Friday, May 29, 2015

My First Solo Vacation

[This is slightly overdue considering I got back Tuesday night, but I hit the ground running Wednesday morning at school. Research won't do itself!]

I took my first solo vacation over the holiday weekend. Granted I went to Pensacola, Florida to stay with family, but I traveled alone and even rented my first car. 

I love Pensacola. It's like my second home. If you want to visit Florida but you don't want to go to your typical tourist-y spots, I suggest Pensacola. It's so full of life and history. Not to mention it's right on the gulf. 

So let's start at the beginning of the trip. I kept a list of things I saw from the plane because it was kind of fascinating.
1. Ft. Wayne (I flew over Indiana to my connection in Chicago. I see you Ft. Fun!)
2. Rush hour traffic (probably a few miles of nearly standstill traffic on an interstate)
3. Lake Michigan (kinda weird looking out and seeing just blue)
4. Chicago (way more widespread that I ever realized!)
5. Lowes (they have their name on the top of their building in HUGE letters - great for marketing I guess?)
6. Another plane flying below us (probably the freakiest thing ever)
7. Lightening (this was on my way home, but it was super cool)

I love flying and all that comes with it. Especially the people watching. I spent the majority of my layover in Chicago (nearly 4 hours thanks to a flight delay) watching people while drinking a big ol' margarita.
(The biggest margarita I've ever had...not counting Cinco de Mayo)

Because I'm in Florida, I immediately started packing for the beach when I got up on Saturday. Pensacola Beach is such a fun place! There's so much stuff to do on Santa Rosa Island - regardless of if you spend your time on the gulf side or the bay side, it's all gorgeous. They have parasailing, boat rentals, so many bars and restaurants, among many other things. My favorite place to sit is on the main beach right by the beach ball water tower. There's a bar/restaurant right on the beach there. Like you just walk up in your swimsuit with no shoes on and order food or drinks (or both!). I cannot get enough of this place.
(White sand, blue water, blue skies, perfection)

I spent Saturday and Sunday there because why not? I also had looked at the forecast and they were calling for rain and storms Monday and Tuesday. Naturally I had to soak up as much sun as I could! Going to the beach multiple times meant I got to test my knowledge of Pensacola roads. I've only ever driven down there once, so this weekend was really exciting for me! Almost all of the roads are in a grid pattern and there's signs everywhere (always helpful).

Other than spending time at the beach and learning the roads of P'cola, I hung out with my aunt a lot. She's fun and crazy and has the same sense of humor and outlook on life as me. Guess it runs in the family! After eating at Peg Leg Pete's (my fave restaurant probably ever), she took me downtown and showed me some of the best places in town. We even stopped by the Wahoo's stadium since there was a game going on. We didn't buy tickets, but the people were nice enough to let us in so I could see the stadium all lit up! Fun fact for my Ohio friends: the Wahoos are an affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds.
(My beautiful Aunt Karen)

(Oysters Rockefeller - the best oysters ever!)

(Shrimp, scallops, grouper, oh my!)

(We "went to a Wahoos game")

The last crazy thing I did on vacation was the craziest thing I've done in a while.

I colored my hair.

This is the during process. I've always had brown hair with natural highlights. But it's summer. And I want a change. Also my best friend got a new piercing so I felt like I needed to be equally rebellious! Everyone goes light in the summer, so to be a rebel I thought I'd go darker in the summer. But not just darker - redder. Yep, my hair has a red tint to it. 

It's definitely still brown (I'm not that rebellious), but I love the hidden red. One of my professors even noticed. "Did you put red in your hair?" "Yes I did." "Hmmm...weird." Thanks Dr. Sommer. I appreciate the enthusiasm. (We do really get along well, he just gives me a hard time.)

All in all, this was a wonderful vacation. Probably one of my more favorite times away from home!

A few shoutouts:
-Enterprise for having the lowest underage driver fee. Seriously y'all saved me so much money!
-Peg Leg Pete's for having my favorite seafood in Pensacola. No joke if you travel to P'cola, you have to eat there! And look for a license plate from your home state (if you go you'll get what I'm talking about).
-My cousin Trina for the wonderful new hair color. If you're in Pensacola and looking for a change, hit her up at Benjamin and Larry's!
-Cody for being a fellow Ball State alum who sat next to me on my last flight and kept me company. Glad we both got to experience running through the Charlotte airport - but praise the Lord we made our flight!


Thanks Pensacola for providing me with a wonderful long weekend away from the Midwest! I can't wait to go back!

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