Our first real family vacation started off a little rough. We landed in Jacksonville Florida around 5:30am and the shuttle was going to meet us out front. During our flight I kind of had that nagging feeling that something wasn't right. You know, the one that you get that something will go wrong, but a lot of the time you think it's just travel jitters. I told Dustin a few times on the plane that I never got a reminder text from our driver and I had a slight feeling that he wasn't going to be there. Boy, I researched the heck out of companies when deciding which one to hire.
As we made our way to where we needed to be, the nagging got more and more persistent. Then, what I thought was my worst fear at that time came true. ha Silly looking back on it now because things could have been so much worse. We never properly got put into the system when I booked and therefore, we were left scrambling to find a ride to our Airbnb and the owner personally called and apologized + refunded us right away.
We began trying to find a ride and the lady at the desk said we could see if one of the shuttles had room. I was so glad when there was a van sitting out front that didn't have people they were waiting for and we were on our way!
The best part about this vacation was the fact that we barely knew the these guys before going! Was I crazy?! Maybe a little! ha
Durk was an aide in my little girl's classroom in first grade and when she got his wife, Wendi for second, he moved up to be the aide in her room that year. This was their final year of teaching and boy, I'm so glad that she had them. They are amazing... so amazing that this was the first time I cried on the last day of school. People like them just don't come around often.
I promised Ella that day that we could go visit them. You know when you make those promises, but in the back of your mind you wonder how long it will take to make it happen? Well, it didn't take us long.... less than two years! ha
I texted Wendi and asked if they'd be around on the dates we were thinking so we could coordinate. When all was well, we gave it to the kids for Christmas and we're off by April 2019!
The airport may have started off rough, but we made it to their house with my poor husband so far out of his comfort zone + not knowing what to do with himself and dropped our things!
We couldn't check in to our Airbnb for a few more hours so Wendi looked at the kids and said, "Suit up, we are heading to the beach!" ha They ran down the hall screaming, put em on, and off we went.
Gosh you guys, we had such a good time. I planned absolutely nothing for this trip. I knew we wanted to learn how to surf and spend time on the beach, but other than that, nada... literally.
Not stressing over an itinerary was the best thing that I did for myself. I stressed enough over flights and when to book to get the best price. The last thing I wanted to do was plan out activities. We were at Durk and Wendi's mercy + it was the best thing we ever did!
We sat on the beach, learned to surf, played Pickleball, got ice cream, went to a local concert, learned to fish, and canoed on the river... just thinking of it has me all sorts of nostalgic.
We made life-long friends and saw + did so many more things than I think we would have had we tried to cram a million things in. It allowed us so much time to just be and go with the flow and just enjoy each other's company. This is how I would plan our next vacation any day!
So what's my tip?! Leave enough room to enjoy each other while you are there and leave the stress + running like crazies home! I would 100% recommend scheduling things a little looser or not at all and wing it when you arrive. I am typically the planning type, but boy was this an amazing change in pace and we LOVED it!