Day in the Life: Kayaking to Dignitaries

When my day job and blogging habit collide, the result can be a wild and wooly day, such as Wednesday. It wasn’t a bad day, just fast-paced, like any other day this time of year.

So what’s a day in the life of Solo Travel Girl? Nothing typical and can’t say no two days are the same but Wednesday seemed as though it went from one extreme to another. Here are the day’s highlights, some are regular routines while others aren’t. Can you guess which are typical?

5:58 a.m. First alarm indicates its time to get up and press the snooze button for 9 minutes of sleep. But, the cats know what that sound is, the mealtime bell. They meow. I let out a whimper, trying to ignore their pitiful cries for food.

6:07 a.m. Second alarm sounds. One cat jumps on the bed while the other sits on the floor. I can feel her stare although my eyes are closed. Pitiful meows continue while I reply with whimpers.

6:15 a.m. Crickets scream it’s time to get up on my iPhone. Ugh. I stumble out of bed, feed the cats and get the oatmeal cooking. I spend the next 15 minutes scanning emails, Twitter mentions and Facebook comments. There just isn’t enough time to reply to all because some require research. *sigh* Maybe I’ll get to those over the weekend. Then again, maybe next weekend.

Don Pedro Island State Park, Fla.
Don Pedro Island State Park, Fla.

6:30 a.m. Get ready for work including finishing cooking my oatmeal (5-minute Quaker Oats cooked in 1 part water, 1 part Silk’s Almond Mild with a few dried cranberries), uploading a post to the blog, catching the morning news, hopping in the shower, putting on my face and find something presentable for the office.

7:40 a.m. Now, I’m not sure how it’s gotten to be 7:40 a.m. already considering I began the wake up process at 5:58 a.m. I feel I’m late for work already. I actually have this same issue each morning. Too much dilly-dallying. Ugh!

7:57 a.m. Made it into the office 3 minutes early. Yes! Checking and responding to work emails, I’m on a roll. Then my iPhone rings. It’s one of the ladies joining me on the Alaska trip (which deserves its own post someday). She doesn’t have a computer so doesn’t use email or the Internet for research. She’s asking me for our August itinerary and told me the car rental rate was $1,200. Apologized for not thinking of the itinerary since it’s in August and over the last 3 weeks I’ve had one full day off and have been sick, so no time for planning. And $1,200 for a 10-day car rental? I quickly researched car rental rates and found rates half the cost and remembered, she was calling the agencies rather than using the Internet.

And then the day rolls. I spent the rest of the morning preparing a document for an upcoming special, responding to some emails and driving to a couple of businesses while picking up certificates for an upcoming Florida promotion.

Gopher Tortoise, Don Pedro Island State Park, Fla.
Gopher Tortoise on Don Pedro Island State Park, Fla.

11:30 a.m. I meet up with a travel/outdoor writer and photographer couple and answer their questions regarding the destination and our upcoming afternoon activity: kayaking and their marriage vow ceremony.

1 p.m. We head to Don Pedro Island State Park Land Base where we meet Chris Warren of opens in a new windowPhoenix Rising Kayak Tours. He’s our guide for the afternoon and performs the vow ceremony for the couple. We paddle out to Don Pedro Island State Park which is only accessible by private boat or seasonally through a passenger ferry offered by opens in a new windowGrande Tours of Placida.

Saying it was an absolutely gorgeous day is an understatement. Words cannot describe the perfect temperature, breeze and vibrancy of the sun but trust me, it was a fantabulous day to be in a kayak and exploring Don Pedro Island.

Along the way to the ceremony site we met a couple of gopher tortoises, not sure what it is about this guys but I just adore them.

The couple says their vows in Gulf of Mexico waves lapping on the beach. In their mid-70s, they have been married about 8 months. Since the weddings by kayak trip is a new feature, I thought it’d be a nice thing to arrange and the couple, Warren and Jeanne Resen did, too.

Wedding Vow Ceremony by Phoenix Rising Kayak Tours, Don Pedro Island State Park, Fla.
Wedding Vow Ceremony, Don Pedro Island State Park, Fla.

We walk back to the park pavilion and find seashells and fossilized shark’s teeth. We snack on cool, juicy fruit and cheese once we reach the pavilion then leave the island to paddle through the “Tunnel of Love,” a tunnel crafted by Mother Nature where the mangroves have formed a shaded, windy tunnel. We later enjoy a champagne toast to bid good wishes to the happy couple.

Champagne Toast
Jeanne and Warren Resen Share a Champagne Toast, Feb. 23, 2011

4:30 p.m. Back on land, I call one of the businesses to pick up the gift certificates but no one answers, the offices are closed. I head out to Manasota Key to pick up another certificate and on my way back, stop at the business I tried calling earlier to see if by chance, they are open.

5:15 p.m. Darn! They’re closed, I head home to prepare for my evening.

5:45 p.m. Pull into my driveway not trying to have a panic attack. Was planning on being in Sarasota around 6 p.m. for a nice dinner before hearing Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair speak but plans change. I hop in the shower, slap on makeup and cut the tags off my dress.

6:15 p.m. I’m on the road for Sarasota and arrive at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall at 7:15 p.m. The talk is part of the opens in a new windowRingling College Town Hall Lecture Series. *phew!* (Cameras weren’t permitted hence the iPhone photo taken at a distance.)

Tony Blair at the Ringling College Town Hall Lecture Series, Feb. 23, 2011opens IMAGE file
Tony Blair at the Ringling College Town Hall Lecture Series, Feb. 23, 2011

7:30 p.m. Introductions and accolades before Mr. Blair appears on stage around 7:45 p.m. He was insightful, funny, humbled and authentic. Following his speech, he sat down for a Q&A session with the moderator for 30 minutes. What does he think of social media? He sees the value but recommends to be careful how it’s used professionally and suggests politicians don’t get swept up in it but control the message.

Does he regret offering a hand of friendship to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi? He said no, he didn’t regret bringing him out of the cold because the Libyan leader agreed to cooperate when it came to terrorism and agreed not to harbor terrorists. But, Blair stressed he did not agree what the Gaddafi was doing in Libya today.

What keeps him up at night? Nothing, it’s what gets him up in the morning: a purpose.

Following his talk, I’m one of the lucky ones who meets him and his wife, Cherie, and have our photo taken.

9:30 p.m.
I head home with a pit stop at McDonald’s for dinner. And my trainer doesn’t know why I’m losing weight. Well, he knows why, I’m the one in denial.

10:30 p.m. Log onto the Internet, check emails and began this post.

12:30 a.m. Called it a night to begin another day.

So what’s your day like?



Jennifer A. Huber is an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. The unexpected death of her former husband in 2008 reminded her how short life is. His passing was a catalyst for sharing her experiences with the goal of inspiring and empowering others to travel solo. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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