Sometimes the things we want most in life come at a price we cannot afford. Travelling has always been one of my top priorities growing up. I always loved our family road trips, almost just as much as I hated sitting in the middle seat, or worse, in the back seat with my three then-much-younger siblings. Looking back now I am so grateful that we didn’t take two cars because this time together became crucial bonding (and occasionally hating on each other) time.
I have seen a lot of North America, more than I can even remember, thanks to my parents. At least once a year, if not more, we would rent a big enough car like the Lincoln Navigator (my personal favourite), and we would go on road trips. My dad, the most determined and dedicated man I know, would always drive there and back. My mom, always keeping him company with chats and replays of his favourite classical Indian and Pakistani music. (I bet you I can sing along to more classic South Asian music than you could even imagine) Now if I hear that music, I am reminded of those road trips and it makes me feel warm and gooey inside, hoping that we can all do another trip like that again.
I’ve had my share of travelling with friends ever since I moved away from home in 2010. These are two different experiences and I believe you cannot compare the two. Trips with friends are a different kind of fun than that with family. I wouldn’t say one is better than the other, it really just depends on your relationship with both your friends and family.
Last year I fulfilled my “once a year, go some place you’ve never been before” quota by flying to Florida. For the most part it was a spontaneous trip with an open itinerary. Usually when I travel I have a list of places I want to visit and I especially have a list of culinary delights I want to experience. However, this trip I had nothing specific planned and left mostly everything to my friends who live in Florida and to spur-of-the-moment decisions. It was a very liberating feeling because no one was under any pressure or time restraints – well, at least I didn’t feel under pressure to cross things off a list. I knew that whatever we did we would enjoy it because we were in good company and…because we were in Florida!
I can’t quite recall all the events that occurred in chronological order, but I know that we arrived there really early in the morning and spent the first few hours of the morning relaxing and recuperating from the flight. We ran to the beach which was the backyard of the place where my friends were staying. We caught the sun as it was rising behind the unsettled ocean. My friends’ place was phenomenal! It felt akin to a resort, except it was more personalized. We were blessed with amazing home-cooked food almost all meals of the day. It felt like I was with family.
As we settled in and fell in love with our friends’ place, we went over some things we wanted to do in the next four to five days. We all agreed that some water activities were a must. We had allotted ourselves some time to take a quick nap before we began our adventures. I cannot recall if we followed through with taking a nap or if we were too excited to explore so we carried on with the day. Regardless, I know were didn’t waste much time going over particulars. Collectively and suddenly we all decided it would be best if we woke up early the next morning and drove to Orlando, Florida in order to experience Disney World. To our surprise, we managed to get in the car as early as 6 in the morning and started making our way to Orlando.
Almost four hours later, we arrived at the doors of Magic Kingdom in Disney World. Exhausted still from the flight and the day after, we made our way to the ticket booths as the sun started to beam, providing us with some much needed energy. It became unbearably hot within minutes of our arrival and we wished we had come equipped with hats and sunscreen. We chose the Ferry as our method of transportation to the Magic Kingdom and decided we would take the train on the way back.
The park was incredible, down to the smallest of details. You can see how much effort is put into making and maintaining the park. The upkeep must be exhausting. I think it’s easy to forget and take for granted the small details because we enter the mark for amusement and all that we care for is if they were successful in making it a fun time. There was even an elaborate parade in the middle of the day which was so much fun to watch! I definitely recommend visiting Magic Kingdom if you find yourself in Florida, you will not be disappointed! We spent an entire day and I felt there was still so much that I needed to see. Until next time!
We left Orlando after catching the park fireworks, and in time to be back in Fort Lauderdale (where we were staying) to sleep, knowing that we had a lot to do the following day.
We awoke at a decent time on our third day and decided to go to the Miami Marina for some much needed jet skiing. I did two rounds of the ocean and on the second round our jet skis tipped over and flipped. After drying up, we headed to South Pointe Beach to enjoy the view and watch the larger-than-life cruise ships leave the port. If you think these cruise ships are massive, think again. They are literally a 90-story building laying on its side…Imagine that! It is the most incredible feeling watching this humungous ships move slowly past you in open water. After a lot of walking around we made our way back to downtown Miami for the night to explore Wynwood Walls, an urban area full of art and graffiti walls. This place is the most hip place in Miami (I feel anyway). There was music playing everywhere, a huge outdoor gathering of numerous arts, recreation and food. The walls were covered in numerous intricate art pieces that you could spend hours staring at them in awe. I would definitely come here again and again if I ever find myself in Miami in the future. I wasn’t able to take many pictures because we were rushing ourselves. We wanted to get home to sleep in order to get up the next morning for another spontaneous plan!
It was a complete spur of the moment decision and we all agreed once again. We decided to take one the day cruise ships to The Bahamas for our last day on this trip. We found a great deal on Groupon and the timings worked perfectly for us. We left at 7 in the morning and returned just in time to catch our flight at 10 at night.
The island we chose to go to was Bimini Island. It was absolutely beautiful! We rented a golf cart and literally drove around the resort like a bunch of tourists. We drove a little to the mainland where the locals lived. I picked up a few postcards and then we went back to the resort where we spent hours at the beach. We collected sea shells and soaked ourselves in the waters of the resort until our hands and feet wrinkled. Then we made our way back to the cruise and rushed to the airport to catch our flight – in denial that the trip was over.
Have you been to Florida? What sorts of activities did you do? What is something you would really like to do in Miami? Comment below and let me know! I would love to hear your stories!