Hello, frenz! Long time no blog! It’s been a few days since I’ve arrived back to Almost 70 Degrees and Overcast, Pennsylvania. It’s always a bittersweet feeling to arrive home after a one-week vacation; you wish you could’ve stayed longer but, at the same time, you miss your boo and fur babies. Florida was an incredible experience. It was my first time being on an airplane (which caused a nervous breakdown all its own). It was my first ever vacation in another state and even away from home – other than the time I was 13 and went to Las Vegas, but that honestly shouldn’t even count. It was an incredible experience, even through the most frustrating of times. Let’s sort these out in categories, shall we?
THE INITIAL AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
I get really bad anxiety when I have to be somewhere at a certain time so you best believe I was planning out the trip to the airport and every little move I would make. I (obviously) psyched myself out because it wasn’t a terrible experience…at all. Granted the airport we flew out of was incredibly small, so it was easy to find the kiosks, security and the terminal. I even got fresh airport coffee, which I was looking forward to since we left at 3:30 in the morning. The more time that passed, the more nervous I became that there would be an issue with our bags or somehow the flight would be cancelled (hello irrational fear). As zones were called and I began boarding my very first aircraft, the nervous feelings subsided, as I had successfully navigated through my first airport. That’s a win for this girl!
THE FLIGHT TO ORLANDO, FL
Okay, so I had a minor freak out within my own head when the plane took off — mainly because it shot back like a rocket and I was glued to the back of my seat. To be honest, I’m not sure what I was expecting other than the plane to blow up Final Destination style. Once we were at altitude, my nerves relaxed — until I had to pee. That was an experience all its own. First, I tried to open a closed stall (are they called stalls?) because I didn’t look around to see that there were, in fact, two potties in the same vicinity. I also couldn’t figure out how to get the water on to wash my hands, and soon couldn’t figure out how to turn it off. I wasn’t the whitest cloud in the sky that morning.
ARRIVAL IN ORLANDO INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Arriving into sunny Orlando, Florida was incredible. Even looking down from the plane, it’s so clear how beautiful the Sunshine State is. The Orlando airport is international so it was massive in comparison to the one at home, in landmass and population. There was so much diversity in people, where they came from and where they were going. I was a confused mess when I finally had my feet on the ground — I didn’t know where to go or how to navigate this large and in-charge airport. Talk about a culture shock. Thankfully, everyone in Florida (unlike PA) are incredibly kind and helped us find the shuttle that would take us downstairs. From there, we were on our own to take elevators to ground transportation, which is where we thought we needed to be. It took us a good 20 minutes to figure out how to get outside. It turns out, my brother-in-law was at a different part of the airport looking for us. And so the shenanigans ensued.
Odd Fact: the buttons designating floor numbers in the elevators are labeled as cattle in the Orlando airport. Why?
So we didn’t actually stay in Orlando itself. My family lives about 20 minutes out of Orlando, and that’s where we spent the majority of our time. When we arrived, I was taken back by how hot it was. Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t think it was going to be like it is up North, but I wasn’t expecting to be a baked potato as soon as I stepped out the door. The heat was incredible. You couldn’t get in a car without your legs and back burning on the seats. You couldn’t lay out in the sun to get a tan without becoming a sweaty pile of goo. Needless to say, I spent the majority of my time in the pool.
We weren’t pool potatoes for long before we became beach potatoes. I, personally, have only seen the ocean on TV. I was taken back by how huge (and how hot) it actually was. Crystal blue water with white (hot!) sand — it wasn’t long until I grabbed the boogie board and attempted to catch some waves. The waves knocked me down more times than I could count…I obviously didn’t have my sea legs. I could’ve spent my entire life in the ocean. We collected seashells and I learned about crab and clam holes from a 10 year old. It was a magnificent way to spend the day…except for the sunburn. That could’ve stayed on the shore.
Since daytime is so hot in Florida, we decided to wait until evening on one Sunday to go play miniature golf, and after, laser tag. The golf course was a tropical pirate theme with two separate courses. The plant life and scenery was the epitome of a tropical vacation…and let’s talk about the amount of lizards! I so badly wanted to catch a baby lizard, but those suckers are fast! While the humidity was at an all time high (but it made my hair look good so whatevz), it was a breath of fresh air (literal air conditioning) when we went to WonderWorks to play laser tag. Yet another first checked off of my list, but I have to say, I wasn’t a fan, mostly because I sucked and my shirt kept falling down. First World Problems, I know.
The remaining days spent in Florida were poolside with bagels and coffee — also a three hour nap in the pool (hello crispy legs). The sun was relaxing and therapeutic to me — I wasn’t thinking of all the problems I had at home. I was living right in the moment without a care in the world. But, all good things eventually come to a screeching halt.
THE FINAL AIRPORT EXPERIENCE
Getting to the Orlando airport was a fucking nightmare. The rush hour traffic was at an all time high, with cars dodging other cars left and right. All I wanted to do was get to the airport and get on my plane because my anxiety was making me a flustered mess. The parking garage that my brother-in-law wanted to park in was full, so we spent a good 15 minutes driving around looking for a spot — meanwhile, I was having a panic attack about somehow missing my flight. We made it there at 6:00 and our ticket said we had to be through security by 6:27; I still wanted coffee and my sister needed to visit a gift shop — do you see why I was a hot mess? I later found out that we had more time than anticipated and I was a happy clam when I finally got my coffee…except when I threw it out in the security line because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to have it. RIP to my half full iced coffee. I still miss you.
HOME SWEET HOME!
It’s a weird feeling when you come back from vacation. It’s like you just lived this completely different life and then you’re back to where you started a week prior. Although I wish I could’ve stayed in Florida forever, I was ready to be home. It’s been five days since I’ve been home and I’m just now able to get my routine back. My days in Florida are becoming a fond memory.
All in all, it was a great experience. I don’t know if I would travel the world or be one of those “full-time travelers” after this experience. It’s too much of a pain in the ass to navigate airports and dodge that amount of people — it’s not my thing. It’s nice to have that place that’s “home” and I’m as happy as a clam to be back. I’m trying to get my blog and life back in order, so hang in there with me.