Tag Archives: Florida


24 Jul

I was crying thinking about this post. I cried as I finally cleaned out Skyhorse, taking out all our stained clothes and rusty canned goods with Spanish labels. I cried as she pulled out of our driveway one last time. And I’m crying as I write this now.  

Skyhorse is officially sold. A man in Indiana bought her and the shipping company picked her up yesterday morning at 7am. I never got to meet the new owner or even speak to him. I don’t know his plans, though Hani says he wants to retire and live off the grid somewhere. 

I never thought Skyhorse would actually sell. We listed her on eBay a bunch of times and posted the sale on just about every forum. We got more questions out of curiosity than interested buyers. I was convinced that Skyhorse was just going to be a cool fixture in our driveway (which, unlike at my parents house, was welcome in the physical driveway and not tucked in the side yard because of some stupid ordinance). 

It’s kind of hilarious when you think about it, the full circle of emotions I experienced associated with Skyhorse. I thought Hani was insane when he bought the ambulance. And then the truck. And completely off his rocker when we went to an airplane junkyard, rented a U-haul, and brought home a plane fuselage. I can’t even begin to express the fury I felt when he purchased one tow vehicle after another, finally settling on the motorcycle. 

But then Skyhorse started to take shape. It took on all the qualities of a home. The idea of packing up and leaving grew on me and instead of seeming far fetched, it became the next logical step for us. And I have to profusely thank my crazy husband for having this vision and creating Skyhorse, the best home we will EVER have. Without Hani being Hani, we would never have this unbelievable chapter in our life. 

So after 5 years in the making and 2 years on the road, we parted ways. May each of our journeys continue to be adventurous.   


Back To Mile 0

23 Mar

After leaving Daytona, we arrived in Miami and welcomed to this:

our crap!

our crap!

and this:



My parents threw us an awesome welcome home party the day after we got to Miami, just enough time to dig through our bags of “new” 2-year-old clothes and find something hole and stain free to wear. (Seriously don’t remember keeping so much stuff!) It was FAN-TASTIC to see our friends and family after being away for so long.

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we finally met our godson Ethan

we finally met our godson Ethan

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the sweetest gift!

the sweetest gift!

We spent the next few days readjusting (more on that later), taking the dogs for a vet check up, getting an oil change on our car and other random welcome-to-reality tasks (like getting new batteries for all 5 of my watches that died during our 2 year absence).

Then, on March 5, 2015, back to Key West, where it all began. We decided to drive Skyhorse because, well, why wouldn’t you take an impractically large vehicle a tiny island during Spring Break. No, it just seemed fitting to return with Skyhorse.

The water looked bluer. The sky clearer. I had forgotten how amazingly captivating the drive down the Keys is.


look at that big smile!!

look at that big smile!!


The normally 3 hour drive took us 5 hours, as we stopped to visit friends all along the way down. And after 680 days–1.5 months shy of 2 years–we returned to Key West for a long weekend visit.


Our 5 days in Key West were filled with surprising this one for her 25th 29th 31st birthday


this adorable face’s 1st birthday

happy 1st birthday Ava!!

meeting the newest generation of Key West Conchs, going out on the boat (a million thanks Lori and Kevin!!), wandering our old neighborhood, drinking at our favorite watering holes, and reconnecting with old friends. 

baby whisperer?

baby whisperer?

give me back my bow!

give me back my bow!


fighting over who is going to wash the dishes. some things never change...

fighting over who is going to wash the dishes. some things never change…


the Robertson Resort


We even camped a night at the office. 

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The conversations picked up right where we had left off and though circumstances had changed (new addresses, new jobs…) all the people were the same. Those that we had laughed with for years before we left on our adventure were still standing there with open arms welcoming Hani and I back. The only measure of the passage of time was all the new little ones that have sprung up in the last 2 years.

The city and its unique character will always hold such a special place in our hearts. I know our visits to Key West will always continue. But for now, the wind is pulling us in a different direction.


