All Things Brews, Bayshore, and Tampa Bay with Hannah

In Episode 19, The Travel Brats interview Tampa Bay native, Hannah, abou hot spots in the neighborhoods, brewing companies, outdoorsy activities, sport events, and hidden gems that are a must. Hannah shares her insights on making the most out of a Friday night on the Bayshore to spending the day at a local park!

Tampa is made up of several parts and neighborhoods.

Some of the best places to visit are: 

-Downtown Tampa https://www.tampasdowntown.com/

-South Tampa/ Bayshore https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g34678-d147138-Reviews-Bayshore_Boulevard-Tampa_Florida.html

-Ybor City https://yborcityonline.com/

-Citrus Park https://www.niche.com/places-to-live/citrus-park-hillsborough-fl/

Exciting Places to Hang Out

BREWERIES

-Tampa Bay Brewing Co. (Ybor and Westchase) https://www.tbbc.beer/home

-Coppertail Brewing Co. (Ybor, right across the street from IKEA) https://coppertailbrewing.com/

-Brew Bus Brewing (they have busses that take you all over Tampa to different breweries) https://brewbususa.com/

-Cigar City Brewing Co. (South Tampa) https://www.cigarcitybrewing.com/

-Six/Ten Brewing (Central Tampa by the airport) https://www.sixtenbrewing.com/

Fun Parks and things to do outside

-Hillsborough River State Park https://www.floridastateparks.org/parks-and-trails/hillsborough-river-state-park

-Busch Gardens https://buschgardens.com/tampa/tickets/theme-park-tickets/?utm_source=google&utm_id=go_cmp-1488418546_adg-57107059186_ad-441700882502_kwd-92805455_dev-c_ext-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrrLyvqaU6gIVB0WGCh2zGgF7EAAYASAAEgI4V_D_BwE

-Adventure Island https://adventureisland.com/?utm_source=google&utm_id=go_cmp-1736156326_adg-77120006152_ad-374911442314_kwd-301868999751_dev-c_ext-&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIrtGkyKaU6gIVDE2GCh0oaADPEAAYASAAEgIrRPD_BwE

-Bayshore Blvd trails https://www.alltrails.com/trail/us/florida/bayshore-boulevard#:~:text=Bayshore%20Boulevard%20is%20a%208.8,must%20be%20kept%20on%20leash.

-Water Works https://www.tampagov.net/parks-and-recreation/featured-parks/waterworks

-Hyde Park https://hydeparkvillage.com/

-Armature Works https://armatureworks.com/

-Lowry Park Zoo https://zootampa.org/visitor-info/?utm_source=madden&utm_medium=googlegrantcpc&utm_campaign=dmflzoot&utm_content=visitorinfo&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIloPu8qaU6gIVE2KGCh0M9gMJEAAYASAAEgLjQfD_BwE

-Centro Ybor (Historic District)  https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/american_latino_heritage/ybor_city_historic_district.html

-Sparkman’s Warff https://sparkmanwharf.com/

-Channelside https://www.813area.com/tampa/channelside/

Sporting Events

-Amalie Arena–hockey games, students who show up in Lightning apparel and present ID can get into the “student rush” where they will place you in empty seats. You could be sitting right behind the glass. https://www.amaliearena.com/

-Raymond James Stadium– football games, should be a lot more popular now because of Brady and Gronk http://raymondjamesstadium.com/

Hidden Gems:

-Bru– a 16 tap taproom that sells beers from only Florida Breweries. They have games and trivia. They are dog friendly, kid friendly and have a kombucha and cold brew for non-alcoholic options https://www.brufl.com/

-Maloney’s Irish Pub–Wednesdays are $7 burgers…THE BEST BURGERS and they have trivia that night as well https://www.maloneyslocalirishpub.com/

-The Floridian– the best Cbuan sandwich around (we make the Cuban sandwich with pork, swiss cheese, mustard, pickles and SALAMI) https://floridanpalace.com/

