Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Key West, Florida, November 2016

Fate has landed me in Key West, Florida. The other California, though no beautiful mountains and earthquakes. The island has just about everything else, from coconuts to free spirits who wear painted birthday suits and sip on spiked slurpees. Think this might not suit your fancy? I highly recommend it!

“But there’s weird people down there!” “Aren’t you afraid to get hit on by drag queens?” “Have you seen any naked people?” “Six-toed Cats?!” “What about Zika virus?”

Weird is what makes us all unique. Go against the grain and experience a different culture that may be outside of your “normal” box. You will only grow as a person and just might come back with an interesting story, especially about the Garden of Eden. *insert winky face*

To answer the above questions: Yes there’s weird people. Yes there’s drag queens (pssst, they’re human too). Yes there’s homo-sapiens smothered in paint, but you really have to try hard to find them, unless you come for Fantasy Fest (Usually the end of October). Six-toed cats really do exist at the Hemingway House. As for Zika, you can be human, or you can just live vicariously through me and be a hobbit. No judging though.

On to the potatoes!

Don't blatantly stare, unless you plan on complimenting. Just because you're in a different location, don't get wasted and ruin it for others. If someone asks you to buy something, say no thank you, and continue walking to your destination. Finish your food on the street, not in the stores. Step out of your comfort zone and say hello to others looking at you. Don't leave trash, make it cleaner than you found it. No matter how bad you want to be a pirate, don't. Reminder, the people who work there see obnoxious people EVERY DAY. Make their day, if you can.

How much should I plan to spend in Key West, Florida?
This calculation is for one person spending a day there. Adjust for the group or kids you may bring and factors such as staying in a hotel (+$100.00).

Total: $200
Gas ~ $30 (127 mile round trip from Homestead, FL)
Food ~$75 (3 meals $25 plus hydration, candy, alcohol)
Souvenirs and Presents ~$100

How to pack for the Florida Keys
Flip flops (the same ones you used at the truck stop), shorts, shirt, underwear or swim suit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.

How to arrive
Options: Car, Bus, Bike, Cruise, or Horse (no seriously, don’t). If you’re choosing to drive down, I highly recommending stopping at the RaceTrac gas station in Homestead. Point blank, there’s only one way in. This includes gas ($$). Also, if a wreck happens, you wait in a long, terrible line, sometimes for hours…But the good news is, YOU’RE IN THE KEYS!

The last tidbit of advice I’ll suggest is to not bring a truck. Parking is ri•DON•culous! This is not USPS. If it fits, chances are, your vehicle will end up different than you left it. In case you had no other options than to bring a larger automobile, the two parking garages listed below should help you out.

Old Town Garage
Address: 300 Grinnell St, Key West, FL, 33040
Phone: (305) 809-3910

Public Parking Key West
Address: 220 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 912-7275

How to travel the Florida Keys for FREE.
Get on Rideshare through or ride with a friend. It’s dangerous, but you can also bike the 127 miles from Homestead, FL. Eat before you go and pack a day bag with food at home. Don’t buy anything. Sounds pretty plain and simple, but it’s okay to not buy that fancy dress or Fat Tuesday Slurpee. Join a buddy boat and help someone on their vessel.

Ways to make MONEY in Key West, Florida.
Sell parking space • Sell coconuts and other fruit • Street perform (people love fire) • Upcycle items in to Artwork • Fishing charters • Landscape • Pet and Child Sit • Braid Hair • Sell Sarongs • Rent Boats • Sell Fish • Beach Bag Kits • Dress up

Where are some unique places to eat in Key West, Florida?
This list could be quite extensive, but I’ll spare you some time. I’ve personally visited these four places to eat and drink. All are very good, but just depends on your mood. I started off with Better Than Sex because my inner diabetic told me to!

Amigos Tortilla Bar - Restaurant
Hopping hot spot with Day of the Dead decor & a menu of Mexican street food & gluten-free beers.
Address: 425 Greene St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 292-2009

Better Than Sex – Dessert
Dessert bar offering an extensive menu of decadent treats in a dimly lit, intimate space.
Address: 926 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-8102

Sloppy Joe's – Restaurant/Bar
Open since 1933, this bar offers live music & dancing plus a separate tap room for sports-watching.
Address: 201 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-5717

Hog’s Breath Saloon – Restaurant/Bar
Popular pub providing bar food on a covered outdoor patio plus live music & dancing.
Address: 400 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-4222

Fat Tuesday – Slurpee Bar
Address: 305 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-9373

Things to do in Key West, Florida

Mike marker 0
Address: 501 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-1129

Ernest Hemingway House – 6-Toed Cats Live Here…
The Ernest Hemingway House, officially known as the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, was the residence of author Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida, United States. Opened in 1851.
Address: 907 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-1136
Rate: ~ $13.00

