Saturday, September 18, 2010

Road Trip: Happiness in Daytona Beach

It was a far, far cry from the Everglades.

I laid on the smooth sand in the cozy Daytona Beach night air and let the warm water roll over me. It seemed worlds away from the hot tent, viscous mosquitoes, and the bathroom lizard of nights prior. As far as I was concerned, everything was perfect.

We had stumbled upon what felt like the greatest little place on Earth–or at least in Daytona Beach, the Sand Castle Motel. It was adorable. And it was a stone's throw from the beach, literally. The faded pastel yellow of the building was warm and inviting, and the sign at the front read: "Welcome Back." It was almost as though they already knew you would fall in love, and return to the Sand Castle one day.

The room had everything. Recliner chairs for watching tv, a full kitchen complete with dishes, and even a little dining table. But it was the toothbrush holder that got me. It was just like spending summers and Granny's when everything felt just right. Although I didn't put my toothbrush in it, because really, you just never know–but it still made me happy.

We stayed in the room just long enough to sort ourselves out, and then we grabbed a flashlight and headed for the beach. It was dark, but the ocean has a way of speaking to me, so it didn't matter that all I could see was my very next step and only with the help of the flashlight.

There aren't very many things that can beat a night on the beach. I let the gentle waves splash up against my belly as I looked out on the darkened ocean and took it all in. I could have stayed here forever. And the best part was that there was no place else I needed to be. We couldn’t help but relish in the perfection of the moment, the feeling of absolute freedom and be grateful all over again for having given ourselves the opportunity to experience it.

This is what I travel for, for these moments of absolute contentment, for the feeling of not wanting to be any other place than right where you are.  I travel for the thrill of being somewhere new, exploring something new, and experiencing something new. I live for this feeling and I am determined to capture it as often as I can. 

I understand that there will come a time for being practical and not running off on this trip and that (and according to my depleting bank account and concerned parents–that time should be very soon), but you can’t be perfectly practical all the time or life will fly past you on its way to see the world. You have to be a little bit crazy to just pick up and decide to live. You have to be a little bit crazy to take a month long road trip across the country without really having the funds to back it or any prospects of collecting the funds to repay it. I know I have my fair share of crazy, but everyone needs at least some of it. Without it, you are just trapped in practicality (which is okay if you like that kind of thing). It saddens me to hear people say, “I wish I could do that,” when I share my travel stories. I always wonder why they can’t. I don’t believe they are physically chained and bolted to their desks, although they may feel that way. I know that I don’t have anything that they do not, especially not money. Perhaps I have just reclaimed the key to the lock on my bolt and chain, and unlocked it. I think the only thing missing is a little courage; that little dose of crazy that is responsible for some of the more exciting moments in life. If there is something you want to do, do it before you get too old/tired/sick to enjoy it. 

Sure I might be a little broke, but everyone I know that is making money, would rather be at the beach right now. I am happy to have this life. I am happy to have given myself the freedom to live. I’ll keep my little bit broke and little bit crazy if it gets me to a beach in Daytona while my friends and family sit in the monotonous confines of their cubicles. I wouldn’t trade this for anything. Not even for the snakeskin gladiator pumps at Nordstrom that refuse to stop calling my name…yes, beach is better than shoes. Beach is better than shoes…beach is…Sigh.

Daytona was a beautiful reminder of everything that is great about quitting your job...

*NOTE: There are no pictures because sometimes you just cannot capture a perfect moment. Especially at night without a fancy camera. 


Eurotrip Tips said...

Once again, excellent post! I love how you mention that travel IS simple and only depends on WHEN one decides to actually jump in the adventure.

I haven't been away in a while, but that because the bf is doing his masters. In two years, it will be over and we'll have the opportunity to travel, mostly for his work. And I really can't wait.

Until then, I also have to shut down the voices of the cute crossbody bag at HM.

As always, it was a pleasure to read!

travelgirl said...

i'm feeling you on the "rather be broke than stuck in a cubicle." i actually have been having that exact dilemma over here in edinburgh...the entire time i was planning to go to dublin, but it ended up costing more than i thought, and after a long chat with my mom she finally convinced me to go because she said it's better to have experiences than it is to have money. your road trip sounds really fun, can't wait to keep reading! :)

Thuyen said...

I hear ya. While you can play, play. Direness finds a way of dissipating - things work themselves out. In the meantime, a little bit of sensibility and crazy is a potent solution.

Tara said...

Thanks Marie! I hope the 2 yrs goes by fast and maybe you can squeeze some little trips in between ;)

Tara said...

Travelgirl–how great to have your mom on your side like that! I agree, money can always be remade. Thanks for reading!

Tara said...

Well said Thuyen! Thanks ;)

Mary R said...

Such a great blog post! It's true that you have to capture a moment and hold onto it as it lasts. I agree with the traveling even though it might not be completely practical part. The way I approach it is that I never know what will happen in the future that will prevent me from seeing the world.

Looking forward to reading more!

Tara said...

Thanks for your comment Mary! I agree with you, we have to travel now while we know we can. Thanks for reading :)

Related Posts with Thumbnails