-Burger Culture– a food truck that serves fresh burgers to order. They have a great fries too https://tampaharley.com/en/check-out-our-burger-culture-menu

-Breakout Games Escape Room- the best escape room I have been to ever https://breakoutgames.com/tampa

-Loli’s Tacos– authentic tacos that are served in a little shack, I always take it to go and eat it in the brewery down the road https://www.lolismexicancravings.com/

-Eddie and Sam N.Y. Pizza https://www.eddieandsamspizza.com/

-Mott and Hester’s Deli–best cheese ziti and meaty sandwiches https://www.mottandhesterdeli.com/

– Front Porch and Bart’s Tavern– located in a two story Victorian house on Florida Ave. they have string lights and awesome live music https://frontporchgrill.com/

Places to Eat

-Ulele- the best macaroni and cheese in Tampa (won several awards) https://www.ulele.com/

-Datz- a deli that serves really eclectic food from sandwiches to bacon stuffed meatloaf. They also have a chocolate shop that makes awesome little truffles and a bakery called Datz Dough (two locations one Downtown Tampa and the other in St. Pete) https://datztampa.com/

-Columbia Restaurant- famous for their 1905 salad and amazing traditional cuban food (Ybor) https://www.columbiarestaurant.com/

-Oxford Exchange- https://oxfordexchange.com/

-Daily Eats- super fancy but diner-like food serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34678-d794024-Reviews-Daily_Eats-Tampa_Florida.html

-Green Lemon https://www.opentable.com/green-lemon

-Bern’s Steakhouse and Dessert Room you can just do dessert if you want https://bernssteakhouse.com/harry-waugh-dessert-room/

-King of the Coop- Nashville Hot Chicken restaurant https://www.kingofthecoop.com/

-Bahama Bucks- shaved ice https://www.bahamabucks.com/

-Jeremiah’s – Italian ice https://jeremiahsice.com/locations/south-tampa

– Michael’s Grill– really great authentic italian food https://michaelsgrill.com/

Thanks for tuning in everyone, we appreciate Hannah for sharing her insights about the best places to visit in Tampa!

The Travel Brats Present: All Things Sand, Songs, & San Diego with Jayson Savich

In Episode 18, The Travel Brats interview travel and music enthusiast, Jayson Savich, where he shares all his insight into making the most out of your San Diego adventures. He highlights the hot spots you can’t miss, shouts out the best music venues, paints a picture of the nightlife, and shares the best ways to stay safe in a new, chill environment. It’s an episode all about Southern California.

Jayson is Ashley’s life long friend from her hometown in Lowell, IN. Ashley moved to FL almost 7 years ago and Jayson ventured out West almost 4 years ago to attend school. He now lives in Scripts Ranch in San Diego, California and really living out his musical dreams.

He gave us some background about San Diego by saying, “It’s a unique, different vibe. You can go 15 minutes in either direction and be at the beach or in the mountains. It’s crazy how just 30 minutes away and you can be in snow. It’s also pretty big, and the traffic can be a hassle and unpredictable. It’s not normal rush hour traffic like we think of.”

We asked about Renting A Car and he said, “If you are staying out far from the center of San Diego, you may want a car, but it’s really easy to get around and there is Uber and Lyft that you can use.”

We asked, “When is the best time to visit San Diego?”

He said, “The worst time to come is during the summer months!!!!” Listen to the podcast to find out why.

We asked, “What are your favorite things to do there? Do you have any local hacks for things to do? Any festivals? Things people wouldn’t know to check out?”

He said, “CONCERTS EVERYWHERE! There are like 17-18 venues and here are some of his favorites:

Okay we love talking about hidden gems — what can’t we miss there? ^^^

For the hot spots at night, here are Jay’s top picks!

