As we got into Florida, we were getting more and more exhausted from the heat, and now we had the humidity to deal with too. In hindsight, we probably should have headed North to cooler temperatures after Vegas, but we were so close to the end now I just wanted to follow through with our plans and finish up the trip right.
The first campground we stayed was Skunk Ape Headquarters Campground near the Everglades – something I’ve been wanting to check out since watching Dexter, where he kills someone in the Everglades and it’s pretty cool. After going to the swamp in Louisiana we were no longer interested in the swamp, so we stayed just outside the Everglades to try and avoid the bugs and heat. It did not work since the entire area of Southern Florida is basically all swamp. At the campsite, we were the only ones staying there, other than about one thousand of these fellows:
You could barely walk around the campsite without stepping on them and crunching them. When you went pee in the middle of the night, you knew it wasn’t the grass that was crunching, but there were so many you could not walk without squashing them. I felt bad, but not even a headlamp could help me avoid them all. There were a few other creatures with us too!
We heard there was a local alligator, and then we found out he was chained up in the zoo so we never saw him. We asked about wild ones and they said the two young chaps below make sure none of them enter the campgrounds.
Skunk Ape had a small “zoo” but all the animals in there seemed really unhappy so we didn’t want to support it. We 100% do not recommend this place because of the shitty zoo, the infestation of bugs, and the crap customer service. I’d play with those doggies any day though.
After that, we stopped in Miami since I had a friend who lived there, but we were unable to reach him. We headed down to Bayside Marketplace to buy some souvenirs and check out the scenery. It was pretty aight. It felt like a safe city, but it was just a city to us. We were excited to head down to Key West, mainly so we could head up North sooner. We had Five Guys Burgers and Fries and a squirrel came in to eat the free peanuts and it was soooo cute watching him escape everyone who tried to shoe him out! We are always pro-squirrel, every time.
Miami appeared to be a hub for cruise ships which are always cool to watch due to the sheer size of them. Could you imagine driving one? I could barely steer a houseboat! I still haven’t eaten at Bubba Gump, but I am a fan. I can’t really justify overpriced deep fried shrimp just because I liked Forrest Gump.
From Miami, we headed to Key West. Key West was one of the places I was stoked to see because it would lead us to touch another corner of the States and we’d get to drive across a massive stretch of bridge the connects many islands, or “Keys” as they call them. They also created Key Lime Pie in the keys were Key Limes grow, and lemme tell you, the pie was delish!
Being in Key West basically reminded me of being in a tropical touristy place like Mexico, but it felt safer and everything was expensive, think of the USD currency right? We only had one night here since it was more than a budget traveler wants to spend on a hotel. We swam in the pool, walked to the pier and watched the Sunset Celebration, we had dinner oceanside, and watched some of the street performers.
All over the Keys there were really expensive properties that appeared to be fancy summer homes for people. Actually, I think we read the peak season is January and February to avoid the hurricanes. Throughout the Keys, many of these homes were devastated from hurricane Irma and other hurricanes. It made it seem like buying a place here would not be worth it because there would be a disaster every 5-10 years or so and you’d have to rebuild.
Overall it was exactly what I expected: drunk people walking from bar to bar getting more drunk. A drunk guy came into the candy shop we were getting some pick-n-mix from. He asked Jess which candies she liked and she said the gummy circles, and he said, “haven’t you ever wondered what something else might be like?” and then he left without a trace, and without paying for the candies he ate. Sometimes you just want a quick fix for that sugar buzz craving I suppose. Unfortunately, I did not hear any Beach Boys songs in Key West.
As we got close to Florida, I had a feeling we wouldn’t like it as much as I initially thought we would. I am starting to learn the types of places that make Jess and I most comfortable, and I am also learning that feeling comfortable, safe, and secure is very important while you travel. It’s also important for both people traveling to feel this way. If one person feels uncomfortable, both people will feel the repercussions. I was right, Florida was just okay for us. We may have been hungover while visiting, but I just don’t think I’m all about the ‘getting wasted everyday on vacation’ type of travel anymore.
On this leg of the journey, I learned that we both need to want to be somewhere or the experience is gonna fizzle out; we aren’t going to vibe well and that can set everything amuck. Jess and I view places very differently. Your perspective of a place changes over time. Before you get there you base it off of whatever research you’ve done and what you’ve heard from friends or through media. When you are there, the people you interact with, the weather, your mood, everything will affect how you feel about it. When you leave, that perspective changes once again and you may see things as better or worse than when you were there, and also it will be much different from the perspective you had before you got there. Everyone might view their experience different too.
If your travel is flexible, you don’t HAVE to go everywhere you said you would on your itinerary. Make changes, reroute, and work together to make sure both people are keen and really, truly want to be somewhere. If part of you isn’t satisfied with being there, go somewhere else. 🙂