that.

I packed clothes, shoes, my computer, my desk, and beauty products. That’s it.

Loaded it all into a little rental car, along with my mom and our cockapoo, and headed for Florida.

Another Bucket List Item Bites The Dust. 

Kiwi the Kia

14 Aug

11796194_10103608101288124_2804063366538073884_n“Everyone should own a brand new car at least once in their life.” -dad

That’s what I’ve heard my dad say dozens of times in my life so far. So when I accepted a job over a thousand miles away from home I decided I better get a new car.

I bought a 2003 Jeep Liberty Sport outright with cash not too long ago. I love jeepy. Read about Jeepy here. But…jeepy is old and has a few mechanical issues that arise every-so-often. Which never was a big deal because my dad could fix it. A hassle I didn’t want to have when I was taking on learning a new city, a new job, and living on my own.

Once I made this decision I got online and reached out to a local Kia dealership in Florida that has a really good reputation. I got pre-approved and set up a contact person and time to go into the dealership when I got into town. I also went a test drove the car I had in mind while I was still home in Ohio and asked questions without pressure because I knew I’d be buying in Florida.

It was a very long day but I left with a beautiful new car with fantastic gas mileage; a 2016 Kia Rio. It had seven miles on it when I bought it! Compared to my powerful Jeep, the Kia now known as Kiwi, is a bit of a wimp, but I love her.

 

21. Quit a job

2 Jul

11666106_10103541105812594_996979614106893340_nI truly didn’t think I would be quitting a job any time soon, but this particular bucket list item has been crossed off. I just turned in my two weeks notice where I work and accepted a teaching position in Florida. Crazy I know.

Its going to be hard moving away from my family, but I plan on being back for major holidays including my nephews first birthday. I also plan on being a snow bird essentially and moving back to Ohio for the summer months.

This is a huge change but I hope this new adventure brings good things into my life!

The “Fatkini”

11 Jul

Gibson_girl_beachI just got home from a three week vacation in Florida where among other things I spent quite a bit of time at the beach. Myself along with my best friend decided we wanted to wear bikini’s this year…more accurately “fatkini’s”. I hate that name by the way.

The night before our first trip to the beach during my trip I stumbled across a history of bikini video on Facebook. I learned a lot of background information on bathing suites for women throughout history, most interestingly being that women were once wheeled out to the water in a small building to better preserve their modesty. The point of this women’s speech was to show the vast differences between what women used to believe and hold themselves to a certain modesty level, and how we are now at a point where modesty no longer exists and if it does its viewed as lame. At first I was thinking “wow this lady makes such an amazing point” but then as I am watching and listening to her I start to feel really crappy about myself. ( I KNOW that is not her intention)

photo (3)I just made this massive, for me, life decision to accept and love myself for who I am, as I am. And that I’m going to wear whatever I like, if I want to wear shorts or a bikini I’m going to. This was a huge step for me! When I was in middle and high school I wouldn’t even wear shorts in the summertime because I felt I wasn’t worthy of the privilege being fat, as I was. I was tormented by both genders throughout my education for my weight and grew to hate myself and hate my body. I starved myself for years trying to become what was acceptable.

10463914_10102508640316724_4707792172439513745_nSo now here I am all full of self acceptance and a cute, high wasted bikini in my vacation bag all ready to go and this woman is saying that studies are proving that women become objects and non-human in the eyes of men if they wear a bikini. Well that may be true and I get it there are a lot of beautiful, bone thin women out there rocking a string bikini. Some because they think its what makes them more attractive. But for others it truly does represent self love, acceptance and freedom.
Why are women still being held responsible for the morality of men? Why is it that people automatically get angry at women for showing to much skin? Why aren’t we mad at men for their brains deciding that half-clothed women are objects?

This lady, Jessica is her name, really does make some great points. But I have to say no thank you to her conclusion. Women do not need to cover up to keep men from dehumanizing them! If that’s what they’re doing we need to look at men and how they’re being raised and put a stop to their behavior and not automatically punish, discriminate, belittle, or restrict women.10517512_10102555109217674_4286177200441170352_n

And as for the “fatkini” if you see a curvy, heavy, chunky, voluptuous,  or fat women wearing a bikini do not ridicule her; be happy for her. Because you have no idea the emotional, mental, and possibly even physical journey she went on to give herself permission to wear that bikini.