I went to Miami, and all I got was… 

While I told myself I would end my 2015 escapades with my Midwestern adventure, I could never resist a weekend getaway to one of my favorite places: South Beach, Miami

It was a chilly Tuesday in New York, when my friend and fellow travel addict texted me…

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My first trip this year was to this East Coast hot spot, so I felt it was only appropriate to finish my year the way I started it- lying on the beach, sun on skin, drink in hand.

For such a last minute adventure, I knew well enough to predict the unpredictable. Leave wiggle room when traveling, bring enough underwear, take vitamins, etc…

The events of this adventure were so outrageous, that no amount of premeditation would have made a difference. The only way to handle whatever the adventure gods throw at you: a good sense of humor, a quality travel buddy, and a 6 pack of Heineken…

I went to Miami, and all I got was: Stuck by Lighting

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One thing that can be somewhat predicted- the weather. The forecast for this weekend didn’t look promising, but we were willing to take our chances with mother nature. [Important rule of life: Mother Nature knows best]. We were greeted by ominous rain clouds, but paid no mind and followed our rumbling bellies to an outdoor bar. Happy to be in tank tops and flip flops, we sat under an umbrella, ordered some breakfast, and drinks the size of our cabezas. 

A couple of fork-fulls into our chocolate chip pancakes, Mother Nature unleashed her wrath. We stayed pretty dry under our umbrella, so we did as any two girls in our position would do: ordered another round. Soon, the flash on Mother Nature’s camera went off, and we were startled by the brightest light and the loudest boom. Then, we experienced then weirdest tingling sensation- one in our arm, on in our leg. 

*Science Lesson* If lightning strikes nearby and you are in an area that is wet, or near metal, part of the current can be conducted to you. We learned this from googling a very important question: “How do you know if you got struck by lightning?” 

Silver Linings: No one was harmed in the making of this blog post. We were prepared for the weather, so it really didn’t rain on our parade. We were able to spend some extra time at the restaurant, which resulted in no shortage of laughs, delicious food, and large beverages. 

I went to Miami, and all I got was: Attacked By Birds

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This is a story that has left me nearly as traumatized as my one night in Davenport, so naturally, I wrote a poem about it: “The Attack of the Gulls.” 

I will leave you here with the spark notes, unrhymed addition: 

Since February, I have been dreaming about “The Napoli” on a croissant from my favorite South Beach sandwich stop, La Sandwicherie. So, for lunch, I ordered just that.

Last time, I ate my sandwich peacefully on the beach, and was even able to capture this glorious photo of it: 

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Beautiful, huh? 

This year, I was held prisoner by a flock of relentless gulls. As I started eating, Sandra commented on all the new friends I was making. One by one, they inched closer, unaffected by my swatting motions. Then, the head honcho made his call, and they launched their merciless attack.

I wasn’t even two bites in when they came at me full force. Innocent bystanders commented on the tornado of lettuce and tomato that went flying though the air. The call of that bully of a bird will haunt me for the rest of my life. Moral of the story: the birds will always win. Don’t risk your sandwich or your sanity trying to feast at the beach.

Silver linings: Sandra had her camera out and was able to capture this pivotal moment of my sandwich eating career. We will never stop laughing about the attack of the gulls, and although I may have a newfound phobia, I wrote a really funny poem about it… 

I went to Miami, and all I got was: Balloon Animals (and a hole in my pants) 

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For such frequent flyers, the two of us were surprised that neither of us have ever been to a Señor Frogs before. We were excited to see one open up close to our humble airbnb abode- and naturally, stopped in for a drink. (”A drink” meaning a yard, which turned into two, which turned into “let’s see your ‘shots’ menu…). 

We met many interesting characters at this lily pad of a bar. The first two we noticed right from the start: a blonde mother/daughter duo, living life to the fullest. Sandra pointed to the older woman, wearing a sombrero, dancing to Pitbull and told me, “this is your future.” 

Her prediction was not too far off, when we learned that the woman’s name was Lauren. She was visiting from Philly to celebrate her daughter Ashley’s 21st birthday. #MomGoals

So, naturally, we solidified our new found friendship with a shotski and a full out dance party to Macklemore’s Downtown. My emulation of Mack’s knee drop left me with a nice, extremely large hole in the seam of my pants. A lifetime of dance class taught my this important lesson: Just keep dancing. 

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So, about these balloon animals…

Two yards later, we were approached by “the balloon lady.” When she asked what we wanted, we thought it would be rude to say, “for you to leave us alone.” Instead, we found humor in asking for something representative of my new phobia: a seagull. 

12 hours later, I was left with my circulation cut off from the tourniquet-esque bird balloon strapped to my arm. Thanks a lot balloon lady. 

You know when something about a person just rubs you the wrong way? 

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That’s was our opinion of the balloon lady. Were we polite? Yes. Did we tip her? Of course. Will I blog about my opinions of said balloon lady? Well, obviously. 

Silver linings: While our night at Señor Frogs was an expensive one, it was worth every penny. The celebration of Ashley’s 21st, with her mom Lauren, and the annoying balloon lady taught us an important lesson: When you’re at Señor Frogs, get the yard. When you’re done, get another. 

I went to Miami, and all I got was: An Airbnb Heartbreak

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Back in February, we stayed at an awesome Airbnb apartment, steps away from Ocean Drive. Our decision to come back to Miami was a no brainer when we saw that Jason’s place was available for the weekend. 

We felt so at home, knowing our way around- not packing toiletries because of the Walgreens next door, popping champagne in the same spot of our dance floor of a living room, with the stereo system we’ve grown so fond of. As we were packing up, getting ready to leave, Jason glumly told us he was glad we were able to have one last stay in our homey, red-walled apartment. 

But Jason, what do you mean by this heartbreaking statement?!

It turns out, this building has been sold, and our home away from home will be no longer come the new year.

Silver Linings: This is a hard one for me. All I can really say is, all things must end eventually. Impermanence is something I try to remind myself of regularly. That’s why I have a mandala tattooed on my leg. We must appreciate the here and now, and figure out the future one step at a time. While we’ll miss Jason’s place, we don’t know what other Airbnb’s south beach has in store for us. 

I went to Miami, and all I got was: The Urge To Go Back To Miami 

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Something I struggle with as a frequent traveler is finding the balance between exploring new places, and revisiting destinations where I have left a piece of my heart. If Miami were a man, I’d marry him tomorrow. Something about the sun, sand, and salsa music speaks to my soul. 

Last week, I was watching Carlos & Witney’s Salsa on Dancing With The Stars, and all I could think was, “I wish I was in Miami.” Sandra’s text couldn’t have come at a better time. 

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Traveling teaches you a lot about yourself: your situational likes and dislikes. As a twenty-something year old, gathering intel on the who’s, what’s, where’s, when’s and how’s of the life of future Lauren, I use traveling as a short cut. In a short amount of time, you’re able to get a glimpse of life in a different way. 

Silver Linings: One of the most important lessons I learned in school, that traveling has emphasized: the impact of a person-environment fit. Miami, I am certainly a person that can fit into your environment. While yes, I’ll be daydreaming of the 305 until my next trip, I feel thankful to have such awesome experiences allowing me to piece together the facets of what I want out of life. 

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For more, visit www.outtheresocial.com

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