Random thoughts/ month 22

3 Mar
Rockin and rollin and truckin across the southern United States to finally arrive in FLORIDA (to cold weather). This month we:
+ especially love our Tennessee, Georgia and northern Florida friends. Thank you Faiqa, Scott, Wesley and Lamar, Cheeks and Lynne, and the Gardis for letting us stay warm indoors and/or use your electrical outlet for our heater. When the temps dipped in the 20s, you all saved us from a slow frigid death. Your generosity can only be repaid by taking Skyhorse off our hands. Now, who wants her??  
+ are still selling our beautiful home Skyhorse! Let us know if you are interested.
+ toured Tennessee. Man, that state is couuuun-try! Guns, camo and fried everything. And super flipping cold.
+ Memphis-ed. We visited with Hani’s friend Faiqa and her family, spending quality time drinking tea and talking shit about her brother. Kidding (but only about the tea part, Zia).
+ nerded out in the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis. The famed Lorraine Motel where MLK was shot is site to one of the best museums we’ve visited. Packed with videos, sound bites, replicas and news stories, this museum is a must see if you are anywhere in the vicinity of Memphis. Eat a big meal before you go so you are not forced to leave at hour 4 from hunger pains.
+ sang our way around Graceland. Super pricey but well worth the tour around The King’s gorgeously decorated property, planes and cars, hosted by none other than John Stamos.
the coolest bar

the coolest bar

even the king loved poodles

even the king loved poodles


And now the cars and plane…
+ checked out Sun Studio, where Elvis, Johnny Cash and others recorded. Pretty cool but mostly pretty boring. Graceland was better. Sorry Peter!
+ got sick, then better, then sick again. I don’t think this winter weather is good for our health. I hear the beach calling…
+ had an “I escaped Key West” reunion in Nashville. Miss these faces! We had such an amazing time meeting our friend Scott’s new wife Mandi and meeting Wesley and Lamar’s darling kids. Thanks baby Bub for letting us sleep in your room while you were away!

Huck wants to come in and play

+ shot our first rifle at a gun range in Nashville. Our Key West friend Scott relocated back to Nashville and after generously letting us crash in his spare house and showing us the cool parts of town, he introduced us to a typical Nashville afternoon activity…at the gun range. While I sucked and missed every skeet sent into the air, Hani did a pretty good job and hit 3 skeet! It was a hilarious experience and so fitting for our time in the south.
lots of ammo

lots of ammo

+ adored Chattanooga. The city is blossoming with cute neighborhoods, restaurants and outdoor activities. While I died, Hani fielded questions from lots of people who spied our ‘for sale’ signs. Chuck was one of those people, taking instant adoration for Skyhorse, so much so that he invited us to dinner with his family. It was very reminiscent of our early days on the road where we’d just click with random people we met. Just the reminder I needed that even though we are at the end of our trip, we are not completely useless unemployed blobs.
+ wandered around Rock City, an area several miles up over Chattanooga. We followed a series of paths through rock formations and gardens to the highest point, where you can see 7 states in the distance. 

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+ played in Atlanta with my high school bud Matt, his wife Lynne and their two little girls. The girls were OBSESSED with Skyhorse, climbing all over the inside and jumping around the plane. They were definitely the most excited kids to see the truck. One of them almost drove Skyhorse as they accidentally (on purpose?!) shifted it in reverse. Guess you can’t leave a 5 year old alone in a vehicle.
+ met up with Estee and her fiancé Yoni in Atlanta. It was our first time all together and we had a blast doing what us Mayas do best: eating and drinking. After all, Estee and Yoni are on a strict Mediterranean diet. Until we meet again sissy and baby bro!
+ arrived in Apalachicola just as Hani’s sickness reached its peak so all I got for Valentine’s Day was his cough and a camp coozie. While Hani hibernated in bed for a few days, I got to work at our Key West friends Matt and Lisa’s year old bar, Bowery Station. I helped bartend slowly and meticulously twice (first time working in almost 2 years!!) and Hani made an appearance to wash glasses our last night in town. Waking up close to noon, listening to live music, pouring frosty brews and closing shop at 8 is work I could get used to!

+ met John and Mandi, soon-to-be overlanders, for a fun afternoon in Apalach. We gave them some travel tips, brunched and walked St George Island beach. Hopefully some of our advice will be helpful as they hit the road in a few months. So jealous of you guys and wish it was us starting our trip!!
+ played on our first beach in a long time. Too bad it was so cold out.
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+ landed in Daytona Beach for a long awaited visit with Hani’s parents. We haven’t seen them since we left their house at the beginning of the trip. For a week, we spent time with the Demetrious fam, eating all our favorite foods (stuffed grape leaves!) and reliving Hani’s “best of” Daytona spots. We even got to spend quality time with a few of Hani’s friends while in town.

+ had a fantastic girls reunion in West Palm Beach. A few of my sorority sisters met up for a much needed afternoon of giggles and food. It’s times like these that makes it SO GOOD to be back!

