Our trips, almost all of them, happen spontaneously. We took off to Florida one evening in the same way we usually do for all our trips – bags were packed last minute, no bookings were made except for that night so we could break the journey after an eight or nine hour drive, and off we went without any clear plans about what we were going to do in the next ten days. We had a vague idea about certain things we wanted to do, specific places we wanted to see, but that was about it.
Once in Florida, the partner and I decided to make the Keys our first destination. It wasn’t or first choice, what we had in mind did not take shape; we had to tweak things up a little and that’s how we settled on heading towards the Keys. We had it in our minds to find a campground, but to our dismay everything was booked and we couldn’t get ourselves a walk-in site. After a lot of driving around to see where we can find a place for the night, we finally found a friendly little place that suited our budget and needs. There went our first day of the trip. It was mostly spent driving and looking for accommodation for the next few days. Our primary wish while we were in the Keys was to go snorkeling. The partner has been snorkeling a few times before, but it would have been my first snorkeling experience had it materialized. Alas, it didn’t. Snorkeling is something that has been escaping my chase time and again. The weather is never on my side whenever we plan to go snorkeling. For the whole time that we were there it was windy, and all the snorkeling tours were pretty much canceled. Although that was a big disappointment, we pretty much kept ourselves busy all the time that we were there.
Our next destination was Everglades National Park. We headed straight to the park after we left the Keys. We found ourselves a camping site in one of the campgrounds near the park’s visitor center. And we spent the next few days discovering everything this area had to offer. We hiked, took a tour of a Native American Reservation, went on the Swamp Walk, saw alligator after alligator and drove around some really scenic roads stopping every now and then to take all the tranquil beauty in. It was all such a joyful experience on the whole. Time flew by and before we realized it, it was time for our next destination. And off we went to the Gulf Coast.
Beaches on the Gulf Coast were something that we wanted to be sure to explore during the trip. We had one particular place in mind, which came as a recommendation from a friend, but during our speedy research we found something else that caught our eyes – a state park on an island off the coast that was offering camping opportunity. We were excited by that idea and, this time around, made reservations a day or two prior both with the park and the ferry company that would be taking us to the island. We were all set. Since the island had no restaurants and we were going to be staying there for three nights we had to make prior arrangements for all the food and water we had to carry with us. Buying anything perishable was ruled out since it sure wasn’t going to stand the test of heat. So, while shopping a small grocery store in Everglades, we came across some ready to eat packs that we’d immediately picked up. With those, few loaves of bread and a couple bottles of jam, some pasta and sauce, and a lot of water bottles, we were all set to embark on the journey.
We drove to the place where we were to take the ferry from early in the morning. It was Christmas day, so we were spared of any traffic. We got there way before time. And within hours we were there in our destination island. White sandy shore and blue green waters – we promptly feel in love.
The next three days were spent in glee (Oh well, except one thing that I did to almost ruin it all. What was that, you ask? Well, I cried buckets worth one evening when I spotted a cockroach close to me. Drama – that’s the word that would cross most people’s mind when I say this, but no, it wasn’t even a bit of drama. It was all real. I became a scared little girl at that moment, just as usual whenever I see a roach. They are disgusting, scary creatures. Enough said.) While here, day after day, we walked miles and miles of the shores, collected various seashells, lay on the beach and read for as long as the hearts desired, chased birds, caught a glimpse (more than once!) of dolphins that were dancing oh so gracefully, woke and slept with the sun. It was beautiful, everything about those days on the island.
And about the trip itself – well, what can I say… except that as soon as we returned home, I was immediately ready to plan our next getaway.