This was the vacation I was most nervous about. The beach vacation. Basically the same vacation I’ve been on every year of my life since I was born and nowhere near fulfills my need to discover. We had already taken an amazing trip to Europe this year, and we were also tired. Just dog, beaten down, mentally, physically (mostly mentally) tired and just needed to recharge. So we gave ourselves a small budget to leave town and landed ourselves in a small ($55/night + 10% off for the entire week) AirBnB in Pensacola, Florida.
I worried for months if we could have made a better vacation option since Pensacola isn’t exactly on my bucket list. We initially booked a place in Toronto but cancelled because of some confusion about their “pet-friendly” policy. Florida was going to be hot… And beachy – which don’t get me wrong, I love a good beach for about two days and then it’s time to move on. I convinced myself it would be just the slow pace we needed and something new for us to try together, if nothing else. When your vacation costs as little as this one and your travel partner is your solemate, you really have nothing to lose. …At least I tan easily.
Leaving for this trip was refreshing since we didn’t have a flight to catch, we could be lenient with our schedules. We kept the same relaxed pace from the moment we left Louisville until the moment we returned. No alarm clocks (even nicer now that we’ve returned to being forced out of bed) and no agenda for any of the 7 days we were gone. We both decided mid-week that part of our vacation was a nice change.
The food in Pensacola was subpar in comparison to Alaska, Ireland or even Louisville – but we didn’t exactly book the trip to Pensacola for the culture, so we were respectively happy. We bought groceries and cooked some in the kitchen. We picnicked with sandwiches a few times and admittedly had fun doing all of it without the stresses of our jobs looming over us every day.
We received a complimentary sailboat charter from our AirBnB renters and fulfilled a lifelong dream of Chris’s. Now I’m sure he’ll continue to dream about owning a sailboat until the day he does. I won’t argue. I wouldn’t mind living on a boat and sailing the world. (retirement plan?)
We also decided since this trip had been so affordable that we’d splurge on an excursion to explore the water more. Snorkeling had been in the back of my mind, but I hate getting in the ocean, so we chose a 3-hour jet ski tour. I still believed I could fall off and be eaten by a shark, but my nerves were calmed when we got on the water and I can honestly say it was both thrilling and majestic. The wind, the sun, the water, the dolphin pods that swam right under our feet, the adventure, the togetherness – was all more than I bargained for when I booked a simple beach vacation. The more we vacation, the more we are learning what’s important to us. I wouldn’t trade staying 15 minutes from the beach and getting to jet ski with the dolphins versus a beachfront condo that would have cost more than twice as much. But that’s just me.
I’d like to state for the record that this blog isn’t meant to be awesome or popular or creative (which would be fine, but it’s not the goal) but it’s meant to serve as a log of our own memories and to distribute advice to fellow travelers. With that being said, as a side-note of advice, I’d like to include that if you have pets – leave them at home. My dog has always traveled well, so we had planned to take him. But now he has a sister (for those of you who don’t know, a stray kitten we rescued from the side of the road). We decided to take them both and even though it wasn’t hard, I would have preferred not to scoop a litterbox or give the dog a bath while we were gone. I’ll keep everyone posted on our future travel alternatives for the little ones.
Oh, we also rented our own home again while we were away. We had to clean/prepare our place before leaving, but ended up earning about a third of our money back from our vacation. I’m telling you – if you haven’t tried AirBnB, get a $35 credit the first time you try it. Want to use your home as a host home? Get a $50 credit <–here.
So – that was Florida. It treated us well and I think we’re rested(?). Our minds are clearer and we are both just feeling more positive. Our usual vacation vibe consists of a lot of flights, busses, cars, trains and tons of walking. This was just a nice opportunity to enjoy each other’s company and sip our coffee a lot more slowly. Now I’m lucky enough to say that my solemate and I have been to 17 states and 6 countries together (which I’ll get around to blogging about)… In only 3 years. We are lucky to get to figure out this beautiful world piece by piece together and I can’t wait until the next adventure. It’s still true what they say though – there’s no place like home… unless you have to go back to work on Monday. 😉