I heart NOLA

9 May

After we left Miami, it seemed like we were playing beat the clock. I wanted to be in New Orleans to see Fleetwood Mac at Jazz Fest on May 4. But once we got to Hani’s parents’ house, we started running into problems.

The drive from Miami to Ormond Beach was long and a bit shaky. Hani couldn’t diagnose the problem and needless to say, I had no clue. So we spent the first full day in Ormond going from one mechanic to the next to the next to the next. Eventually, it was suggested that a good start to fixing the problem was to get our tires trued (rounded) or buy new ones.

Thus was my birthday.


Fun. We spent all day (and $1,000) at this truck repair shop. All. day. But we now have brand new front tires so I can’t complain too much. Since the day was already shot, we drove over an hour in traffic to the Apple store to get Hani a new iPhone after his inexplicably died. We got back to the house around 9 that night to a nice dinner and birthday cake. And with the intention of spending my  birthday with belated festivities in New Orleans.

With the shaking problem (mostly) resolved, we planned on leaving that next morning. Then re-orangization got the best of us and it took for.ev.er. to re-pack and get ourselves together to leave. And we realized our water tanks had green gunk growing in them. My uncle was right. Never start a project involving water in the evening.

We were so anxious to leave Ormond, we didn’t care that the next morning we were hitting the road in a semi-monsoon, with windshield wipers that were not quite up to par. It rained basically non-stop the 2 days it took us to leave Florida. We drove along the coastal roads, which were really pretty, and would have been even prettier if they weren’t being viewed from behind rain soaked windows.

Despite all these set backs, we made it to Jazz Fest! Neither of us thought that was going to happen. And we went Saturday and Sunday just because we could and because we were so happy to be here!


Even forging through the mud to reach the stage.


Now its time to slooooow down. We have spent almost a week in New Orleans hanging out with friends and doing minor adjustments on the truck while parked on their residential street (the looks we get are priceless). We now have working wipers, organized storage, and a new set of headlights! We plan on going with them and some of their friends to the beach this weekend in Grand Isle, LA and then continuing on to Texas.

I Felt

8 May

Soft gentle eyes saying farewell.  A warm embrace with a kiss.  I knew then that we had left and our journey had begun.  Saying goodbye to my father in law, Ralph, was the moment it sank in.  I had never seen Ralph express such a strong feeling towards me.  It took me out of my stupor of pack-drive-travel and brought me to that precise moment of profound emotion.  He looked at me for while.   A few seconds actually but the feelings he transmitted came from the ages.   His eyes told me he would miss us something awful and the farther our wheels turned, the greater his longing.  He pulled me close for a tight embrace.  He kissed my cheek.  He pulled his head back.  He looked at me again.  I felt so much love in that moment.  He had said so much with a few simple movements.  All I could do was to embrace him back and kiss his cheek.  I was part of him.  He was part of me.  

I think most of the time I don’t feel the world.  I think it.  It’s how I was raised.  A Demetrious tends to gloss over details and focus on the big idea of things.  We let the details work themselves out.  An example of this is when we say goodbye to my parents.  I parked the truck on the other said of there street because their driveway has low hanging tree branches.  Sarah and I went across the street to the truck to load up our belongings.  We left our dogs in the house.  I was outside the truck when I heard my dad screaming at my mom something about dogs.  Generally I wouldn’t think anything about it since my parents tend to communicate in loud voices, but I heard the word dogs.  I turn my head to find our beagle, Olivia, in the middle of the busy street.  And not to far behind her was our poodle, Shae.  My heart sank.  I slowly walked towards them while trying to call them.  I didn’t want to spook them and have them run erratically.  A car was coming near us.  I waved my hands like a lunatic while shouting at the safety beige Saturn to stop while I was directly in front of it.  Thank God, or whoever you thank, it stopped and I scooped up my dogs.  By that time Sarah and my parents had converged at where we were.  Sarah let out a horrific scream.  My dad was fast to calm her down.  We took the dogs to the truck.  I was trembling all the while fueled with fear at what could of happened and anger at  my mom had not closed the front door all the way.  My mom was on her way to the truck to grease us up with holy oil and give us a Bible.  It took a lot for me to resist hurling her Bible and holy oil into the air.  She had no remorse for the grave danger she placed our dogs in.  Her sole care was to somehow smear God on us.  She didn’t feel, she only focused on her making God somehow part of our trip.  We ultimately exchanged farewells but no one acted like we weren’t going to see each other for a year.  The fact that we will relocate to Austin at the end of our travels was a forgotten matter.  

We have left Miami, Ormond Beach, and Florida with fond farewells but no Bible or holy oil.