Sarasota, FL 2022 - Talon Travels

What inspired this trip? I had a week between jobs, and there was part of me wanting to just stay home and read, but another part wanted to just take my car and drive for a long, long time. My car would be left in Florida as I moved back to New York City for the summer, so there must have been some last use I could get out of it. I only had one other experience where I drove for long distances by myself, and that was my trip to Okeechobee Music Festival, so I was craving just going offline for a couple of hours at a time and experiencing true presence behind the wheel.

Living in Florida for 4 years, I had barely left Miami, so it was time for me to explore a bit. All I planned was to drive to Sarasota, stay at a friend's place for a couple of days (not even sure how long), and then come on back. I had plenty of people I knew along the way that I could stop at and visit. Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Naples, Delray Beach, and Fort Myers were all possible pit stops for my drive.

But this isn’t about me driving around South Florida. This is about the destination, sunny Sarasota. Got there at 9 pm on Monday night and I basically went right to sleep. Woke up to the sunshine coming through my blinds. Not having to go to work for once, I tried to go back to sleep, but the world was telling me to get up and conquer the day. The one thing I really wanted to do while there was to drive to St. Petersburg and walk through the Dali Museum.

Dali is a huge inspiration to me, and I was not going to miss the opportunity to see so much of his work in one place. Through the paintings, I could see his imaginative yet mathematical brain. With some paintings, I felt like he was looking into the future, at the times we live in now, and what was to come. The building itself was amazing, a super unique glass design with a windy staircase as the centerpiece. Even got to see a little opera performance while we were checking out the museum.

Dinner was back in Sarasota. One of my friends in the area works at a great restaurant called Boca. I heard so much about it that I just had to go. I ordered the fish tacos, a personal go-to, while my accomplice got the sweet potato gnocchi, and we both washed our meals down with a sweet white wine.

Across the street was the Gator Club, a bar that looked to be a good time. I was told Tuesday nights were “Sex Bingo” and I wondered what that would entail so we decided to investigate. I expected the bingo cards to have sexual activities, and if they were called out and you did them then you would fill in the square, until, as in normal bingo, you got 5 in a row. That was not the case at all. In reality, it was normal bingo, and the prizes were dildos and other small sex toys. Everyone there seemed to be having fun, which is all that matters I guess. That is truly living, right? Just having fun in the moment with the people you have around you.

The next day I got invited to go to this yoga study. The buddy I was staying with tagged along, but we were in for a treat. Little did we know that we signed up for the “sweat” yoga session. The room was like a sauna. My friend next to me had a whole lake on top of his mat. It definitely served as my workout for the day. Had some great breakfast after at a place whose name now escapes me, but they had this egg sandwich with hashbrowns inside the sandwich! What a wonderful delicacy.

After resting for a minute, we went to check out one of Sarasota’s other noteworthy activities, shark tooth hunting. My friend Ryan was telling me he would go to some beaches and find over 100 in a day! The gulf just shifted these to the Sarasota area. When we went, for only being in the water for 30 min to an hour we found 40 teeth.

After that, Ryan said I had to check out the best beach in the U.S. It was Siesta Key beach. The beach was vast. The walk from the parking lot to the shoreline was a trek. Feeling the pearly white sand against my feet right before I jumped into the calm clear waves. Despite having spent a few months in Miami prior, I actually got a tan here while reading my book. The book I am currently scanning through is Vagabonding by Rolf Potts, which is what inspired this blog.

My original plan was to leave that Wednesday night, but I was on a loose schedule, so I figured 1 more day wouldn’t hurt. I woke up early to go to the local skatepark downtown with a buddy of mine. At noon on a weekday in Florida, the skatepark is practically deserted, so we got the whole thing to ourselves. Payne Skatepark has a small street section, however fun, with a mini halfpipe next to it. The majority of the skatepark consists of three wide bowls, one mellow beginner bowl, a traditional drained pool, and a hefty vert section.

After comes an interesting hiccup. I got back to Ryan’s humble abode and we were set to go on a nice cruise on his boat. The small speedster brought us through the beautiful canals of Siesta Key to the open water. Just as we were turning around the engine sputters. And then stops. We tried to start it again. No luck. Welp, we were stranded. Luckily, there was a boat towing service. After an hour of playing tic tac toe (I kid you not) the towboat finally arrives, and we enjoy a relaxing drift home.

I was planning on leaving right after this ride to go back to Miami, but I still needed to say goodbye to a good friend of mine. I get to her house and we sit and talk for a while. Then, as usual, I got hungry. The next logical step was dinner of course. We went to Oak & Stone, a fabulous pizza place with seating on the roof. Dinner for me was a spicy Hawaiian-style pizza (yes, pineapple DOES belong on pizza) while watching the sunset over the water.

Instead of driving back that night, I decided to stay one more night at another friend's place to shake it up, and then get on the road first thing in the morning. The plan actually became reality this time. I enjoyed a solemn ride back, just me, a couple of podcasts, and my thoughts to keep me company.

I actually planned to live in Sarasota instead of Miami at the beginning of 2022, so it was nice to get a little taste of it. A calm beach city with plenty to do. There was a great artsy vibe downtown. Not as many young people around as in some of the other places I’ve traveled, but the more mature aesthetic didn’t throw me off in the slightest. For those that are in need of just a relaxed week, chilling by beautiful beaches and checking out quirky local shops (shoutout to Artisan Flower Shop, which I frequented almost every day of my stay).

This blog post is a test of blogging for my world tour. All of this just came off the top of my noggin, so please forgive the errors. Also If you want to see the video of me designing the picture for this post, go check out the youtube video. Hopefully, this inspires a road trip in your free time, and if you ever decide to check out the Sarasota area, let me know and I can give some recommendations and even potentially connect you with some amazing people.

In the meantime, live life to the fullest.