As I sit outside this coffee shop… (VII)

…I must confess that I am feeling like it’s time to live by the water. I am on a solo trip to Vero Beach, Florida and I am loving every second of it. I feel most at peace by the water and this trip is really making me question why I don’t live somewhere where I could see the ocean every day.

Every time I told someone I was going on vacation by myself, they would follow up with “Alone? You’re not meeting anyone down there?” Or “What about your friends? They didn’t want to go?” Or “That’s crazy, I could never do that.” There were a few “Wow, good for you girl.” and “I am so jealous!” When I booked the trip, it didn’t even cross my mind to invite anyone… Since I live at home, I just wanted to get away before work gets a lil crazy. I have never even been to Florida but when I saw Breeze Airways has direct flights to Vero Beach, I clicked “Book.”

It is more confusing to me that people wouldn’t take a trip alone. The freedom and independence and not having to worry about anyone but yourself? Glorious. Meeting locals and snowbirds and chatting with bartenders? So fun. I can do whatever I want whenever I want. Not that I don’t already do that at home but there are just different ~vibes~ on vacation.

Not to brag but I picked the perfect spot. I am staying at this cutie little inn and it’s wonderful. There is a pool, beach access, a really fun restaurant with amazing burgers, and everything I need is in walking distance. Liquor store? The building over. Coffee? Several cafes to choose from. Post card for Grandmom? Two blocks away. Post office to mail said post card? One block away. A fun cocktail? Every other storefront! I barely did any research about the area before booking my trip and I pretty much nailed it “sight unseen.” Yes, I may be the youngest person in this retiree-populated community but I wouldn’t want it any other way (because that means there are barely any kids annoying the crap out of me).

What I have learned on my first (and definitely not last) trip alone:
1. I walk too fast. I walk fast for literally no reason. Walking the palm tree-lined streets of Vero made me realize I don’t need to be in such a rush all of the time. I need to slow down (and hopefully get less shin splints).
2. I’m horrible at evenly applying sunscreen. Having someone with me definitely would have help with proper application, especially on my back. I should have bought the spray.
3. Every time I pay for a manicure, I regret it. I got a mani and pedi on Wednesday and I already have two chips on my fingers. We all know I am obsessed with doing my nails so it’s rare I get them professionally done but I wanted to treat myself before my trip. Nope. Never again. Not worth it.
4. I’m such an appetizer girlie. I already knew this but I thought maybe since I’m alone I wouldn’t order apps because it’s just me and I am simultaneously an entree girlie. But being alone didn’t stop me. Fish dip? Had to try it. Famous wings? Definitely had to try them. And I have no regrets.
5. I love being alone. Again, I already knew this.

Last week, Courtney made me take a personality test (mostly to see how alike we are as friends and surprise to no one, we’re not alike at all, in the best way). The results determined that my top character strength is “Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence: Noticing and appreciating beauty, excellence, and/or skilled performance in various domains of life, from nature to art to mathematics to science to everyday experience.” Except for the mathematics part, it’s so accurate and also explains why I cry at every concert and every time someone is publicly honored (kind of like how my dad cried at my brother’s pre-school graduation).

Anywho- Being beachside is when I most appreciate beauty. Naturally, one of the first things I did upon my arrival was feel the water. As the tide approached, I was grinning ear-to-ear in anticipation of an automatic reset to my soul. I was so happy as the water engulfed my feet I could have burst out in tears. Everything about the beauty here makes me want to burst into (happy) tears. The sounds of the tropical birds, the crashing of the waves, the feeling of the sand under my bare feet. It’s all so magical and makes me feel so grateful to be here, on this beautiful planet, with this beautiful life.

The beach also makes me feel really connected to my dad. Next week will be three years since he’s been gone and today marks three years since I last spoke to him. I am trying not to cry at this coffee shop in paradise but I do feel so connected to him when I’m by the ocean and I am so grateful for that. I watched the sunrise this morning and all I could think was “Wow, dad would love this.” He loved the beautiful things in life and I love that we share that quality. My best memories with him are in Ocean City riding our bikes on the boardwalk in the morning. I am so thankful to have the beautiful things in life to remind me of him.

As I finish the last few sips of my iced coffee, I feel eager to soak up my last full day here. I am excited to lay by the pool and start a new book after finishing one yesterday and I am PUMPED to have some tacos later. Happy Cinco de Mayo! I already can’t wait to come back to Vero- I can totally see myself making it a yearly thing. Ultimately, I hope one day I am able to live by the water and get the same feeling every day that my dad got from living at Chic’s Beach. Lastly, thank you, nature, for being everything I need you to be.

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