The Travel Diaries

Travel Diary: Melbourne, Florida.

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Monday, March 16th: The Arrival

I can’t lie, due to the Coronavirus outbreak that has the whole planet on crisis mode, I second-guessed getting on an airplane to fly down south to see my friend, Tori. What if I can’t come back home? What if they do a travel ban within the United States as well? What if something goes wrong altogether? As I sat in my kitchen with my carry-on and backpack across the room, I really wondered if now was the best time to go traveling. After some reassurance from my mother, it was time for me to get out of the house, and head over to the airport.

On a sunny Monday late morning, I was excited to be finally taking my first airplane trip to another state that wasn’t in the tri-state area. Once I got to the airport, it was freakishly empty which was expected; no one is trying to travel during this time. I checked in, went through TSA security, and got to my gate within the hour that I was there. Needless to say, it was an unrealistic representation of how airports truly are, so I’ll be in for a surprise once this pandemic is over for good. But anyway, I was extremely early for my flight; I wasn’t supposed to fly out until 2:30 in the afternoon, and I was already at my gate at 12 o’clock noon. The wait was brutal, but once we finally got on board and all settled in, we were ready for takeoff.

At first, I felt like my heart was going to jump out of my mouth; she was a first-time flyer. Just feeling the plane book it on the runaway and then just fly up 36,000 feet into the air, it was definitely something I had to prepare myself for. Being up in the air was so dreamy though. To literally see the clouds underneath you and fly over every house, forest, every single thing visible to you, it was breathtaking.

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After finally landing in Florida, the first thing I saw was so many palm trees. There aren’t any palm trees in NYC, so to get the opportunity to see something as simple as that was so fucking exciting. So, I finally got off the plane, met up with Tori, and drove back to her place. Traveling totally wiped me out, so for the first time in a long time I knocked out pretty early.

Tuesday, March 17th: Getting Educated By Tori

Tuesday was a pretty chill day; we went out for lunch and came back to then get educated on Tori’s pop/cult-classic culture. If I had to describe Tori, it’s that she’s very much a pop-culture and cult-classics lover. She’s seen everything, she’s listened to everything, and she pretty much knows everything as well. Me? I suck at those things. I mean, everything someone asks me if I heard or seen, I usually say no. So Tori found this trip as an opportunity to show me some of her favorite things. We spent our day watching some anime classics; Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke. They were so cute and the visuals were so fucking good! I definitely enjoyed Spirited Away a little bit more than the other one, but I’m glad I finally watched the essentials of Anime movies.

Also, because it was St. Patrick’s Day and Tori is full-blown Irish, we celebrated the holiday the way she does: drinking and watching a cult-classic favorite of hers: The Boondock Saints. It was really cool to just see the things that Tori enjoys; I’m always interested in seeing the things that make people who they are and who knows, you may even like them as well!

Wednesday, March 18th: The Beach Babes

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We decided to take on a sunny, warm day by going to the beach! We decided to go to this little island resort-like place in downtown Melbourne and oof, the views were beautiful. Driving along the road surrounded by palm trees and 1980’s Miami Vice style buildings was so surreal for me.

Being at a beach in the middle of March was definitely so surreal for me. Having never left the tri-state area to go to a warmer place before, it felt great to just have a little taste of what warm weather feels like after having a cold winter. Watching the waves come onshore, the other socially distant people in swimming suits and with sun-tans, and just having the seawater hit my legs whenever it came to shore felt so fucking great. It definitely made me reflect on where I’m at this point in my life. I just found it so crazy that at that exact moment, I fucking traveled for the first time ever. I did something I didn’t think I’ll ever do, and I’m so glad that I got the chance to experience such a sight.

After it started to get crazy hot on the beach (it was going to be 85 degrees on Wednesday), we decided to get something to eat along the boardwalk near the beach. We went to a place called “Hula Moon” and oof, the food was so fucking good!

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For our appetizers, we tried fried artichoke hearts (which were pretty okay) but the greatest fucking appetizer ever made were these poke nachos. Literally, Tori & I fucked up those nachos like it was nobody’s business. With raw tuna, air puffed tortilla chips, tzatziki sauce, and wasabi, they were everything. We both had a crab & shrimp cake sandwiches with french fries and they were also so fucking good. 

Oh! And we also had drinks! The “Torched Tiki” was the greatest fucking drink I had. We love a fruity alcoholic beverage.

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After spending most of the afternoon out, we went back home to decompress and relax. Hanging out, watching TV, we just spent the rest of my last night chilling in the living room and had some really good girl talk that was well-needed. Back in our college days, we had a lot of moments where we had serious conversations; I specifically remember the time Tori opened up about her past one night after her class and my grad class walking her dog down the streets of Staten Island a couple of years ago and another one when I got stranded at her place one night the day before her birthday. We don’t always have the time to talk to one another, but every time we see each other and we do talk, our friendship never is weird or different. We aren’t the same 22-year-old girls anymore, but we sure are the same people to each other ever since we became close friends.

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Thursday, March 19th: The Departure

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I woke up Thursday morning finding out my flight was canceled. At first, I was totally freaking out because of this whole COVID-19 outbreak going on. I thought I was going to be stuck in Florida longer than I thought, but thankfully they put me on another flight for later in the day. So, Tori and I relaxed for most of the morning before our hour-drive to the Orlando International Airport. Funny story: Tori actually lives near the Melbourne Airport, which would’ve been the obvious choice to fly to and from, but the layovers to even get to Florida were insane. So, we got to the airport, and I truly got the real airport experience being there. For starters, packed. The TSA security line took about 15 minutes to get through, then we had to take an air-train to the gates, and then I saw just saw insanely crowded this flight was going to be. It was pretty nerve-wracking to be on a crowded flight because, well, the whole fucking COVID-19 madness. But, the flight was quick, my father picked me up at JFK, and my vacation was officially over.

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This definitely isn’t the last time I go and see Tori in Florida! This was such an awesome first time that the next time when we are finally out of this pandemic, we’re able to explore more of the sunshine state. Tori is currently engaged, and she’s aiming to have a wedding in 2021 that will most likely be held in Florida, so I’m glad I at least got the feel of traveling down there before that big event occurs. Nevertheless, I’m beyond grateful that she allowed me to come down and visit her during her Spring Break. I wish I was able to stay a little longer, but who knew an outbreak would occur so drastically like this? This trip, in the most simple term, was just the beginning of my travels. I was talking to my coworker a couple of weeks ago about one travel-related bucket list thing I had in mind and that was to go to South Korea for a vacation. She recommended that I should aim for that trip for my 30th Birthday, but to definitely go on some baby trips before that big one. I thought it was a great goal to set for myself, and with a little encouragement from all my coworkers pretty much going away for vacation these last couple of months, I figured it was my turn to do so. I definitely do not regret it. 

My only question now is: when are we booking the next trip?!

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