The Travel Brats love to find out the best places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner so we have options. Here are Jay’s must haves: 

Breakfast: Lahaina Pacific Beach https://www.yelp.com/biz/lahaina-beach-house-san-diego

Great Maple https://thegreatmaple.com/

Morning Glory https://morningglorybreakfast.com/

Lunchy: 

Gringas — Taco Food Truck https://www.yelp.com/biz/gringas-tacos-and-catering-san-diego

Rocky’s Crowne Pub — http://rockyburgers.com/

Good Onya — organic place https://goodonyaorganic.com/

Din din:

Ballast Point Beer IPA https://ballastpoint.com/

Tajima — Eatery https://tajimasandiego.com/home-4/tajima-convoy/

Island Prime — good ass steak right on the harbour https://www.cohnrestaurants.com/islandprime

When staying in San Diego, he recommended finding a cool Airbnb to stay at:

https://www.airbnb.com/san-diego-ca/stays

Now go adventure, be safe, and have fun!!!!! A huge thank you to Jayson for sharing his insights with us all.

Travel Brats Episode 12: All Things Asheville

Listen on Apple Podcast!

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In Episode 12, The Travel Brats interviewed actress, Natalie Brouwer, about all things Asheville (the little sister city to San Franscico). In this episode, Natalie shares her recommendations and hidden gems on where to go, what to see, and how to make the most out of your time in the beautiful city of Asheville, North Carolina. She even shares her favorite Breweries with beer recs, so tune in before you head to NC!

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There’s so much to do in Asheville and there’s a lot of opportunities to travel there on a budget because there are a ton of free things to do, like hiking/parks/walk around downtown

Best times to go to Asheville: Recommended times to go— spring and fall for different reasons

Things to do:

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Fall time recommendations:

Winter Recommendations:

Skiing at Beech and Sugar Mountain https://www.beechmountainresort.com
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ARTSY + Cultural Activities To Attend:

River Arts District https://www.riverartsdistrict.com

Biltmore House (late 1800’s) https://www.biltmore.com

Grove Park Inn (1913) https://www.omnihotels.com/hotels/asheville-grove-park

Best Places to Eat

Breakfast –

Sunny Point Cafe https://sunnypointcafe.com

Louise’s (Black Mountain) https://louisesblackmtn.com

Over Easy Cafe http://www.overeasyasheville.com

 

Lunch/Dinner –

WHITE DUCK TACO http://whiteducktacoshop.com

Chestnut https://www.chestnutasheville.com

Chai Pani http://www.chaipaniasheville.com/

Nine Mile https://ninemileasheville.com

Farm Burger https://farmburger.com/asheville-nc/

Easy Girl Eatery https://earlygirleatery.com

Tupelo Honey Cafe https://tupelohoneycafe.com/location/downtown-asheville/

My Father’s Pizza (BM) http://www.myfatherspizza.com

Fresh (BM) https://freshwoodfiredpizza.net

 

Where are the best places to stay? 

Air bnb! Or you can rent houses/cabins. Or stay at one of the nicer/fancier places connected to Biltmore/Grove Park

https://www.airbnb.com/s/Asheville–NC

 

Best Places to Explore/“hidden” gems:

Visit Black Mountain: https://www.exploreblackmountain.comThe town of Black Mountain

Sliding Rock a little farther away in Brevard and LAKE LURE: http://www.townoflakelure.com

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Top Breweries!!!!

-Beer (Brewing companies)

*Sierra Nevada  https://sierranevada.com/visit/north-carolina/

*Wicked Weed https://www.wickedweedbrewing.com/

*New Belgium https://www.newbelgium.com/brewery/asheville/

*Highland Brewing https://highlandbrewing.com/

*Green Man http://www.greenmanbrewery.com/

*Catawba https://catawbabrewing.com/

-favorite beers – Octoberfest (SN), White Zombie (Catawba), Pernicious IPA (WW)

 

Safety Tips

Asheville is a very safe town

When Hiking, make sure you dress appropriately for the season. Bug spray, water, snacks. Bears (black bears) you will likely not see. They are nocturnal animals and are more scared of you then you are of them. With a snake, if it’s a black snake you are fine. You will likely not see them either, but perhaps look up what to do if you see a copperhead, rattlesnake, or water moccasin. Make sure to lock your car! In general, just be aware of your surroundings. Our hikes are VERY user friendly!

