Samson Island Hike at Satellite Beach

Satellite Beach’s best kept secret is a cute, little nature park called Samson Island.

The Space Coast has numerous river islands. Today we visited one, “Satellite Beach’s Best Kept Secret”, Samson Island.

Samson Island is city-owned and is only accessible by boat. It’s not very large, but the 52-acre island is jam-packed with plants, wildlife, walking trails, picnic tables and other recreation spots. With a permit from the city, one can even camp on the island overnight.

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A few of the local paddle sport shops claim that a round-trip from the shop to Samson Island is a relaxing six-mile journey. There are also several boat docks scattered along the island shore for anyone lucky enough to have a boat on this lovely stretch of river. But if all of those options fail, like it did for us, it is possible to catch a free boat ride every Sunday at 1:00 PM behind the Satellite Beach Fire Department (1390 S Patrick Drive).

The boat ride may have been the best part. We road with nine other people in a small pontoon boat. It was a gorgeous 15 minute ride through a canal-heavy neighborhood of beautiful waterfront homes, private sailboats and yachts. The canals themselves were home to numerous birds, and dolphins; on the boat ride alone, I counted six different species of birds and saw three pairs of dolphins.

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The island itself was an enjoyable walk. It showed signs of the recent hurricane with several downed trees, scattered brush, and broken signs. However, the trails were well maintained and the wildlife was still plentiful. We saw six different types of flowers and another three types of birds (including a fairly close view of an osprey).

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We also saw (felt) a lot of bugs… Josh, Mom, and I were all eaten alive by ants and mosquitoes. I strongly suggest bringing both sunscreen AND bug spray when visiting the island. It will make a much more enjoyable next morning (we are a sight for sore eyes today).

Overall, we had a great time and I would strongly suggest the trip to anyone looking for some inexpensive outdoor fun here on the Space Coast!

I’m a Travel Blogger

I got my first “job” today!

Sunday Shower Thoughts:

  1. “What would life be like if humans had a mating season?”
  2. “I wonder if sweet potatoes would be good on pizza.”
  3. “I love vacation rentals. How fun would it be to review vacation rentals? OMG, I’m going to review vacation rentals.”

I got out of the shower, threw on some clothes, and immediately set to work. I emailed 10 different vacation rental owners and told them I wanted to look at their place, take some pictures, and do a small piece on my blog. Everyone who actually read my email, responded positively.

On Monday, Josh and I drove into town and met with a woman who owns a dozen properties in the area and was excited to get some professional photographs taken of a property she recently acquired. That made me nervous. “Is she going to be upset when Josh and I show up with our phones and the GoPro? Does she think my blog is being read by thousands of people?” I was so nervous, but I put on my work voice and just did it.

We had so much fun! The woman and her mother were really nice people with interesting stories. The two apartments she took us to were lovely and exactly the kind of places we stay at during our previous travels. Josh took video with the GoPro and I took photos with my phone.

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Again, it was a little nerve racking taking photos on our cheap equipment with very little photography skill, but the photos weren’t the point. It was the story. The woman gave us the rundown of the area (similar to what she would share with her renters) and we visited many of the places she suggested. We imagined an entire week’s worth of amazing blog posts and stories we could tell if we had a week at her place. It would be the dream job I have always wanted.

Dream Job Checklist:

  1. Quit my nine to five and hit the road. – CHECK
  2. Start a blog. – CHECK
  3. Make first contact as a travel marketer. – CHECK

Am I dreaming? Has this really happened? This blog has 30 posts, I doubled my followers on social media, and I got my first “job”. There are still a few steps to go before I’m Samantha Brown famous, but I’m on my way. I really am. How did I get so lucky?

Happy Thanksmas Holiday

In my family, holidays are celebrated when it is convenient, not when the calendar says it’s time. Mom continued that tradition this week by announcing yesterday as Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas). Happy Thanksmas!!!

In my family, holidays are celebrated when it is convenient, not when the calendar says it’s time. Mom continued that tradition this week by announcing yesterday as Thanksmas (Thanksgiving and Christmas). So Happy Thanksmas!!!

On Monday, we put up the tree. The tree was decorated in a cartoon theme to match Mom’s ‘toon-style decor. We turned on the Christmas music and went all out. Later that night, we left the house and felt instant embarrassment at the sight of our beautiful tree through the window… in early November… in 80 degree weather.

Tuesday was spent wrapping up work projects so that we could take the next couple days off to celebrate. Wednesday was meal planning and grocery shopping. Then Thursday was the big day.

We woke up early, wished each other a Merry Thanksmas, put on our holiday best, and celebrated the day. We played games, watched a movie, did some yoga, took a walk, and really just took the day to relax.

Attendance: Mom, Roommate S, Grandma B and Woodstock (the elderly neighbor and her dog who kept randomly barging in), Josh, and myself.

Menu: Cornish game hens, cornbread stuffing (my fav!), candied yams, cranberry jelly, mashed potatoes, corn, olives, deviled eggs, dinner rolls, mud pie, and pumpkin pie.

All in all it was a great holiday celebration! We had fun making the house look great, eating delicious Thanksgiving favorites, and passing out in front of the TV.

Florida Adventures

A diary-style blog of last week’s adventures in Florida, USA.

