In June of 2021, I set a goal for my new consulting business – something I felt was IMPOSSIBLE.
Finding myself near the end of the year, I’ve reached AND exceeded that goal, and for that – I rewarded myself with this amazing trip to St. Petersburg, Florida to finish the year and start 2022 with a new perspective – physically, emotionally, and mentally.
The past year has been an emotional rollercoaster for me and I knew that I needed a change of scenery beyond the new home I recently moved into in December. (More on this in another post)
When I arrived and traveled to check in to my hotel, I discovered that I had an amazing view of the pool and the Tampa Bay right from my balcony.
As soon as I dropped off my luggage at the hotel, I headed for St. Pete Beach. What I discovered was a LOT of people and not much parking by the time I arrived, right before 5 PM. What I did find was a fantastic place to eat with a beach view! The meal took a while to arrive and so did the server, but I didn’t really care – I was here.
When I did get to order my meal, the server offered some places for me to check out and gave me some free samples of local beer, which made the wait worth it.
The following day I visited the Salvador Dali Museum which has the most interesting architecture I’ve ever visited. On the website, it is described as the “unofficial heart of fine arts in the Tampa Bay area” since its opening in 1982.
I had purchased a ticket the night before, knowing that the museum had a limited number of timed tickets. By the time I pulled into the parking lot at 1:30 PM, they had a “SOLD OUT” sign up for that day.
In addition to Dali’s work, was an exhibition of the Lee Miller Archives. Lee Miller was a photographer and photojournalist who started her career as a fashion model in New York City in the 1920s before going to Paris, where she became a fashion and fine art photographer. I was really inspired by her work and felt a deep connection to her challenges in life.
Next up I wanted to check out St. Pete Pier to walk a bit outside and enjoy the fresh air. I wish I could tell you that I was feeling amazing, but as someone who struggles with depression, the first day of this trip was really hard. I was feeling a ton of emotions. As I sat on the edge of the dock a song started playing in my head – Sitttin On the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding. I felt a deep sense of connection to his feelings of loneliness, this moment was bittersweet.
Not only did I select this destination because of the warmer climate, but a few other reasons brought me to travel and celebrate the new years away from my chilly new townhouse in Pennsylvania.
This was a monumental trip for me because about four years ago, on April 13th, 2017 I traveled to Pittsburgh with my friend Adrienne to meet The Minimalists, as they were on their Less Is Now Tour.
Who are The Minimalists? Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus help over 20 million people live meaningful lives with less through their website, books, podcast, and Netflix films.
When I met them in Pittsburgh, I stood up and asked a question, if you want – you can hear the event via their podcast here. Over the past few years their books, podcast, and movie have inspired me to make massive changes in my life. I’ve blogged about it several times. As an avid listener of the podcast, I knew that The Minismliast had opened up a coffee shop in St. Pete and had vowed back then when I met them that “one day” I’d visit their coffee shop. This was that day!
After a few calls in the morning, I took a quick trip to DeSoto National Park to get a stamp for my National Park Passport book. I talked with the park ranger inside the visitors center – who just happened to have recently relocated from Pennsylvania, and she told me about Big Cypress National Park, right next to Everglades NP, which I’d planned to visit on Saturday. (the following day) and told me some other fun facts about the parks.
On New Year’s Eve, I found myself at the hotel, after getting a pedicure, enjoying a sunset, and began to write out my final blog post of the year for my business blog, you can read that here. Then I worked on putting together my vision board for 2022, as I’ve been doing for a few years on NYE, it is my tradition and I love thinking about all of the possibilities in a new year. I also decide on a WORD for the year.
For 2022 I knew I needed something powerful. Since it seemed like I had so much to look forward to, I decided to go with ABUNDANCE.
Once more reason I choose Florida to visit is that after working really hard to build my business, podcast, and community – I’ve decided to ask for help and have brought on a Community Executive Assitant, who just happens to live not too far from St. Pete.
Meet the FCH Community Strategy Podcast Producer and Community Executive Assistant, Callisa! We had an amazing time getting to have dinner, then going to a local brewery for a drink. (Since it was a business expense 😉 It is so great working with someone for six months and then finally getting to meet them in person. I’m so thankful for her and proud of myself for beginning to let go of “all the things” so that I can really have abundance in 2022 by focusing on what I do well, community strategy, and helping clients get their community out into the world.
The rest of the trip was full of traveling to a few National Parks in Florida to get some stamps for my NP Passport book!
I first drove down to Big Cypress National Preserve, then to Everglades National Park, and finally to Biscayne National Park. For the record, it was a 12-hour drive day – and I reached Biscayne National Park just as the office was closing. I waived my passport book in front of the window and the woman said “Well, I’m sure you came far, so even though we are closed you can come inside and get your stamp.” Pheew.
I drove back up towards St. Pete and stopped in Naples before getting back to the hotel just before 12 AM. The following day I drove over to Canaveral National Seashore to get my stamp there. I’d visited Canaveral in April when I stayed in the Cocoa Beach area, but had neglected to get a stamp, so I made the 3-hr drive there, and another 3-hours back to get it. So worth it.
And the final day of my trip, I visited my favorite place, Anna Maria Island. I only spent a few hours here but I know I’m going to return. This was the best beach I’d found, but the day I was there it was cold until later in the day.
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All images ©Deb Schell/ 2022- More photos on my website