I’ve been thinking about our recent trip to (and back from) Florida and how it fits into the core context of this blog … because, frankly, it doesn’t much, really.
I mean, I ran. I raced in three official races with start lines and medals and free bananas at the end and everything. This, of course, is something I consider on topic for this blog.
I also did a lot of sketching in my off hours. I’ve written a bit about sketching in the past, and so again, that’s something that is mostly on topic as well.
But then the rest of the time I spent in and around a theme park. I didn’t cook. I didn’t camp. I didn’t season a single cast iron pan. And to be completely honest, what we did wasn’t so much “travelling” as it was “vacationing.”
Or, to be fair, the trip was split about ninety-ten vacation to travel.
The travel parts? Well, for example, we made a couple trips to Florida grocery stores to stock up on quick breakfasts and race fuel and cheap drinking water.
For the most part, shopping for food in a foreign country is pretty routine. But I’ve been in food stores all over Europe and the UK, Iceland, and multiple places throughout North America.
And it’s the little things that throw you off.
Like, for example in the UK, eggs are not refrigerated.
No big deal, but it’s just enough jarring to remind you that you are in a foreign country.
In Florida (albeit I took the photos attached to this post two days before New Years Eve) I could have loaded up my basket with as many fireworks as I could carry. Back in Canada fireworks are treated like Grade A contraband with (I assume) thirty seven pages of government paperwork required to even discuss buying fireworks, let alone actually exchanging hard cash for explosives alongside my blueberry muffins.
As my daughter pointed out, mostly because we wouldn’t let her buy any, there were also a lot of doughnuts to be had among the shelves and aisles of the two markets where we shopped.
One particular Publix where we bought our first round of groceries was an anchor store for a cluster of smaller stores, one of which was a Krispy Kreme doughnut shop. Yet, fear not, those same doughnuts could be purchased inside the grocery store saving busy shoppers a five minute stroll to the stand-alone doughnut store.
None of this is judgemental, by the way.
I mean, I’ll take a fried egg and some sourdough toast over a glazed doughnut for breakfast every time. Ten times out of ten. Not interested in chocolate frosting with my morning coffee. But then that’s how I was raised and what I like, and that’s why we travel … to see those little cultural differences, no?
Back inside the park there was a cultural uniformity that comes from existing inside the boundaries of a massive corporate juggernaut like Disney World for nearly two weeks. One tends to forget for a bit that it takes effort to actually leave the park, when even back at one’s pirate-themed hotel room, one is still in Disney, enveloped by the intellectual property and profit-driven fantasy world of such a vacation.
Yet, even in that, snippets of travel are possible, and as simple as exploring a more real part of the country and culture surrounding that park with something as simple as a trip to buy fruit and cheese at the grocery store.