Florida. Florida, where do I even begin with you? I've come to realize that it's not the physical location of the state that has such a commanding hold of my heart, but instead the people who flock to the warm emerald shores, who draw me in and make me proud to call Florida home.
This trip was exceptional in that so many friends both near and far made the journey to Pensacola to spend the days dancing in the sunshine and the nights cozied up to a bar with friends listening to music. There were those who wished to make it down for the weekend but for one reason or another could not, and to them I say: I understand. You were missed dearly, but just know that we basked a little extra in the sunshine and drank a few extra sips of Pliny on your behalf.
The photos above are a mix of my parents visit to the PNW and my time down in Florida. I'll do my best to explain. There are quite a few, so get ready to settle in for a minute.
Photos 1-3 (PNW): Let's start at the very beginning. The first weekend of May was a sleepless whirlwind on the East Coast. I flew back to YVR and met my parents in customs so starting their Vancouver vacation. If you've had the pleasure of meeting my folks, then you know that they are just pleasantly wonderful people. I absolutely love hanging out with these two. I find the older we get the more fun we have together. And it may just be me, but I swear D's BBQ just keeps getting better and better.
Photos 4-7 (PNW): While my folks were in town we road tripped down to Poulsbo, Washington for a weekend visit with Cindy, Mark, Jeff, Stacey and the kiddos. Connecting with distant relatives and knowing that family is never too far even all the way up here in the PNW is one of the greatest feelings. This was some much needed family time.
Photo 8 (DFW): After 12 days of adventuring, a hilarious late night exchange of stories with my dad about law-breaking shenanigans of past, and a 7 hour layover in DFW, we were all a bit exhausted and ready to get back to Florida. Just look at those faces. Exhausted. (Mom is totally going to get on to me for posting this one... Worth it).
Photos 9-11 (Florida): These photos so perfectly capture what home is to me. The white sand. The blue skies. The warm waters. Sweet. Simple. Southern. Home.
Photos 12-14 (Florida): Playing tour guide and introducing Jessica and Brett to the white sand and waves that raised me was one of my favorite things about this trip. I shared with them the places I hold near and dear to my heart and introduced them to the folks that make my hometown what it is.
Photos 15-17 (Florida): It wouldn't be a visit to Florida without a fish fry and live music. D pulled out all the stops for this one. Grouper, red fish, shrimp, oysters (oh the oysters!), hush puppies, sausage, garden vegetables- ohhh how I miss southern cooking. Heather and Kelly, I learned long ago that if I leave my phone unattended with y'all I'm bound to have something new on it when I get it back. The photos you ladies left me are priceless. This one above is my favorite.
Photos 18-19 (Florida): Brett and I made the best decision we've collectively ever made and drove out to Stinky's Fish Camp on Sunday to see James and Dale play with Washboard Jackson and the fellas. What a time that was. Bayou music, cheesy grits, boudin sausage, and strangers (aka new friends) who eat off your plate. That afternoon exemplified everything in my mind that makes Florida home. Good music. Good food. Great people.
Photos 20-21 (Florida): The folks in these photos (along with a slew of others that I wish now I'd have captured in photo) made this trip what it was. They are the folks who made this trip possible. From the friendly staff at the Magnolia, Leisure Club, Oyster Bar, Hubs, and Picasso's who hosted us, to all the kind folks who came out and listened to us play; you are what keeps drawing me back to the Florida panhandle. You are the friends that make this place what it is; amazing.
The song below has been playing through my head for a week straight. Marius is probably sick of the goofy smile it brings to my face each time I hear it. 100 Watt Horse, you make me a little homesick in the best way possible.
Home is where you want to. Friends are who you need to. Life is what you get to. And love is what you've been through...
ps: I know you've been waiting a while for this one to be posted, D. Happy Father's Day. Go ahead and listened to the song below. You'll love it.