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E&J Adventures: How to Survive Vacation with your love

Updated: Nov 1, 2021

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Running Late and Traveling Fails

So since January (Maybe even December) I had been planning a trip for valentines weekend. Keep in mind, It’s not a holiday Emmanuel celebrates out right - gift exchange is not an option- but something that he indulges in for my sake.

This year I decided we were going to utilize a surprise travel agency group called Pack Up and Go for a new experience. The agency works to plan a surprise trip for you, provide small amounts of detail leading up until your day of travel. About a week before we were set to leave they sent us information about the weather and how to pack. The built up anticipation was phenomenal and I literally told everyone I knew about our upcoming adventure. We were set to get an envelope in the mail the week of the trip which we had planned to open at the airport and unveil our surprise trip. Unfortunately, traveling in the midst of a pandemic runs the risk of last minute travel changes and ultimately we were forced to postpone our surprise trip until a later date.

With the time off still available, I refused to sit at home and stare at my love for the next 4 days. I still wanted an adventure, a trip, some MUCH NEEDED quality time. So we set to plan an impromptu trip 2 days before we were originally set to leave. Being I’m a HUGE planner, this is actually pretty big for me. The day prior I knew we were at risk of canceling our trip so I started at least perusing affordable flights from our home (Harts-field Atlanta International airport) - Being it was last minute, I didn’t have a whole lot of money set aside for re-booking a trip. In fact I didn’t have any lol.

Either way when Emmanuel returned home from a business trip we sat down to decide if postponing our original trip was even necessary. We talked with Lauren a representative of Pack Up and Go who promptly answered all our questions regarding our surprise trip to come and even allowed us some time to think and make a decision — which ultimately was to postpone. The next decision was what now? As I stated, staying home was not an option so we proceeded to look up flights together (mind you, I had already looked up flights on my own the day prior). Savannah and Tampa were the two most affordable flights for us. I found these by perusing Dollar Flight Club and Southwest Special Offers (Which I’m convinced was called Flight Deals just the day prior).

Luckily with all of Emmanuels travels, he had racked up some points which we used to book our flights coming out of pocket only $22. I then used points from my Wells Fargo Propel Card (which offers 3x points for travel expenses) to book us a hotel for $155. Finally we had to book a rental car. This was surprisingly the most expensive part of the trip this far we rentals averaging ~ $600 for our 3.5 day stay. Waaaaaay to pricey for last minute unplanned trip. So ultimately we went with Touro, a rideshare/rental company and got a rental for ~200 total. So far so good right!

So we wake up at around 5:15 (Emmanuel) and maybe 5:20-5:30 (Myself) for an 8:00a flight to Tampa. We are both doing out last minute packing and early morning readiness to the point we don’t leave the house until 6:45 with a 30-45 minute drive to the airport. Mentally I’m freaking out while externally trying to stay calm. My mother has always had encouraged being at an airport about 2 hrs prior to departure and I have adopted a 1 hr policy to allow room for Murphy’s law. Lol well we get to the airport at 7:10 and still need to check bags and oh did I forget park the car! My freaking out meter is slowly rising as again I’m trying to maintain my outward composure.

So Emmanuel drops me off at the door to check the bags and he leaves to park the car. Cool, this is how we normally do things when we’re running a little low on time. So I proceed to the counter to get our bags checked in. The wait itself isn’t so quick, but at the counter I discover I can’t check Emmanuels bag without his ID which is currently on him as he parks the car. I sent my bag along and tried to wait on Emmanuel to come , first verifying that he is at least on his way. Time seems to go on for forever and still no Bae. Tell me why as soon as I step out of line, he shows up. So now we have to get back in line (well he does). More waiting as the time slowly ticks away. When he finally does make it to the counter it’s about 7:35ish and he’s told he can’t check his bag (I’m not super surprised because the flight again leaves at 8:05).

