There’s no doubt much of Southwest Florida has its roots in the Midwest. Look around during the winter, heck, even year-round, and you’ll see plenty of license plates from states as Ohio, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Toledo Blade which runs through North Port into Charlotte County is named after The Blade, or the Toledo Blade, the daily newspaper of Toledo, Ohio.
“Stalactites hang down like tights on a clothing line,” I remember my mom telling me sometime during my childhood. When it was time for college, I began as a communications major and ended with a bachelor’s degree in rocks and dirt, otherwise known as earth science.
Following Dirk down the sidewalk along Karl-Mark-Allee, a boulevard built during the days of the German Democratic Republic, and looking at the pre-fabricated apartment buildings, I imagined what life was like in a 1949 – 1990 East Berlin behind the Berlin Wall. Admittedly, I am ignorant when it comes to historical events around the GDR, a totalitarian Communist dictatorship, but with each step during the tour, Dirk painted a vivid image of what that life looked like through engaging the five senses.
“Are you having fun?” 16-year-old Sage Offutt asked with a smile as she pulled up next to me on her teal-colored scooter. Her long, strawberry-blonde hair was loosely tied up in a bun on top of her head and she wore a tie-dyed T-shirt which read, “Just Livin’ the Dream.”
If you were give an airline ticket to visit any place in the world, where would you go? Traveling to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, was a big check off my bucket list and don’t think it would have ever happened without the assistance of Turkish Airlines. See, in October 2015 they ran a campaign launching new air service between Miami and Istanbul, Turkey.
Traveling solo to Kansas City wasn’t my original intention when planning to attend BlogPaws, the pet bloggers’ conference earlier this month. I was hoping for an adventurous road trip with my dog Radcliff. As the conference date grew near, I did the math and decided it was more economical to fly on Allegiant nonstop from Punta Gorda into Kansas City and leave Radcliff with his pet sitter rather than driving two or three days each way.
Do you call it soda or pop? Either way, sip it in Sebring. My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree when I learned there was a shop designated to soda pop in Sebring. For months I had the inaugural Sebring Soda Festival on my calendar and even told visiting friends and family who planned last-minute Florida trips I could not meet with them because I had plans to see how high I could get my blood sugar by sampling some of the 200 sodas available during the festival. TWO HUNDRED SODAS.
I don’t say this lightly but my Airbnb in Berlin, Germany, was eclectic and awesome! This was my first Airbnb experience (and you’ll hear more about that in another post) and I’m thrilled to report it was a positive one.
A walk in a German forest with a man and his pack of dogs sounds like the beginning of a Lifetime movie and not necessarily the one with a happy ending. Meeting a man I have never met in a forest, in another country really seems like a bad idea. Add to that 15 dogs I never met and it seems like an even worse idea. Doing this goes against all common sense as a solo traveler. But, this is one of the things I did in Berlin and it turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life!
It’s been more than a year and I have a boatload of experiences still to share including a visit the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. The visit came about because I was in the nation’s capital attending the inauguration of President Trump then attended the Women’s March the following day.
Recently, I stayed at a Red Roof PLUS+ hotel and cannot believe the experience I had with my dog. Yes, I admit I am a bit jaded when it comes to hotels. When I was younger, I stayed in ratty roadside motels that were a little suspect. As I grew in my career and travel blogging, I have since stayed in a range of accommodations that can be described as simple to stately and plain to posh.
Seemingly unlucky in love, am I better off with a canine companion than a man in my life? After spending Thanksgiving alone (by choice) I hopped in the car and headed to the Everglades for a couple of days with my dog in tow. Hours spent driving meant idle time which always gets my mind churning.
Hurricane Irma ripped through Florida three weeks ago and I’m still finding my normalcy. Except for a few fallen palm fronds and a wind-blown bougainvillea, this devastating storm spared my home and property yet, I’m still feeling unsettled as I transition from surviving to living.
Forget about a Rocky Mountain high, how about a Smoky Mountains shine? Exploring and traveling on my own is my identity and my trip to Eastern Tennessee was no different. Traveling solo in Gatlinburg I inhaled the Smokies’ fresh mountain air, learned about some of the moonshine culture, explored caverns and almost got myself in trouble with the federal government!
Find kitchen-kitsch at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum and a country cousins shrine to The Dukes of Hazzard in two quirky Gatlinburg, Tennessee, museums.