St. Petersburg, Florida

New friends, chill vibes, and an epic disaster…

After the Gasparilla festivities and marking taking a trapeze class off of my bucket list in Tampa, I headed down to St. Petersburg to meet my second couch-surfing host. I found a long haired fellow with a huge heart and a love for people and travels. I learned that he had traveled via RV for a while and even spent time living in Spain. His description of the country sounded too good to be true, spending lunch breaks picnicking in the park and lounging on nude beaches. His future dreams consist of purchasing a cozy home with extra rooms to lend out to travelers in need. I learned he was also very wise through many deep conversations about life, love, and religion. Kevin is surely someone who enjoys every last ounce of the life he has been given. I had the opportunity to meet with his family and friends over wine and cheese and each of them were just as kindhearted as he.

He was kind enough to let me borrow a bicycle to get around town easily so I spent much of my time here enjoying rolled up paper and graffiti art around the Edge district and the water front. This was not an easy task as it had been over ten years since I last rode a bike. St. Petersburg is definitely a yuppie area, which took some getting used to after having spent so much time in quaint marina towns. However there was a laid back vibe set by the balance of hipsters to hippies perusing the streets.

I was in food heaven here as there were vegan cafes on every street serving up dishes such as tempeh sandwiches and delicious stuffed acorn squash. Saturday mornings the downtown hosts an indie market and luckily for me this Saturday was also their annual Localtopia market. The indie market was mostly entrepreneurial stands selling home made baked goods, clothing, and crafts. Localtopia was much bigger hosting any business that had its roots in St. Pete. After a day of shopping the local markets I met with another couch-surfer who had moved to the states from Peru for some hard cider. We chatted at a brewery with an upbeat crowd playing games on the back patio.

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I enjoyed spending my days moseying around town with no where to be. Stopping to admire murals on the street, people watch in the park, and stare out into the stars hanging over the ocean top. St. Pete has beautiful parks to lounge in and even more astounding sunsets to top them off. I could have lingered in relaxation mode forever. And just when life was beginning to seem to good to be true, my second worst fear going into this trip happened. (Number one is being eaten by a bear in my sleep….)

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The engine blew. It looked as if I would have to be towed home by my brother the next day and call a drastically early end to my trip. I was getting ready to head down to the local shuffle board court to meet my host and his friends for my last night when I received word of a generous offer. To make you live in the suspense that I bore through that day, I’ll leave the details for article 9-1/2: St. Petersburg continued.

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