wanderings: clearwater

florida

I posted near the beginning of the year about my recently developed wanderlust. Since that post, I’ve set up two work trips to places I’ve never been before (yay!), and this week returned from a place I’ve been many, many times: my grandparents’ house in Clearwater, Florida. It’s weird to go back to Clearwater. I haven’t been there in so long that it’s hard to remember when I was last there, but once I step off the plane, everything seems strangely unchanged. My grandparents’ house is the same. The beach is the same. Same causeway, same strip malls, same little outcroppings of “senior communities.” We go to the same part of the same beach, sitting on the same chairs. When we walk around the neighborhood, we take the same streets. It all smells the same. Like humidity and sunscreen and tropical flowers. At the same time, things are different. There seems to be a new Walmart springing up every few feet, restaurants have come and gone, and, of course, I’m different. Existential weirdness aside (I’m a writer, it happens), I had a really lovely trip. I was feeling the need to get away, so it was perfect timing.

Time runs slower down there, so there was plenty of time for lazing on the beach, wandering around Dunedin (which has a Cedarburg-esque downtown shopping district), eating seafood (grouper grouper grouper), and reading books in the sunroom. Most of the vacations I’ve taken have centered around a major event, so they haven’t exactly been relaxing. This was a true vacation. I could use more of those.

The most notable part of the trip for me, honestly, was my swimsuit. It was my first time wearing a two-piece since probably middle school, which is small potatoes for a lot people but was a big deal for me. I’d been inspired by a lot of fabulous plus size bloggers with their bikinis, but I was still very shy about getting one for myself. Even after I ordered one (with lots of encouragement from friends), I was still unsure that I’d work up the gumption to actually wear it out on the beach. But I did, and it felt pretty awesome.

The best kind of trips, I’m finding, are the ones that leave you not eager to come home, but eager to keep exploring, to go somewhere new. Inspiring trips. And that’s the question in the forefront of my mind: where to next?

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