So he takes the liquids out of his bag and takes it back to the car (more time ticking away), anxiety level piquing (internally while somewhat spilling externally). I once again waiting on the side with the bags and trying to busy myself on Canva. I get a text from Bae to meet him at the clear line, now I’m not sure if this means to get in line or wait at the door. So I sit at the door for the few seconds hoping he shows up and eventually getting into the CLEAR line. Serious thank GOD for CLEAR. Lol

As I’m in the line I keep awkwardly looking back hoping to see Emmanuel’s face. The TSA lady is trying to give instructions and I’m still hesitating to walk forward just hoping he arrives. FINALLY I see his face as I’m getting ready to put my bags on the belt for screening. He seems so far away but at least I can see him. Next thing I know he is beside and all seems right with the world, anxiety levels coming down despite more time ticking away at least he is near. We push our through bags to get screened and at this point it’s like 7:45 (reminder, flight leaves at 8:05). Emmanuels bag is flagged 🤦🏾‍♀️. They send it back through and once again it is flagged. The lady opens it up and it was my toiletries that I had asked him to pack since initially I wasn’t checking a bag (I should have stuck with that plan). I’m confused though since I’ve traveled with some of these products in my carry on bag before , but decide whatever because we have a plane to catch. It’s now 7:50 and I just know we’re going to miss our flight. I’m done rushing, I’m just going to walk forward and prepare for the inevitable.

Emmanuel proceeds ahead, looking back at me I assume wondering why I’m not moving with a purpose. He says, we can still make it but not walking at the speed I am. I’m not convinced, so he proceeds ahead without me. I’m stubborn, I pick up my pace slightly but refuse to jog. I watch as he disappears ahead of me and into the crowd. I’m still not hurrying, what’s the point I think to myself. Well, Emmanuel was right because he arrives at the gate and the boarding doors have not closed. He calls me, and still I have no desire to put any pep in my step. We ultimately did make the flight ✈️. I’ve never cut it so close in my life. It took me nearly the whole flight to bring my internal anxiety levels back down. This is just another day in the life of E&J

Day 1 Tampa

The plot thickens, so I told y’all we rented a car through the app Touro. So we land, get our bags and catch a Lyft to the destination listed to pick up our car. Apparently Emmanuel had been communicating with individual we were getting the car from and notified them we were outside. Apparently the individual wanted us to meet him at his place of work and not the place he had listed to pick up the car. Like what? Clearly we don’t have a vehicle because we need to borrow yours and so now we have to book ANOTHER Lyft to meet this man where at to pick up the car. Smh

So far the rest of the day has been smooth. We went and had breakfast at Broken Egg Cafe, picked up some missed items from Walmart and proceeded to our first activity, renting a speed boat! I wonder should I have bought a 👒


So the speed boat tour was AWESOME! Emmanuel drove first and per usual became a pro with ease. He glided across the water as if he had been doing this his whole life, following behind the guide with ease. When I took over the boat things were a little more choppy. In general I don’t do well with motorized vehicles. Abrupt stops, starts, and turns but when I get in zone and flowing the ride became smooth. Overall the entire tour was about 1.5 hrs and super serene. We looked at all the houses along the coast line and admired what wildlife presented itself.

When the boat tour ended we made our way to St. Pete beach, which took maybe all of 2 minutes across from the location of the speed boat tour. By this time, the temperature had started to cool down so we just walked along the beach letting our feet get wet.

Tampa Day 2

Today we went on The Historical Ybor walking food tour. Not our first rodeo with food tours, and most definitely not our last. This particular one was pleasant due to the tour guide and the knowledge she held about the establishment, growth, and revolution of the city. She informed us that the city was a melting pot for Italians, Germans, Cubans, and Sicilians who came together and helped the city thrive. I must be honest, the food was Okay. Nothing to rave home about and definitely not memorable.

Next we went to the Tampa River Walk and rode water bikes. Literally bikes on water. That was definitely a workout but an enjoyable way to spend the late afternoon. We rode for about an hour once again taking in the passing view.

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