This past August, after so many years of dreaming, my family finally got a chance to plan a magical family vacation in the Gulf Coast of Florida in 30A. We were so ready to go on vacation after a busy year of working doubly hard as photographers in the middle of a pandemic. It was Wisdom's birthday week and we were so excited to have family join us on vacation, and would finally be able to meet Courage and Glory for the first time. We could not wait to play in the powder white snow of Destin beaches and dip our toes in crystal blue waters and we were SO excited about the gorgeous Vrbo rental we had booked.
A few days prior to our vacation, we got word of Hurricane Ida moving toward the Gulf Coast. We tracked the storm like a hawk and felt confident that although it was heading to the area that it would barely skim where we were staying and that we should be alright. When we arrived in Destin, we experienced something far different. We had been at the airport just 30 minutes when the sky went from sunny and blue to dark and stormy. While negotiating our rental car, a rain cloud moved in quickly and down-pored right over us and in that moment we got a taste of what SE United States deals with every season.
I spent the remainder of the day praying that this was a fluke and that we didn't just actually fly into a hurricane, but with the continued weather updates, cancellation of family members flights and tornado warnings, I learned fast that this was going to be a vacation where I would have to lean into flexibility.
All activities shut down and closed. Waters so rough, there was no way we could enter them. Our calm, family friendly beach had turned dark, stormy and dangerous. Streets were flooded, the mood was dark along with the house, and our "adventure vacation" turned into a cozy staycation.
This is the cost of travel, isn't it? We had big beautiful plans of fun-filled sun soaked days, but all we got was rain, wind and what would have been a huge disappointment had we not had our Vrbo.
So thankful we had our Vrbo. Had we been stuck in a hotel this would have been a very different situation, but because we had our Vrbo rental were able to move around the house. Sit outside on the decks and enjoy the storm, watch movies, play games, cook together, enjoy long naps, read books, cozy up for conversations and celebrate our big girl as if we were "home," just away. Had we been in a hotel it would have been very challenging and vacation would have been ruined, but instead we were able to reframe our expectations and adjust as we would if we were in our own home. The house was beautiful. It was full of board games and comfortable furniture, all things we needed to take control of our vacation and pivot and we ended up having a better time than we could have imagined, full of connection and sweet memories.
* When I write a re-cap of our vacation, I love to include places to stay, eat, things to do, sites to see, but the truth is, we did very little on this vacation because of the weather, so I have very little to offer except to say, the Vrbo saved the day.
Have you ever had a vacation take an unexpected turn? How did you deal with it?
On the very last day, the sun did manage to come out and we were able to spend a few moments on the beach and in the water before heading home. When I ask the girls about our trip to Florida, they see it as a really special time of adventure, and as a parent, I couldn't ask for more.
With wisdom and courage, for His glory,