Blogging about personal photos is a lot tougher than photos taken of other people. I mean, I might find them interesting, but it’s quite possible that everyone else might just think their boring old vacation photos of strangers who don’t matter…
Either way, I said I’d be posting pictures from our trip. Thus, here are some pictures! If I posted them all, this would be the longest post ever created. So, if you’re interested in seeing more, feel free to check out my Flickr page. K?
As little as we planned on what we’d actually DO in Florida, I did plenty of planning for meals. Let’s be honest, food is expensive! And we certainly don’t have the money for a week’s worth of breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND snacks! So, I got it in my head that we would eat good, healthy food in single servings, portioned beforehand. And I’m really glad we did it! It turned out perfect! We ate one “real meal” each day and feasted on goodies from our “pantry” and “refrigerator” sitting in the backseat of the car the rest of the time. It was great and well worth the effort!
YES. All of this managed to fit inside the large blue cooler we borrowed with about 3 bags worth of ice. Not too shabby! Please note, if you’re looking to save money on your next vacation, items like the Mott’s single servings of apple sauce (we loved the no sugar added variety!) are PERFECT because they’re quick and easy! Other convenient items included pre-sliced pineapple and celery, blackberries, strawberries, cherries, apples, reduced fat string cheese and turkey pepperoni.
Along the lines of saving money and convenience, I want to make a huge shout out to FRIENDS. Most people have this incredible thing called “friends” and lots of friends are in possession of things that you are not! So take this opportunity to incorporate a new practice—you might’ve heard of it—which I fondly refer to as “borrowing stuff.” There are some amazing benefits to this method of vacation and I’ll name a few: 1) You don’t have to buy these items, 2) They’re just as effective as if you owned them yourself, and 3) When you’re done using these items, you can return them to their original owner, which saves you space and prevents clutter in your tiny apartment. Win-win…Win! (You should know by now that I quote “The Office” whenever possilble. Get over it.)
Here’s another fantastic tip! Don’t buy cases of water in plastic bottles. When left inside a car for too long, the heat can cause chemicals from the plastic to leech into your water and no one enjoys chemically enhanced water—not cool. George and I are in love with our metal canteens that hold up to 20 ounces. We literally never leave home without one. Starbucks carries them but I’m sure you can find them just about anywhere. Just avoid plastic in general—the planet thanks you. 🙂
Always great advice? Take good music. ESPECIALLY when driving through a state like Alabama. ESPECIALLY then.
Any time you drive 6+ hours in a pretty brand new car, it’s good to swap occasionally. It’s only fair.
So George and I were driving through Somewhere, Alabama when we passed this old Wal-Mart. It made me think of that show “Life After People” on the History Channel. So I asked George to pull over so I could take some creepy pictures. Stops like this prolonged our driving time by about three hours. Life with a photographer—that’s just how it goes.
If you follow me on Twitter, I wrote something about this sunset. It was the first one I’d seen in months. In the six weeks before this, I was going to sleep almost every night around 7pm for work at 4am the next morning. So, this was very special for me. I had missed seeing a REAL sunset.
The following picture is from the morning after our late night arrival to Destin, Florida. When we arrived, the Henderson Beach State Park was already closed. We stopped by the hotel we’d be staying at later in the week to see if they had any room, but they were completely booked. The desk clerk suggested that most places would have no vacancy. Honestly, we didn’t have the money to stay at any hotel. So we slept in our car parked in the Barnes&Noble parking lot and it wasn’t bad, really! We awoke the next morning at 5:30am and drove to the nearest Starbucks. We had to wait an hour before it opened, but when we finally had some coffee, we made our way back to the beach. We asked about available campsites, but there were none. Still, the beach was open to everyone. And I was sooo glad to finally see it.
We could tell there was a storm rolling in, but we could care less. The ocean water felt great and even if it rained, it wouldn’t matter. We were getting wet, regardless!
