Last week I returned to Florida for the first time since I left in January 2014. After making it known on social media I was in Orlando for work, no fewer than three people asked within a short time if I would be visiting South Florida during my trip to the Sunshine State. (Nice to know I’m missed!) Although I thought of ways to incorporate a trip south into my trip, the timing and logistics weren’t in my favor. But I need to return soon.
In my time away, I’ve missed Florida more than and in ways I never thought I would. It’s a weird place known for its crazy stories—hope on Twitter and search #Floriduh, @FloridaMan and @FloridaWoman, if you don’t believe me—but we were all there together trying to enjoy life. It’s a crazy place but, as a resident, it was my home. Returning brought mixed feelings; I left almost eight years of my life and experiences there. Last week I was an outsider looking in. As someone staying at a Disney hotel for work, I was a tourist passing through.
But I didn’t have much time to dwell on the past, as my work trips are jam packed with activities. After landing in Orlando I was working the next 10 hours, and started working the next day eight hours later. Day two I gave myself an hour and a half break (mostly to eat lunch) and walked over to the Boardwalk to grab some vegan treats from Erin McKenna’s Bakery (formerly Babycakes, which I love and have written about here and here). Otherwise, the meals I had at the Swan and Dolphin hotels weren’t up to the Disney standard I had previously experienced, and vegetarian options were limited, even when I asked, so that was disappointing.
What I lacked in food variety I made up for in beer. I was on a mission for a Yuengling Lager and Cigar City Jai Alai, which I had. I was also able to have a few other Cigar City beers (Florida Cracker and Inversion) and a Funky Buddha Floridian.
Despite being busy with work, I was able to sneak in a few hours of pool time soaking in that glorious Florida sun, being reminded how much I “glisten” in the heat and humidity. Despite that, I need to make an effort to plan a trip back to the place I called home a majority of my adult life.