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Going On a Trip

by Aaron Tanner

· Travel,Florida,Anxiety,Grandparents,Sleep

This week I will be going on a trip. I am going to Florida to see my grandma. She lives in a retirement village between Tallahassee and Jacksonville off Interstate 10.

I will be driving alone. However, I know the route like the back of my hand and know how to locate where I am on a map in case I have to detour.

Although these trips are exiting, I also have problems sleeping the night before a big trip. It is probably anxiety as I think such thoughts including “what if I get in a wreck?”, or “what if I get pulled over by the police?” ,or “what if I forget something?” ,or “what if I don’t get there until 3 AM?”

I do not know why I feel anxious but apparently, a lot of people have trouble sleeping the night before a big trip. Here is a blog from Places, People, and Stories about why it is hard to fall asleep the night before driving a long distance or flying.

My dad says to think of things you will enjoy during the trip the night before leaving. I have many things to look forward to when it comes to seeing my grandma.

Since I never have time to read novels, I bought a used copy of a book on CD of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman with actress Reese Witherspoon narrating the story. That will be an excellent way to pass the time while I am driving.

My parents used to play books on tape such as Hank the Cowdog and The Hobbit on trips to my grandparents, and I am glad I discovered books on tape/CD again as I am past the age of having any interest in hearing about Taylor Swift’s latest boyfriend on Top 40 radio. Although if you are passing through the Birmingham, Alabama radio market between 10 AM and 2 PM, I must recommend the Jox Roundtable on Jox 94.5FM as the hosts combine sports talk with humor and pop culture.

Since traveling to my grandma’s by myself, I have discovered unique places to stop. For example, a little over an hour north of Panama City Beach in Marianna, Florida, I have visited Florida Caverns State Park, which is Florida’s only dry cave that is open to the public. I will eventually get around visiting Torreya State Park on the Apalachicola River, which I hear is the closest thing Floridians have to seeing fall foliage.

When my parents took my siblings and me to my grandparents, we would stop somewhere quick for lunch, like McDonald’s. Now that I am in charge of where I stop to eat, I have discovered some unique places along the way. For example, there is a farmer’s market south of Montgomery, Alabama on the way to the beach that serves some of the best barbeque I have ever eaten.

I always enjoy stopping at the Florida Welcome Center south of Dothan, Alabama to get free orange juice and getting the latest tourist brochures. Even though I am an introvert, one of my dream jobs is working at a Florida Welcome Center as I enjoy talking about travel and off the beaten places to stop. I will also need to remember to stop at the Alabama Welcome Center on U.S. 231 as my latest article in Alabama Living can be found there.

Although my parents usually got to my grandparents in time for dinner, I typically stop in Tallahassee for supper so I can take my time. I think the city has great restaurants due to being the capital of Florida and a college town.

I usually ask for a gift card to Ted’s Montana Grill so I can get a bison steak as the restaurant is convenient to the interstate and there is not a location in Huntsville. That particular restaurant does not have to advertise on I-10 for diners as there is usually a wait whenever I go no matter what night it is. There is also freshly caught Gulf seafood sold at the Ted’s in Tallahassee.

I am also going to visit Homosassa Springs north of St. Petersburg with one of my grandma’s friends to see the manatees as November is the beginning of manatee season in Florida. It will also be a nice, slower pace of life visiting my grandma, talking with her and helping around her house. The retirement village is located along the Suwanee River.

Although I miss seeing my grandpa, I need to focus on the new memories I will make with this upcoming trip. Since I am traveling by car, I have control over what time I leave and what time I get there. I have no reason to be anxious about what time I leave as I am usually to Tallahassee by evening and at my grandma’s before it is too late.

If I do not sleep well, I have my new reusable Dunkin’ Donuts Travel mug in which I can get unlimited coffee refills for 99 cents.

What are your favorite memories when traveling to see grandparents or other extended family members? Comment in the section below.

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