People often ask me how I find things to do when I’m on the road. At first, I had no idea how to go about it, especially when I genuinely had no prior knowledge of the city I’m in. After nearly 10 months on the road, I’ve developed a process that I’m confident you’ll find highly technical and insightful. 1) Ask for recommendations either from someone from the area or from someone who has visited it. Luckily for me, I’m part of a huge network of people who have traveled the country, so finding the latter is usually easy. 2) Check Instagram and see where people have tagged photos in the city or what’s featured on the city’s page. Apps like Yelp are helpful too! 3) Simply google it and browse through lists like “Top 10 Things To Do in Tallahassee.”
The other thing that’s important to keep in mind when finding things to do is, of course, what you actually like to do. I personally enjoy walking around a cool area, exploring and seeing what I stumble upon. For Tallahassee, I couldn’t find any recommendations or info from Instagram so I resorted to the lists which first led me to Florida State University, where I spent several hours strolling around the campus. I won’t say for the millionth time on this blog how much I like college campuses, but I will say that FSU is a gorgeous school and it has officially been added to my list of potential grad schools. Even though I love Madison, I couldn’t believe people could be so lucky to attend school in what felt like a tropical paradise.
My research also led me to Maclay Garden, which is an old home and elaborate garden that was given to Florida as a state park. Conner and I walked around the grounds’ brick paths that were lined with beautiful trees and plants and enjoyed seeing all of the different places they led us. We came to a sign that said “No Trespassing – Employees Only,” but Conner and I – who have been known for skillfully breaking into places like Coit Tower and our own NUTmobile several times – did not let that stop us. What resulted was us exploring hidden, back paths and hiding from employees in the trees so we wouldn’t get in trouble. We’re probably too old to be doing things like this, but it was honestly really fun.
FSU and the gardens were the only things I found in Tallahassee that really peaked my interest, and I was okay with that. Most weeks I try and make sure I see and do as much as possible, but Tallahassee was right in between NOLA and Ft. Lauderdale (a.k.a. Spring Break #1 and #2) and I wanted to take advantage of the chill time while I had it. The rest of the week was spent relaxing and preparing for Fort Lauderdale, other than work of course.
Most of our events for the week were at Walmart, which has become much too typical for the Central team’s liking, but we did work one exceptional event: The Peanut Proud Festival in Blakely, GA. Ten years ago, Blakely suffered a terrible storm that destroyed their crops, and they were afraid their economy wouldn’t bounce back. However, thanks to the miraculous peanut, it did, and they created the Peanut Proud Festival as a way to honor the legume. The whole town participates by painting their own peanut cut-outs and displaying them outside their homes/businesses. The festivities begin with a parade around town square, where a banner exclaiming “Eat More P-Nuts” majestically hangs. The festival afterward served peanut-related foods like PB ice cream and grilled PB sandwiches, and featured several popular country bands and an appearance from their congressman, who gave a passionate speech about peanuts. In my opinion, Blakely was beyond peanut proud and borderlining peanut worship, and honestly, I loved every second of it.
When I started this job, a lot of members of the old class told us that the “lifestyle” of living on the road takes awhile to master. I didn’t know what they meant by that for a long time, but I’ve definitely figured it out this half. Even though my first half out west was a blast and a half, there’s no way I could’ve kept up that way of life without going broke and gaining a ton of weight (haha). This half my weeks haven’t usually been jam-packed with excitement, but I’ve been a lot better at working out consistently, keeping in touch with friends and family, saving money and cooking for myself. It may not be quite as carefree and jam-packed with good times as out west, but my life has been much more balanced this half, which I think is what mastering the on-the-road lifestyle is all about.
More sweet & salty Sunshine State stories soon!