How is it that we only moved out a week ago and I’m already behind on my blogging? I feel like that shouldn’t be a thing yet. Here’s a quick rundown of last week on the East coast of Florida:


Erna Nixon Park

We have been walking nearly every day, either to the store (which is a little over a mile away) or along the beach, but on Friday we decided to mix it up and get out into nature. Erna Nixon Park was a little bit of a drive, but offered a nice walk on a raised path through a natural Florida forest. It was short, so we did a couple laps. The internets promised me plenty of flora, fauna, and at least 12 species of birds. We counted: bees, black ants, red ants, dragonflies, black spiders, yellow spiders, and an armadillo. I was disappointed that we didn’t see any birds, but we did see some wild coffee plants. That was kind of cool.


Full Moon Drum Circle

We’re at Mom’s house, so we do what Mom wants, and what Mom wanted was an evening at the drum circle.

Thankfully, spending nearly ten years in a city ranked as the number one hippy town in America had me pretty well prepared for this adventure. We headed out to the main beach in town just after sunset, set up some chairs, pulled out our drums, and waited for the fun to begin. It was way more popular than I had expected. There were at least 30 people in attendance, a fire pit, and a beautiful view of the full moon over the ocean. Not a horrible way to spend an evening, I guess.

Above: Documented proof of the ever elusive “Drummer face”

Sunday Church

Josh and Jen, the conservative, secular scientists, spent the evening at a drum circle. Why not also spend half a day at church?

Mom took us to her favorite church in town. She was raised Catholic, but has been enjoying the local Unitarian church that her neighbor attends. Although atheists, Josh and I enjoy the occasional opportunity to speak with spiritual people. The church was comfortable, music was delightful, and the service didn’t immediately put me to sleep. Overall, we enjoyed ourselves and would even consider attending again… but no, we did not change our minds.

So we survived a morning of church, why not more church?! Without any warning, Mom drove us directly from one church to the next. Our second (and thankfully, final) stop was a Thai Buddhist Temple. It was tucked away on a large plot of land and was decorated beautifully with lots of color. At first it felt like we were crashing a potluck, but eventually we found the area where they were selling Thai food to non-Thai people, and felt a little better about being there. It was a cute little covered area with picnic benches, a courtyard, and Thai karaoke. There were also a number of outdoor food stalls selling desserts next to a Buddhist monk preaching over a small PA system. It was certainly strange, but the food was great and good way to wrap up an afternoon of attempted spirituality.

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Much of the rest of the week was spent walking along the beach, cooking and eating, watching “The Good Place,” and doing small chores around the house. We didn’t have a ton of luck sticking to our routines, but I’m hoping this week will be an improvement. I have a feeling that this will be a long and challenging learning curve.

Interested in the day-to-day? Follow me @Jenistheman on Snapchat or @ThePlacesWeLive on Twitter for daily (sometimes hourly) updates.

Flying to Florida – It Begins

Today is Friday, our fourth day in Florida.We’re starting to feel a little more settled, but have definitely had some learnings along the way.

We did it! I can’t believe it actually happened, but it has. We quit our full-time, great paying jobs, narrowed down our belongings to a single carload, and left our lovely apartment to start a new life as Digital Nomads.

We cleaned our apartment and took off with all of our belongings stuffed into our Nissan Altima on Sunday. The drive to Boise was long, but exciting. I think everything really hit me once we got to Boise and I realized I was, technically, homeless. That was a bit of a creepy feeling. We spent two nights in Boise unloading the belongings that weren’t traveling with us, then flew to Florida for the month.

Mom lives in a cute little house only a block from the beach on the Space Coast. We’ll be spending the whole month of November couch surfing with Mom and her roommate, S. We have a near-private room with a pull-out bed and access to the backyard. We’ve been sleeping with the numerous windows open and enjoying the warm breeze and sounds of the ocean.

Today is Friday, our fourth day in Florida.We’re starting to feel a little more settled, but have definitely had some learnings along the way.

WiFi is a MUST. We spent a grueling 24 hours without internet or phone service. We faced the usual challenges expected from our other Millennial friends: anxiety, loneliness, and a serious case of FOMO (feelings of missing out). I know it sounded to Mom like we were just over-dramatizing our First World Problems, but when our entire livelihood is online, it really did feel like our lives were on pause. No work (literally; Josh works online) and no play (honestly people, Stranger Things Season Two just came out) makes us dull boys.

Being hosted means readjusting. We felt pretty confident about our spending habits and our routines, but those routines have already gone out the window since we have been here. I want to hang out with Mom and she wants to hang out with us, but that means adjusting our schedules. It hasn’t been a bad or difficult adjustment, but it has been impactful. Finding work has taken a little extra time and I’m behind on my blogs and language study.

As Josh and I aren’t particularly great at catching social cues, I think this will be an ongoing struggle for us when couch surfing. The solution we are working with so far is to stay honest with our host about our needs and finances, be good to our host by doing chores and making family meals, and staying positive and sharing our adventures whenever we can.

Find fun everywhere. This is one of the things I knew we would be good at. No gym? No problem! We have been walking as much as possible, doing Yoga with Adriene, and making the most out of the world around us (like exercising on the playground jungle gyms).

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For our evening at the pub, we decided on Pub Trivia (Iron Oak Post) so that we at least had a chance at winning a free bar tab… and we did! Ever met anyone famous? Now you have. Meet the winners of this week’s Trivia Nation 80’s, 90’s, 2000’s Trivia! It’s a big deal.

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