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Florida Travel Diary

February 24, 2015 2:43 pm
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George was diagnosed with cancer in 2011. In early 2014, George got in touch with us regarding some questions he had about travel insurance with medical conditions (and sports-based activities), as he felt in a good enough place - mentally and physically - to go on the holiday he’d always dreamt of: two weeks in the Sunshine State, Florida. The following is a lovely recount of his trip.

South Beach – Days 1 – 3

After an evening of nightmarish packing, the mandatory early-morning dash to the airport and a long flight, I’d finally made it to Florida with my wife! A driving tour of the state had been my ‘dream vacation’ for a long time, for various reasons: the climate, the wildlife, the beaches, the scenery and the amazing amount of things available to do. I had always felt it was a place that could offer the relaxation I wanted, as well as the exciting stuff I usually crave when on holiday – I can get a bit restless if I chill out for too long! Naturally, I was absolutely over the moon to finally arrive. Our organised route was simple – start from the South (Miami) and drive up to Orlando, with some stops in between. It was something I’d been planning meticulously for a long time.

We landed at Miami international, picked up the car and headed to our first destination of the fortnight; South Beach. I was really keen to get out there and see the shore & walkway, as well as grab a nice drink, but my jet-lag got the better of me. When we finally made it outside, the afternoon weather was just right at 25℃. I knew it’d take me a short while to get used to the time difference, so I’d planned to make the first couple of days extremely relaxing; enjoying sunbathing and gently exploring the area both in the car and on foot. However, on our last day in South Beach, I was already feeling the urge to take a walk on the wild side. I noticed an ad for water skiing and bit the bullet. What an experience! It was an immense thrill to feel like I was gliding on the water… for 3 seconds at a time. Whenever I got a bit of momentum going, I ended up face first in the Atlantic. Balance has never been one of my strengths, evidently.

A picture of Fort Lauderdale Beach sign Paradise

Fort Lauderdale – Days 4 – 8

I know I can take a while to settle on holiday, hence why I felt it’d be best to keep the relaxing theme for a little while longer. So I planned to head to the Venice of America, Fort Lauderdale, with its serene canals and white beaches, for the next part of our tour. I was too proud to admit it to my wife but I was really glad to get back to a gentler pace as I was a bit sore after the water skiing! Fort Lauderdale is a fascinating area to look around, so, again, we spent the majority of our time exploring the sights by foot and car. I particularly enjoyed Las Olas Boulevard for its quirkier architecture and places to eat and drink. Throughout the whole trip, Fort Lauderdale Beach was without doubt my favourite spot to relax. The shore itself is beautiful, but the walkway meant I could easily find something to do or look at for an hour or so if I got itchy feet.

Day 7

We drove a bit further back South for this one to do an activity I’d wanted to experience for years: taking a ride along the Everglades in an airboat. I’m a sucker for speed, as well as being fascinated by the Floridian countryside and wildlife (crocs, in particular). Since I’d had this in my sights for such a long time, I was like a kid at Christmas on the tour. I don’t think the guide was too pleased about it, mind, as I pestered him for information whenever possible!

Florida airboat

Hittin’ the Everglades!

Ocala National Forest – Days 9 – 11

I’d booked a cabin in this delightful woodland so I could really get into the natural side of Florida. I knew we’d be heading to Orlando after this quick stop and that it’d be action-packed, so we took the chance to just take it all in by walking the hiking trails and basking in the springs. Although, the temptation to do something more fast-paced did overcome me, at one point, when I was offered the chance to do a spot of kayaking. I duly obliged!

Orlando – Days 11 – 14

This was my chance to really let my hair down and go for it; the most hell-for-leather part of the holiday. As you might’ve guessed, I’m a bit of a big kid at heart. Naturally, Universal Studios was one of the places I wanted to try, with their reputation for fast roller coasters. My wife really isn’t keen on them so she spent most of the day waiting for me!

The penultimate day was spent driving up to Daytona Beach and having a mooch around there. As a lover of speed-related things, I had scheduled in a visit to Daytona International Speedway. There weren’t any races on during our stay, but I did the tour and managed to sneak a peek of a driver doing some training.

To finish off our trip, I got to tick another activity off my list that I’d wanted to do for a long, long time – diving. It was one of the most magnificent experiences of my life. I only did a basic class, but got to see some extraordinary water wildlife. This had been something my wife had also really wanted to do too, it was a brilliant experience for us to share.

Our flight was scheduled to leave Orlando in the evening so, after our morning scuba, we got back into panic packing mode, wolfed down some sumptuous grub, drove to the airport and snoozed the whole journey home. A truly unforgettable trip!

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