Stay connected with Natalie by following her on IG: https://www.instagram.com/nataliejuneb/

Episode 6 – All Things Chicago: Hot Spots with Ryan Valdez

Listen to Travel Brats on Apple Podcast

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Last summer, mine and Sofia’s friend, Ryan, moved to the Windy City. Back in April 2019, I helped Ryan go apartment shopping in downtown and we got to explore to some really awesome places before he moved here. Since then, Sofia has visited Chicago and Ryan got to show her around to some of the best night life and bars. We were happy to hop on a call with Ry to ask him about his experiences, reminisce, and get his insight on how to survive Chicago on a budget. Here are so of his top places to go:

Restaurants 

Casual Dining

Portillos: 

https://www.portillos.com

Imperial Lamian:

https://imperial-lamian.com

Ramen Takeya fulton market:

http://www.ramentakeya.com/menu

Cafe Ba-ba Reeba:

https://www.cafebabareeba.com

Au Cheval:

auchevaldiner.com/

Best Day Time Activities

Depends on season:

Options: 

https://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/

Summer:

(cubs games, “beaches”, shops, Divvy bike, parks, rooftop bars) 

Fall/Winter (weather is brutal so limited options – Bulls game, second city, ice skating at McCormick or Maggie Daley) 

Best Night Time Activities:

Concerts and Bars (Lincoln Park, Old Town, West Loop, River North)

Coolest buildings in Chicago: Hancock, Water Tower for shopping, Willis Tower

Bars

Wrigleyville:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct-wrigley-bars-each-and-every-one-htmlstory.html

Sluggers:

http://www.sluggersbar.com

Point and Feather:

https://www.pointandfeatherchicago.com

Three Dots and a Dash (basement bar):

https://www.threedotschicago.com

What to Wear in Each Season

Fall: 

Light Jacket

Winter: Layer up, puffy coats, gloves, hats, be creative

Summer: Shorts, tees, tanks, anything goes 

  

When is the best time to visit Chicago? 

Ryan said: Summertime CHI is the best! – everyone is out & about, perfect weather, most things to do during this time 

 

Best places for Music and Theatre: 

CIBC Theatre:

CIBC Theatre

House of Blues 

https://www.houseofblues.com/chicago

 

How To Stay Safe in the City

Ryan said: not as scary as one might think – just be aware of you surroundings and try to have a buddy when you go out/walk through neighborhoods.

Thanks so much to our guest, Ryan, for letting us interview him! If you have more questions, reach out.

Follow Us!

 

 

 

 

WWT’s Episode 1: “All Things Fort Myers”

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“All Things Fort Myers” The Who Wear There Podcast with the Travel Brats

Fort Myers Beach— 

Hang out places:

Lani Kai Beach Resort:

A great place for live music, tropical drinks, beach front service, sports like volleyball and bean bags, and meeting other fun people!

https://lanikaiislandresort.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/thelanikai/?hl=en

Getaway Marina:

(I called it Mike’s Marina, but it’s actually Getaway Marina): Grab place to rent boats, kayaks, fishing and other watersports

https://www.getawaymarina.com

Places to eat and drink:

Doc Ford: 

https://www.docfords.com/ft-myers-beach/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/docfords/

Nervous Nellie’s:

http://www.nervousnellies.net

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nervousnelliesfmb/

Bonita Bills Waterfront Cafe:

https://bonitabills.com

PierSide Grill:

https://piersidegrill.com/

Sunset Bar and Grill:

http://sunsetbeachtropicalgrill.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/sunsetbeachgrill/

Salty Crab (Rum Buckets): 

https://saltycrabbarandgrill.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/SaltyCrabBarGrill/