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory located at 1316 Duval Street, Key West, Florida, United States is a butterfly park that houses from 50 to 60 different species of live butterflies from ... Wikipedia
Address: 1316 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-2988
Rate: ~ $12.00

Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost Point Buoy is an anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida marking the southernmost point in the continental United States. Wikipedia
Address: Whitehead St & South St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 809-3700

Walk Duval Street

Watch the Sunset Festival

I’m an aspiring minimalist, so souvenirs turn me off. Especially if they’re not recyclable. But, I understand everyone is different. Here’s my list of environmentally friendly souvenirs you can get in the Keys!
Painted Upcycled Items • Handmade Grass Hats • Chopped Coconut Cups • Sand • Shell Mobiles • Hair Braids • Take a Picture and Frame it with Scraps Found


I hope you enjoyed this guide.

Leave some comments to make it better!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Where to Take a Shower While Traveling: Love's Travel Stop

While traveling recently, I came across a slight problem. A cold, dark shower. No electricity. No hot water. Blegh! Too scared of the abyss, I panicked and called Love’s Travel Stop. For those unfamiliar with this, it’s a truck stop. Are you crazy?! Why yes.. yes I am.

“Isn’t it dangerous!?” “Don’t get stabbed!” “Please don’t die.”
No, I didn’t plan on dying at three o’ clock in the afternoon and I definitely did not plan on going in to an environment where I thought I was going to be stabbed. I’ve been around enough to know that if something is going to happen, it will. No matter how much forethought and planning you put in to something. This, is a wonderful example of how fear consumes us from the unknown. A reason why so many people don’t fully indulge in what life has to offer.
Well let me tell you, that was the best damn shower I’ve probably had in a long time. Just mildly scalding with enough pressure to take the paint off of your car and I LOVED every single drop!
Let’s have a recap.
I called first to see if they even offered public showers.
Love’s Travel Stop Rate: $11.00/person.
What’s included: Matching blue towel, facecloth and liquid body soap located on the wall in the shower. For my experience, there was an outlet to plug in a hair dryer, or in my case, my phone charger (because I like to live life on the edge of 2%). A toilet, to contemplate more of life’s decisions or read your Facebook on, is located next to the shower. So, if you’ve had Taco Hell, you’re in luck! There was a fan hanging on the wall, but it didn’t have any awesome features to share.
What to bring: Your nasty bits, your own towelclothes, beer, shampoo/conditioner, soap (if you’re sensitive to lab made chemicals), toothbrush/paste, and FLIP-FLOPS. *I highly recommend flip-flops in any public shower. There’s too much bacteria on the ground that could ruin your dating life or your day, if you’ve got the foot fungi. Protect yourself and just wear them in the shower, plus they dry quickly. I was just kidding about the beer, unless you’re in to that kind of thing.
The experience: I’m not going to lie, I had no idea what I was about to encounter, so I stayed in my car for a minute and thought to myself, “Do it for the blog! No, it’s for me…I stink! But blog!” I grabbed my bag of clothes and flip-flops (noted above!).
I wandered like a goldfish to the counter and shyly asked, “Where do I go for showers?” The clerk pointed with her finger as if Dumbledore (Harry Pothead I mean Potter reference) was showing the way as I continued swimming through the sheeple to the second counter. “I’d like to pay for a shower,” I said. A complete stranger standing next to me dealt his loyalty card and replied “Here, this should cover it.” Never in my life would I have imagined some completely random dude would offer to cover an $11.00 shower at a truck stop, but he did. Thank you truck stop man!
You’re given a ticket with a number, almost like waiting in the Publix deli line, but not as appetizing. I found a seat in Subway and caught up on Judge Judy. I’m fairly certain she’s a vampire because she doesn’t look like she’s aged at all. She still looks the same after all these years!
After my number was called, I was handed a blue towel that looked like it had been stolen from a Dr. Seuss book, and a long wooden sized ruler with a key. Note to self, to open the door, you must turn the lock all the way and THEN turn the handle and THEN walk through. Otherwise, you end up awkwardly close against the door.
For extra protection, I placed my trusty running shoe in the corner of the door and the wall and my small pocket key-knife on top of the soap dispenser. Who needs a gun, when you have the hands of Jet Lee?! Scrub-a-dub-dub, I was finished in the time it took to read One Fish, Two Fish.
Feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world, my first quest was to check out at the counter and let the lady know Thing One’s towel was left it in the bathroom. The second was to buy myself a chocolate bar and slave for 12 hours.

Suggestions: Definitely bring your own towel. Wear flip-flops. Go during the day if you can help it. Arrive early. It could very well take 20 minutes before your number is called.

Kate, from recommends traveling with a big rubber door stop. For those that are unsure about the idea of using a public shower, it's one extra barrier to keep the peepers out. 


If you enjoyed my article, please leave a comment below or share it with your friends. Thanks!