How our road trip all began
The greatest moments during our trips have been made by the interactions we have had with strangers, the random acts of kindness from us, and the beautiful sceneries we have spotted along the way. As we land in Florida, we know that this is the very same experience we want to have in this beautiful place. We won’t be booking any hotel rooms since that option has always limited our ability to reach the furthest ends of the cities we travel to. This time around, we decide that our visit will be more of a road trip and that is what makes us opt for a vehicle rental.
As we land in Florida, we know that this is the very same experience we want to have in this beautiful city. We won’t be booking any hotel rooms since that option has always limited our ability to reach the furthest ends of the cities we travel to. This time around, we decide that our visit will be more of a road trip and that is what makes us opt for a vehicle rental.
After giving it a serious thought, we decide that we will hire a spacious vehicle we could sleep and move about in, and take to the roads.
RVs are so lovely as they allow you to tour the world from the comfort of your ‘house’. It is some form of a mobile home that doubles up as a transport vessel for adventurous people. As we later come to discover, the process of hiring these vehicles is actually not that difficult and there is a great company called RVshare that offers Key West RV Rentals. I can use my International / Australia Driver’s Licence and it was ever so easy to organize the hire. For me as a single Mum, driving around Florida on a road trip was just the freedom we needed.
In fact, for the few times, we meet many other adventurous people who have also opted for them. We just had to make sure that the vehicle is in good condition, is spacious, has some form of entertainment to kill boredom and is stable enough to drive through the worst of terrains. Just like when we book hotel rooms, we were looking for a vehicle that met all of our needs.
With the vehicle keys already handed to me, our road trip was officially flagged off. I had already done a Google search of all the places we were to visit and the stops we were to make on this adventurous ride. I sent all the details to my email so that we could continually refer to them as we journeyed on. I have to admit that I had a difficult time finding mile markers as we drove along. This made us take longer hours on the road.
Finally, we got to a small village known as Rain Barrel. This is a village whose streets are filled with inspirational artistic images and designs. It is for this reason that it is known as an artists’ village. It was our first stop on our journey to discover Florida.
We were fascinated by the big crayfish/lobster that was artistically sculpted and positioned in front of one of the buildings in the area. It was a scene to behold, and my son could not wait but take a picture with it. The crayfish took me back memory lanes to my time back at home as it reminded me of a sculpted crayfish I always saw in South Australia, my motherland.
The village had a market that was very peaceful and relaxed. We were even lucky to find an amazing lady who taught us how to weave with pine needles. It is very unfortunate that I could not buy and send such things back home. If it were possible, I would have done it with joy. Learning such simple skills has however been part of our experience as travelers, and we dearly appreciate such generous hearts. We noticed that there is a faux village behind the market that we wished we were able to visit. However, we have already planned our trip and would rather stick to our rules. So we bid the lady goodbye and head back to our RV. I have to admit that the wishing well was a hit. My son’s eyes are crunched as he makes his wish or says a prayer. I am sure it is for the latest DVD or toy. There is nothing that I as comforting as knowing that you have a comfortable van for the road trip. I sigh as we get back into the van. I am just relaxed.
For the first time in a long time, we can literally feel the smell of freedom. I had just not figured out how much I needed it before this day. With the RV, we can go anywhere we desire to go, pose for photos at random spots and have all the power to make choices that are beneficial to us. With the entertainment system turned on, we can sing along to the latest tunes on the radio and stop when evening comes for a good night on a very luxurious bed. For a moment, we feel like America is ours for the taking and no one will snatch it from us.
Driving along The Florida Keys and especially Seven Mile Bridge can be interesting on the way down. However, it is believed to be less interesting on the way back. Therefore we decided we will do most on the way back and make it a little more enjoyable. That is the boldness of knowing that you are in a comfortable vehicle.
We get to a narrow road which we discover was built after rainstorms washed away an earlier existing railroad. The destroyed railroad had been constructed by a famous multimillionaire but failed to stand the extreme rainstorms. As we drive along the road, we notice just how long and straight it is. At some places along this road, traffic slows down, and so you have to be patient since there are very few overtaking lanes due to its width. I believe that this is the world’s highest number of interconnected bridges that connect Islands and Keys.
Our next stop is at ‘The No Name Pub,’ which as we discover, is not that easy to find. How on earth do you ask people to direct you to a pub that has no name? I would advise you do your research first before starting a journey to the pub. It is crazy that we actually got lost on our way out.
The No Name Pub
Let me tell you more about ‘The No Name Pub.’ It is a pub that has been made famous by the fact that it is literally decorated with 1 Dollar notes.
The sum total of the money is around $100,000. Most people will write a message or draw images on the 1 dollar notes they pin to the roof and glue onto the wall just to leave a mark.
While this is a unique concept that I have never seen anywhere else in the world, I feel so sad that people would rather waste money by pinning it onto a roof rather than actively being involved in acts of kindness. So many needy people are looking for such donations, and I felt like the money was wrongly placed. I have seen too much in developing countries.
As a single Mum I have used the little, we have to help feed the poor, buy clothes and do what we can to make a change, and then I just see this as sheer waste. “What if a fire breaks out and razes everything to the ground?” I ask myself such questions. All this would all be lost in the twinkle of an eye. I realize just how much travel has changed my perspective on life. I am not poor, but I am also not wasteful.
Anyway, we had the pub’s famous fried potato slices which I have to admit were delicious. I specifically enjoyed Sangria in a No Name keeper glass. My son wanted to peel off some of the hanging notes from the roof. There are obvious spots where people have sat and peeled the notes from where they are stapled.
As we leave, we hope to get to Malory Square in time for the sunset. However, we are forced to deal with the many Deer that are all over the road. My son gets excited at the sight of these lovely animals and rushes out of the van to say “hello.”
I love how gentle he is with them. We understand that we are not allowed to feed them, and so he only plays with them as he uses his hands to control them. He loves animals so much, and this melts my heart.
While driving out, we sadly get lost. This is, however, no big deal since there are more Deer on along the road. My son gets out of the van again to have a little chat with them.
Sadly, a lady stops and tells us off for feeding them, but we aren’t. I wish she knew how careful I was not to knock off a little deer that ran onto the road while I was driving.
It was completely in my blind spot.
Before we know it, the sun is already setting. We are not even in Key West. We certainly are not at Malory Square. I really want to see the sunset at Malory Square. It is famous. So we decide we will be staying a couple of days.
We cannot find a decent parking spot. So we have to look around for a safer place. How we wish we could even find a parking spot for a big mall like Walmart or a safe residential area where RV’s park. I am however relaxed since I know that our mobile home can be packed in any spot as long as it is a secure area. Again, that is the beauty of taking a trip from the comfort of your ‘house’. We find a spot near Burger King, and so we will be using its internet. We miss home-made sandwiches, and so I prepare that for dinner. This puts an end to our first day on the road. We are pleased about the experiences and the interactions. Lessons have been learned, and memories made for the day. As we close our eyes to sleep, we pray that the remaining nine days will be more adventurous.
- Are you a family that permanently travels around the world?
- Do you often travel with your child?
- How do you strike a balance between your career, family and travel, more so if you are a single parent?
- Do share your comments with us below.