Great Live Music —

The Cottage Bar and Grill

https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/listing/gulfshore-grill/45911

Love Boat Ice Cream:

https://loveboaticecream.com

https://www.instagram.com/loveboaticecream/

For more on Fort Myers Beach, 

https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com

https://www.instagram.com/ftmyerssanibel/

Downtown:

For Brunch and hanging out: 

Social House

http://www.downtownsoho.com

First Watch — The Daytime Cafe

https://www.firstwatch.com

Lunch: 

Cabos Cantina Taco and Tequila Bar

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34230-d3636362-Reviews-Cabos_Cantina_Taco_Tequila_Bar-Fort_Myers_Florida.html

Downtown House of Pizza

https://downtownhouseofpizza.com

Coffee and Teas:

http://www.kapuakavabar.com

Bars:

City Tavern 

https://mycitytavern.com

Sky Bar

http://www.firestonefl.com

Celsius Night Club

https://www.facebook.com/celsius239/

Entertainment/Art:

Hotel Indigo

https://www.ihg.com/hotelindigo/hotels/us/en/fort-myers/fmymb/hoteldetail

For Upcoming Plays

http://www.floridarep.org

AIRPORT

Fly Fort Myers (RSW)

https://www.flylcpa.com

https://www.instagram.com/flyrsw/

Flight Recommendations

Southwest Airlines: 

https://www.southwest.com

https://www.instagram.com/southwestair/?clk=GFOOTER-INSTAGRAM

To track flight prices:

The Hopper App

https://www.hopper.com

https://www.instagram.com/hopper/

Traveling Deals to save $$$$:

Trip Advisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com

https://www.instagram.com/tripadvisor/?hl=en

Global Entry Information (Known Traveler):

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry

Locate enrollment center: 

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/enrollment-centers

By Florida Gulf Coast University

Foodies 

Bahia Bowls — Acía Bowls

https://bahiabowls.com

FK Your Diet

https://www.fkyourdiet.com

Fancys Southern Cafe

https://fancyssoutherncafe.com

Artisan Eatery

https://artisaneatery.com

previous blog: 

https://thoughtfulblonde.com/2018/12/16/hidden-gem-in-fort-myers-artisan-eatery/

Divieto Ristorante 

https://www.divietoristorante.com

Follow @fgcufoodgods for more local good finds!

Shopping: 

Coconut Point

https://www.simon.com/mall/coconut-point

Miromar Outlets

https://www.miromaroutlets.com

Entertainment:

Game Time

https://www.gametimeplayers.com/locations/fortmyers/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAs67yBRC7ARIsAF49CdXElwKe2JkxghSdoQLyjht7avUczPEZEiZlMcrrPgMV0zZAj8pOIosaAgxaEALw_wcB

Dave and Buster’s

https://www.daveandbusters.com

Painting with a twist

https://www.paintingwithatwist.com/studio/fort-myers/

Movie Theatre in Coconut Point

https://www.regmovies.com/theatres/regal-coconut-point/1611#/buy-tickets-by-cinema?in-cinema=1611&at=2020-02-18&view-mode=list/

 

If you have questions, message me and I’d be happy to chat!

Island Hopping Guide to Grenada’s Carriacou

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I live on the beautiful island of Grenada, which is only 100 miles north of Venezuela and located in the Eastern Caribbean. Grenada is only 12 miles wide and 21 miles long with a little over 100,000 residents. Living the island life very much so comes with the small town vibes of knowing your neighbors and seeing familiar faces no matter where you are on the island. Grenada is south of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which are made up of 32 islands and cays. Grenada claims two of the Grenadines islands,Petit Martinique and Carriacou. 


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A few weeks ago, I took myself on a quick solo trip to Carriacou. The island’s name equates to “Land of Reefs” and is home to only 8,000 residents. It’s a very quaint, quiet, and beautiful island. It was very easy to get to from the mainland of Grenada by plane or boat. I prefer ferry because it’s very reliable and allows you to have different views of the island, and SVG Air cancelled my flight home.


