Empty Schedule, Full Heart

This past weekend I went to Nokomis, Florida to visit my grandparents. Nokomis is a quaint little beach town on the west coast of Florida right near Venice Beach. My grandparents spend January through March in a senior community in Nokomis to get away from the cold. I was able to find a super affordable flight and wanted to escape the cold in NJ as well so I went down there for a couple of days.

Typically, I’m the traveler that needs to try the best restaurants in town and see all of the best sites because I’m in love with trying new things. I work full time job as a project manager so it is basically my job to be organized and I am the same way when I travel. I do tons of research and plan most of my trips with a schedule in mind to ensure I experience everything I want to. This was probably one of the first trips I’ve been on where there was no research, no schedules, and no expectations. 

I got down to Florida on Saturday and my Grandma was out so my Grandpa and I went out to dinner at a great American classic; Bonefish Grill. There’s nothing in the whole world like some bang bang shrimp. And of course, spending one on one time with Grandfather was also amazing! 

On Sunday I went walking around the community on my own and it was quite different since I have never been in a community like this before. All the houses looked the same, single level with 1-2 cars, and a golf cart. All the people looked the same and gave me the same nod and wave as I walked down the street. In between the sea of regularity, I saw hidden gems and was able to stop and experience the beauty and nature around me, something I am not able to do often at home. 

After my walk, we hung out by the pool and then had a typical Italian Sunday dinner which means pasta around 3-4 pm. My grandparents had heard about a performance happening at Venice Beach that evening so we decided to check it out. We got to the beach around 5:30 pm and there were drummers lined up with hundreds of people sitting in beach chairs circled around them. Around 6 pm some belly dancers wearing bright, beaded skirts came out and were dancing to the beat of the drums. We watched the dancers and listened to the dozens of drummers lined up all drumming to the same beat. There were all different drummers and dancers, men and women in their 20s to well over their 60s which was intriguing to watch. This was a free event and no one asked for a donation nor was there a bucket or anywhere to put a donation. It seemed as though these performers simply truly loved what they were doing and were grateful that we were there, providing an outlet to display their talent. Around 7:15 pm the sun started setting and the sky lit up different shades of pink and orange. My family and I walked away from the drums and closer to the ocean to watch the sun disappear into the water. It was a truly breathtaking sight especially with the drums beating in the distance. 


The next day we lounged around at the pool and I talked and laughed with my Grandparents. My Grandfather plays the harmonica so I sat and listened to him play by the pool. On my last day in Florida, we went to Nokomis beach and it was the most beautiful day, 80 degrees with a slight breeze. The water was a beautiful turquoise shade and the sun was beating down. The water was so calm I was able to go in on a float and just lay there for hours.

As you can see, I did a whole lot of nothing! This highly organized, sometimes controlling, extreme planner finally “let go” for the first time in a while and I had such an amazing time. I love traveling for tons of reasons, but for this trip in particular I loved the fact that I didn’t have anything to see or anywhere to go. I actually went with the flow for once and lounged around all day. I recharged after going non stop for the past couple of months which was much needed. Maybe I didn’t come in with a full schedule, but I left with a full heart.


Finding Francesca

  1. Jill says:

    I love everything about this ❤️❤️

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