Travel

A Weekend in Clearwater Beach, Florida

I’m very fortunate I get to travel as often as I do. I hold the state of Florida very close to my heart. So when Philip (my beau) asked me to accompany him to a weekend trip to the sunshine state, naturally I said yes. Fun fact: I used to live in Lakeland, Florida in the first grade. My family and I only lived there for the duration of one year. My dad’s side of the family lives there so every summer I would go down and stay with them. They always spoiled my sister and I so it was extra fun spending my childhood summers with them.

Fast forward to present day: I need you all to understand the spontaneity of this trip. Phil really just asked me on a Monday if I’d be up to go to Florida on Thursday and I said yes with no hesitation. Who in their right mind turns down a random vacation?! Not this girl. Only missed two days of class.. Don’t tell my professors.

We arrived at Newark airport at 7 a.m. for our 9 a.m. flight. Everything was smooth sailing from that point or should I say smooth flying? Ba dum chhh. The whole weekend it was sunny in the low 90s. No complaints from me. Our first day there I was introduced to Philip’s family that lives outside of Tampa. They were super sweet.

The next two days were spent being beech bums. The water was a little colder than what I’m used to for a Florida beach but still how could I complain? Sidebar, SPF 30 doesn’t really do anyone justice in the F.L. sun. Phil and I explored the bar scene of Clearwater Beach and hopped around to places like Crabby’s and Shepard’s. After a few more spots we got tired of being around other people so we grabbed our drinks, blankets, camera, and took it to the beach. Trust me the beach is way cooler at night when there are no people around but I wouldn’t advise you to get in the water.

On our second to last day we spent the day at weeki wachee springs canoeing. I sat in the middle so I didn’t have to participate in any rowing (lucky me). This was my second time there, the first time around I kayaked by myself. I enjoyed this time in particular because I saw manatees! IN REAL LIFE. They’re huge and beautiful like cows of the ocean. We actually saw about five in total (lucky us). I definitely advise you to take a trip there! The water is the perfect temperature that gives you a refreshed feeling afterwards.

It was a weekend for the books or blog in my case. I’m going to stop with the corny jokes I promise. Seriously, Florida continues to amaze me with all it’s beauty and I can’t wait to be back. Here are some photos from our trip:

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Travel

8 Hour Layover

I planned a trip to visit my dear cousin, Celeste,  in Washington state. When booking my flight I realized I made a major mistake. I booked a flight that was not flying directly to my destination. Instead it had two stops. The first stop was Chicago, Illinois for five hours and the next stop was Phoenix, Arizona for another 3 hours and then I would reach my final destination. Most people would see two stops and freak out. My first thought was to consider myself lucky because I’d never been to either of the places listed. Of course I’m going to make the best out of a crappy situation!

Fast forward to when I arrived at Chicago O’hare Airport. It was a relatively quick flight from Newark, New Jersey to Chicago. Overall I was in good spirits. Then the thought crept up in my mind again… Five hours to go… F i v e H o u r s… This is when anxiety snuck up on me and I knew I wouldn’t be able to stay in the airport for that long. Sure, I love people img_4023watching but not for five hours straight.

I went over to the directory and saw that there was an earlier flight out to Phoenix. This flight was scheduled to depart 40 minutes then and a good five hours earlier than. To be frank, I figured Phoenix was a safer (and warmer) place to travel alone. I walked to the assistance counter and asked the woman wearing a welcoming smile if there was any possible chance I could be on the next flight to Arizona. To my joy I was able to get a seat on the flight (a window seat at that !!). A quick 3 hours later and I was looking out my window to pink desert sand.

Of course I don’t know anyone in Arizona  so getting picked up from the airport was out of the question. Nor did I have the slightest idea what I was going to do for the next 8 hours but I seeing the mountains from my plane was enough for me. Fortunate for myself, I was equipped with an iPhone and Siri gave some great suggestions. map

I decided to go to Desert Botanical Garden. It was ten minute drive from the airport. Naturally, I took an Uber. Special shout out to my driver Larry, he was very friendly and offered all his knowledge on the background of Phoenix. The garden itself was absolutely beautiful. You can see from the figure on the right how far it expands. I spent hours there admiring all the cacti and everything else they eye could see. If you ever find yourself in Phoenix definitely check this place out!

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