So I took the Osprey Lines ferry; it docks in the Carenage and departs everyday at 9am. You can’t buy your ticket online, so you just have arrive a little early to purchase one.  It’s 80EC, so it’s less than $65 for a roundtrip to go island hopping! Then, it’s just a quick two hour boat ride, and you can easily get a taxi once you arrive in Carriacou. 


Once I got to Carriacou, I booked at a cute, boutique hotel that was right on the water. I spent my entire time there lounging in a beach chair, swimming, reading, and eating so much food at the hotel’s restaurant. It’s without a doubt one of the most relaxing and serene places I’ve ever been with the kindest locals and I hope everyone gets a chance to do a little island hopping. I am going again mid December when my dad comes down, and I will updated the blog with more activities, restaurants, and museums to visit. I have every intention of going snorkeling and exploring more local events!

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If you have an questions, leave a comment or message me. Enjoy! 

Reflection: 2 Weeks Living in St Lucia & Peace Corps Training

Reflection: 2 Weeks Living in St Lucia & Peace Corps Training

First off, I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out to me, wished me well, celebrated with me, helped me pack, and has been rooting for while on this journey. I already knew my family and friends were special, but now I’m blown away by how beautiful, deep, and loving all the relationships in my life are. So thank you again and be sure to follow along the Doer’s Diary on IG!

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On July 2nd, I picked up my life along with 39 other volunteers to move to St. Lucia and the Eastern Caribbean (Grenada, St. Vincent, and Dominica) for the next 27 months. I’m currently in phase one of training for 4 weeks in Babonneau, St. Lucia to become a Primary English Literacy Specialist Volunteer with the Peace Corps to focus on promoting literacy in primary/infant schools. On August 2nd, I will find out what island I’ll be living on for the next two years and that’s where I’ll be for phase 2 and 3 of my training before being sworn in in October. I’ll spend the reminder of my service working at the same school for two years and during that time, I’ll focus on integrating with the community, making lifelong connections, and working with fellow teachers and kiddos from grades 1-3. 

For more information on the volunteers and programs in the Eastern Caribbean!

After weeks of packing up my townhouse, moving 95% of my belonging into a storage unit, and the other 5% in to my mom and stepdad’s house, leaving for the Peace Corps was upon us. I had to fit everything I could possibly need (and then some) into 2 suitcases with a max weight limit of 50 lbs each and one carry on. Let me tell you, that carry was a hiking backpack that weighed as much as I do. The backpack I used was a god-sent, and a best seller on amazon. So check it out, fellow travelers.  

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Packing in and of itself was consuming, and I am currently working on a packing guide once I get settled into the island I’ll be serving on, so I save future volunteers from packing too much or not enough.

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After my first three days of orientation on the island, all the trainees left the comfort of each other’s presence to move into our host family’s homes.

This is where the real fun began. You know the saying: “growth only occurs outside of your comfort zone,” whoever said that definitely knew what they were talking about.

The embrace and instant love I felt from my host mom made me feel so welcomed in a new environment. I quickly jumped into learning about my surroundings— exploring her extensive garden filled with pineapples, limes, lemons, cashews, Chinese cabbage, coconuts, plantains and the list goes on, learning a new language, adapting to new norms, and being on a whole new level of integration into a culture I could have only dreamed of. My heart is filled with so much gratitude for my host mom opening her home to me, and the people of St. Lucia for being so welcoming and kind as I ask a million questions and learn as much as I can. 

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Once I moved into my host family’s beautiful home in Babboneau, I struggled for a few days— feeling the loss of all the things and people I had been comforted by in my typical days back in the states. I cried, I shed my walls, and saw a newer, more open and vulnerable side of myself that I was willing to share with other trainees, my host mom, and my family back home. I began to realize how important this time was— I had shed my ego and left my masks to hide who I truly am back home. It’s been so humbling to just be me, and that’s enough. 