I didn’t even bother changing. When you’re on vacation, you tend not to care about what you’re wearing from day to day. But as you can see, I paid for it. Got a sand wedgy about a minute after I stepped into the waves!
You wouldn’t know it by my pale skin, but I’m originally from Southern California. People don’t believe that as much as when I tell them I grew up in Seattle, though. But both statements are true.
If you couldn’t tell already, this little trip of ours was an adventure! I mean, we didn’t have a place to stay the first two nights, and even on the third night, we couldn’t get comfortable in the tent because it was so hot and muggy! (Florida! Go figure!) But at least I had company through it all and I couldn’t have asked for a better travel buddy. George just makes life flow, regardless of the bumps along the way. Yeah, I like him…
As I mentioned earlier, we only ate one “real meal” a day, but we tried to stick with the most economically friendly places as possible, while maintaining a certain health-factor. This particular instance was at Applebee’s for their “2 for $20” which includes an appetizer and two meals for $20 bucks! Not bad!
George chose the appetizer, but as you can plainly see, it’d been a while since I’d laid eyes on something so magnificent as fried mozzerella!
I’ll admit, we went to Starbucks daily. As much as I want to get away from that place all the time, there’s something about it that is so familiar. Plus, they all have air conditioning. And after three days of wandering around, not knowing where we would go or what we would do next, it was really easy to catch a couple Z’s in their comfy chairs. Obviously.
On our third day in Destin, a campsite became available at Grayson Beach State Park (the sister beach to Henderson). So we made our way there and amidst a crowd of huge RV’s and satellite dishes, we set up our own humble abode. I can’t help feeling the picture on the left is just slightly symbolic…
Blowing up the air mattress in 100 degree weather really took it out of us (mostly George, though) so we decided to make one last visit to the beach before we ran out of daylight completely.
Upon arriving to the beach, George found a broken and abandoned boogie board. As you can plainly see, he was very excited to use it…
What “contentment” looks like…
When George and I went back to our campsite, it was still really hot outside. And it was even hotter inside the tent. For two hours, we tried to sleep on the nice comfortable mattress we borrowed from a friend. But to no avail. So finally, we grabbed our blanket and pillows, and made our way back down to the beach. The breeze coming off the ocean and the sound of the waves and the moon and the stars… Well… Let’s just say, it was pretty cool.
What “two days without a shower and multiple visits to the beach” looks like… Actually, it looks a lot like my brother.
And this is what “really, really, REALLY tired” looks like. But we really appreciated beds at this point!
Oh, here’s another traveling tip! Workout in the hotel room! You’re not just getting into shape, but you’ll also feel like one of those “uber cool” travelers who works out whilst they travel! Yeah, like one of them!
Here’s a piece of great advice. Take touristy pictures. Because most likely, when you travel somewhere, you’re a tourist. So… Own it.
Probably my favorite picture from the whole trip. You might remember when I updated my Twitter status after I realized I’d torn a huge hole in my white cargo pants. I don’t know when or how it happened, but I might’ve been walking around in public with it for some time before I finally noticed it was there. I thought it was hilarious, so we decided to take a fun picture trying to explain it to people logically… This seemed like a possible explanation, right?
We both picked one of these for dessert at the end of our anniversary dinner at Carraba’s Italian Grill.
They were delicious.
As I said, there were a lot of pictures. And this is still probably the longest post I’ve ever created! But I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse into what our vacation looked like! It was fun and certainly adventurous! We had a great time and came home with plenty of stories to tell.
It’s strange to think that by our anniversary next year, we’ll be back in Seattle. I can hardly believe we’re in the countdown stages of our time in Tennessee! We’ve created some lifelong relationships here, I started my business here, and I met the man I will spend the rest of my life with here. Who knows what other great things will happen while we’re still here. I’m so excited to pack up our life and move it back west. But I’m also excited to see what other good things take place in the months before that happens. A lot of great things are soon to come… I can feel it…