In Defense of Day Trips + Exploring St. Pete

October 15, 2014 — Leave a comment

Last Wednesday, Andrew and I hopped in the Jetta and headed toward St. Petersburg, Florida. The mission of our trip was to deliver a painting to our friend Brian. The painting is a portrait of Brian and his girlfriend Ashley that Brian commissioned Andrew to paint in honor of their anniversary.

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Pretty incredible painting, right?

Rather than simply packing up this work of art and mailing it, we decided to make a meaningful day trip out of it. Seeing a friend you haven’t seen recently and getting to provide him with something heartfelt that is a surprise for the woman he loves is a beautiful thing.

While proper vacations may demand an increased amount of time, funding and energy, day trips are a fun-filled way to take a day off from your normal routine, feel as if you are on vacation, and make it back home in time to sleep in your own bed, all without breaking the bank. Although I’m not sure day trips actually need any defending, here is a rundown of our day trip to St. Pete, coupled with reasons I think day trips should be a regular part of existence.

Sipping in Style

A couple of weeks ago on National Coffee Day, I confessed that I consider coffee shops to be destinations. Last Wednesday’s day trip begged us to stop at a coffee destination in Orlando, midway along in our trek. The destination was downtown CREDO Coffee, one I’ve been eager to visit. This particular coffee shop is the brainchild of my childhood best friend’s brother-in-law, and it’s truly something special. CREDO is a non-profit, donation-based coffee shop dedicated to creating authentic community bonds. Not only is CREDO a coffee shop, it plays host to art, workshops and events. If I lived in Orlando, I would probably be here 24/7 either sipping or working.

CredoCoffee

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Scoping Different Scenery

A change of scenery can help boost your creative juices, calm your mind, or simply offer a break from your norm. For us, the different scenery was downtown St. Pete. Although our explorations were brief, thanks to Brian, they included a complementary visit to the Salvador Dali Museum. Having visited the Dali Museum in Paris, I was eager to step inside this one. Experiencing art alongside an artist who has a perspective different from my own made the experience much more lively and inspirational than it would have been otherwise. In addition to the work that lined the walls inside the museum, the architecture of the building is its own artwork.

DaliMuseumExterior

In all of my travels, I find myself seeking out opportunities to snap reflection images. Thank you museum windows for helping me out this time.

DaliReflections

My M.O. (method of operation) at any museum is to spend just as much time outside exploring the grounds as I do inside. The Dali Museum was no exception to this rule. In this case, I couldn’t resist a photo opportunity with Dali’s stache.

DaliMustache

While tooling around downtown, we enjoyed scoping the street art. Within a small radius, St. Pete has quite the number of large-scale murals.

BaskMural

Satisfying the Tastebuds

Come on now. No day trip is complete without food. Typically, before I visit somewhere for the first time, I spend ample time researching the vegan dining options. In this case, Brian recommended Meze 119, a vegetarian/vegan eatery in downtown St. Pete. Despite it being a bit warm outside, Andrew and I opted to sit street-side on their patio. Andrew selected their falafel, and I ordered a salad sampler including chikk’n salad, tabouli, and carrot and raisin salad. Although I personally enjoyed just how much cilantro was packed in the tabouli, next time, I will be ordering the chikk’n salad on its own, since it blew the other two salads out of the water with it’s taste, texture and curry seasonings. As you’ll note in the photo of my salad sampler, Meze 119 gets an A+ for plating.

Mezze119Salad

When they brought our check to the table, it was nestled in this journal for guests to share little notes. Andrew wrote a haiku and I left some Vegan on the Run love.

MezzeVegJournal

I could say this is where our foodie fun ended for the day, but it wasn’t. Since our route home took us right by Whole Foods in Orlando, we gave in and entered the danger zone to eat dinner. As always, our abundant selections from the hot and cold bars weighed our plates down far more than planned. After eating, I practiced restraint and picked up a few grocery items before heading home (plus a couple of cookies that I ended up eating while driving).

Taking a Timeout

Ultimately, for me, a day trip is like pushing the pause button. It’s both time away and a timeout. It’s not a day to plan, nor is it a day to feel behind on your tasks, on your training plan, or on anything you have going on in your world. It’s simply a day to tune in and reconnect with the present, while taking in your surroundings. Should it take getting away for a day to be able to feel some relief? No, but sometimes it does. For this reason, I would go as far as to call day trips therapy days.

Ready, Set, Day Trip!

If you are feeling overwhelmed and like you need a day to put down everything around you and drive somewhere to spend some quality time with yourself, or with a family member or friend, please do yourself a favor, take a personal (or sick) day, and go. You owe it to yourself. You may even come home a better version of yourself. If you ask me, that is a priceless advantage.

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Homeward Bound

Although I’m not exactly sure the where and when of my next day trip with Andrew, as for now, I am taking a different kind of trip this weekend. I am going home for the first time since moving. I look forward to taking this opportunity as another form of much-needed therapy at the moment, and I eagerly await wrapping my arms around the necks of my loved ones.

Life is always heavy my friends. However, when you find yourself especially feeling the weight of reality, sometimes you really need to wrap yourself in the blanket that is home. See you soon Pensacola.

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