I am not immune to the desire for consistency and normalcy, but I have felt a lightness in my heart that has allowed me to be fully present and loving.

Day by day, I learn how we are all more alike than different, and how loving one another is our most powerful tool.

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Our first week of training flew by so quickly, with amble information on culture, diversity, inclusion, medical procedures, consolidation routes, hurricane tips, and so forth. My head could spin looking back at all my notes, but I’ve learned more about my role in development and leaving judgements at the door. Hearing the point of views from fellow trainees and staff has been such an eye-opening experience, to be more receptive and transparent in my endeavor to inspire and connect with others. I have been able to make so many wonderful friendships that are already starting to blossom, so for now, I’m living each day to the fullest and on Monday, I’ll be hiking with all my friends to the Sulphur Springs in St Lucia, the Gros Piton which is the world’s only drive-in volcano. So stay tuned for a packing guide for Peace Corps EC and Hiking Guides. . .

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I made it on local news in St Lucia where Peace Corps Volunteer share their stories!

Please feel free to reach out, ask questions, and connect. Thanks for being a Doer and enjoy one of my favorite quotes!

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Ash’s Guide To Biking On Sanibel Island, FL

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One of my favorite things to do, especially when I have friends in town or have a weekend off, is biking all around Sanibel to discover the cutest cafes, stores, and locations. Sanibel Island has a bike/ walking path that is partially shaded and the best perk is, IT IS NOT SHARED WITH THE ROAD. (much safer) Once you are on Sanibel Island, go about a mile down Periwinkle to Billy’s Rentals. It is in the middle of everything and not too far from the beach. It’s open 8:30am to 5pm everyday.

For the bike I get, it’s $12 for 4 hours, but here are the rates and options:

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Once you get your bike, here are my top 7 places you should bike to:

1. Sanibel Bean Coffee Shop

 

It’s located at 2240 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL 33957 and it’s open from 7am to 2pm. It’s my favorite coffee shop in all SWFL. Not only is the atmosphere chill, it has the best coffee too. I always get the white chocolate mocha, but they have tons of specials or check out their menu before going. #sanibelbean

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2. Lighthouse Beach

The lighthouse beach is at the end of Periwinkle, so just bike until you hit the water. 112 Periwinkle Way, Sanibel, FL and the beach opens at 8am. The Sanibel Island Light is also known as the Point Ybel Light and it’s one of the first lighthouses on the Florida’s Gulf coast, north of Key West. It’s such an enjoyable beach and the water is so different and pretty compared to FMB. You just park your bike at the bike racks and all the bikes have baskets so bring your beach gear along.

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3. Lighthouse Cafe

It’s right by the beach at 362 Periwinkle Way and it was such a great place for lunch. They are known for their breakfast and they serve it all day. They have a ton of specials at their restaurant and totally worth checking out their menu. They open at 7am to 3pm and then reopen for dinner at 5!

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4. J. N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge

1 Wildlife Dr., Sanibel, FL and it opens at 9 am. It’s a little bit of a trek from the beach and bike rental, but it’s totally worth it. This refuge is part of the largest undeveloped mangrove ecosystem in the US. It’s so serene and has a 4 mile path or 8 mile option, and you can ride your bike through it all. It costs $1 per person/bike to enter, so bring a few singles. It’s a great ethical way to interact with nature.

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5. Gene’s Books

The countless rooms filled with endless books– basically heaven. It’s located at 2365 Periwinkle Way, not too far from the bike rental. I’ve been to countless bookstores around the country, but this is my #1 favorite bookstore EVER! That should tell you how amazing it is. They open at 9am and you could easily spend hours there. So drag another book lover with you.

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6. Love Boat Ice Cream

It’s in the Jerry’s Shopping Center and is located at 1700 Periwinkle Way #9. It opens at 10 am. Homemade ice cream with every flavor you can imagine. I always get a chocolate shake or a banana split. For the ice cream lovers, this is for you! They also have a Fort Myers location, by FMB, which is the one I normally go to.

