In another month or so, I should be on vacation, barring any unforeseen issues popping up. It's always been somewhat of a tradition for me to take the week of my birthday off (end of June).. I have plans for things to do then, albeit loosely made. They're things that I yearn to do.
Once upon a time, when I was making a lot more money in a world that I haven't been part of for some time, going on vacation meant actually driving somewhere else far from home or as luck would have it, flying somewhere else. My vacations back then were almost always 'destination' trips to things like the Daytona 500 or a very long drive up the East Coast, trekking back to New England to spend upwards of two weeks, cramming in as much activity as I could. Sometimes I would also take the friendly skies and fly somewhere I'd never been. I was quite the adventurous sort back in those days. I still am adventurous but my idea of adventure has changed greatly due to a few factors, the most important one being financial.
When money grew tighter for me, I began to indulge in what is commonly known as the 'staycation'. In fact, when my vacations became the stay-at-home sort, there wasn't even a nifty term for it. I actually laughed out loud the first time I heard the term 'staycation'. Even though I will not be taking to the friendly skies or even long distances, I do have some local 'day trips' planned, probably more day trips than I'd had in the past.
The things I want to do while I'm off involve a lot of photography, more than just the standard vacation-type of photos that you see a lot of people taking. Influenced greatly by my artist friends, I plan to head to interesting places that lend themselves well to someone on a budget. I've been aching to return to the Florida Botanical Gardens in Largo, FL. I went there around Christmas at night and still can recall all the spots within that seemed to lend themselves well to picture taking, such as lots of fountains and greenery. As far as I know, it's free to visit the gardens. (Fingers crossed anyway.)
Another place I love to visit is Tarpon Springs which is famous for its enormous Greek community as well as the famous sponge docks. Some of the architecture down the side streets of this wonderful city is beyond comparison. I am pretty much committed to checking out this place as well.
I have to blame my artist friends for having this type of influence on me. As some of you might know, I belong to a local art organization and have become very friendly with a lot of talented people. They really encourage myself and others to reach for the stars with our particular forms of creativity. One of my goals as an artist is to be at least as good as these fine folks are in whatever endeavour I choose to follow.
Maybe while I'm on vacation I could revisit the place where I took the above photo. This was taken locally behind The Don Cesar Hotel in St. Pete Beach.
The above photo was taken in Winter Park, FL in May 1994. This was well before the photography bug bit me. I believe the car is a Cobra. I took this before cars became important to me but apparently I liked this one enough to get a shot of it.
Right now, where I'm working on this blog is a place locally that I head to every Wednesday afternoon once I leave work. It's not a bar. It's actually a bookstore, yes they still exist. This one has a coffee & tea bar in it and free WIFI. I do not yet have WIFI in my home so when I got this laptop, I wanted to try out some of the local WIFI hotspots. I've been coming to this place now since...March, I think.
The place I go to is known as Wings Bookstore and it's on the campus of First Unity Church in St. Pete, FL. I swear I could live in here. I love books and it's always nice and quiet. I'm one of those people who can easily pick up on the energy that a place gives off. Wings feels like coming home. There's always good mellow music going in here, either flute, new age, ambient (one of my favorite styles of music) or all of it mixed together. The energy I get from being here has the power to make a rotten day into something great in just fifteen minutes. The folks who work here are super nice and treat their customers well. It is one of the only places I visit on a regular basis.
Wings has been in St. Pete for a couple of years now but it's only within the past year that I've become aware of the healing energy present. Early last year, my father passed away and I was having issues dealing with it. I somehow ended up at Wings and luckily the place was dead. It was either a Monday or Tuesday, I can't recall. I came in and sat down in one of the armchairs and just cried for a good half hour. No one bothered me. Apparently, I let the place work its magic and when I left, I felt a lot better. I think the word I would use is 'welcoming'. It's the sort of welcoming that you don't see in a lot of places.
Along with the healing vibes and wonderful staff, the atmosphere here really lends itself well to my creativity. I might step in here with one idea in mind yet when I sit down to type, I'm getting ideas bubbling up with no explanation. I really get a lot out of being here and couldn't imagine my week without it.
This is what Wings Bookstore looks like on the inside. Very cozy. They sell books, CDs, cards and many other things. The coffee bar is great as well.
This is Wings patio. I took this shot through the window.