7. Sanibel Fresh

On the way to or from the beach, stop at Sanibel Fresh and get the Sangria. Such a yummy red Sangria! It’s located at 1020 Periwinkle Way and it’s a cute little cafe with outside seating and a health conscious menu. My mom and I loved it and shared a flatbread and potato salad, so I recommend those options. Check out their Facebook for reviews or their website: https://www.restaurantji.com/fl/sanibel/sanibel-fresh-/

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I hope you enjoyed my recommendations.

Comment any questions or your own recommendations for Sanibel Island. It’s a great day adventure, so grab your friends, family, or take yourself on a little getaway. Thank you for reading, my friends. #travelingwithash

A Wedding Unfolds in Puerto Rico

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There is love in the air— flowing all around us, captivating our long weekend with appreciation and joy. The beauty of Puerto Rico, especially at where we are staying (blog post to come) illuminates the kindness and admiration in the hearts of my mom and soon to be husband. With wedding festivities on the cusp of the day, we are reminded that love is gentle and it’s kind, but you can’t deny it’s also trying and moving. It pushes you to be a better you, and along the way the true depth of love shines above all else and moves mountains to be.

And that’s the thing about love, it’s about just being. 

Being you.

Being enough.

Being loved for all that you are. 

I talk about this all the time— there are billions of people in this world and somehow these two souls found each other to adore, to build a forever with, and to love unconditionally. They found the one their soul needed and wanted, even if they were unaware of it at the time. Flaws and all, there is love to be shared. After five years, it was inevitable that they were hooked on one another for the long haul. The way Mark looks at my mom is as though she was the one who put the stars in the sky and could walk on water. He looks at her the way Nicholas Sparks writes in his romance novels, the way we all dream of being loved.

My mom and Mark taught me the importance of valuing myself and trusting that someone, someday will love my entire essence as they love one another, but my worth is not defined by someone else’s ability or inability to see all I have to offer the world.

You can’t settle in this life, there are billions of people awaiting your presence. It’s okay to love big because one day, it won’t go to the waste side. 

Love is at the center of all my interactions and my friends and family cant attest to how often I tell them ‘I love you SO much’. It’s a powerful lesson to love unconditionally without expectations or demands or reservations— let it flow openly and be enough to keep you afloat. 

As I sit here on my villa’s porch and write while watching the waves crash, I reminisce on my mom’s love story. I’ve watched hers and Mark’s love blossom over the years, an undeniable pull to one another, one that couldn’t be avoided if they tried. They are a force to be reckoned with, spit fires with adventurous souls. They bring out the best in one another, even if mom can’t navigate. It’s about having fun and enjoying this life together, and that’s what they are doing. 

This life is precious and short, and watching my mom and my soon to be stepdad love one another through trials and twists and turns, I’ve learned that you shouldn’t waste another minute with space between you and the one you love.

If you love someone, be vulnerable, give your love freely and accept them for who they are and who they will be. Nothing stays the same— this world is not stagnant, so grow together and make the conscious decision to be present and love into the depth of your core. 

So thank you Mom and Mark for showing me what a beautiful love looks like and I cheers to you a lifetime of happiness and loving adventures. 

BAHAMAS TRAVEL ADVENTURE

 

 

We traveled to the Hyatt Grand Baha Mar in Nassau, Bahamas  for the weekend and had an amazing time. My mom and I played in a slots tournament on Friday night and Saturday during the day (yes, that’s a thing, and no it’s not easy and we did not win). I would come back here again without a doubt, and I haven’t been to Atlantis, but my mom and stepdad raved about Baha Mar over Atlantis. If you ever do go to the Bahamas, you have to go to Carmine’s for dinner– best Italian food ever and it’s fun because it’s family style!

 

Enjoy my first ever travel vlog and let me know what you think in the comments or on my Instagram 🙂