Part of growing up is not getting a spring break to take vacation with your family. I mean, if my job actually gave me vacation time I could… but they don’t. So when my family told Brandon and me they were taking a 9 day vacation to Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina (a place we had visited before and absolutely loved!), we were a little more than upset, to say the least. I’m 20, Brandon is 19. We both work very demanding and hard jobs. We wanted a vacation, too! But we sucked it up and said, “Oh well. Maybe next year.” We were still upset when they left and the day after they left. And then we checked our schedules.
By some miracle, our schedules at work had changed without our knowledge. We both worked Saturday and Sunday, but we had Monday and Tuesday off. I had Wednesday off, and he went in at noon on Wednesday. Because we are crazy young folk, we decided to make the 11 hour drive down to the very bottom of North Carolina for a day and then come back. We both worked very long shifts over the weekend, and Sunday we both got off at 2 pm. We got home around 3 pm, switched clothes, and hit the road. Well, we hit up McDonalds… and then we hit the road.
We knew we could do an 11 hour drive. But what we didn’t factor in is that 11 hours is a lot harder when you’ve had an exhausting weekend at work. Brandon got to sleep in until 9 on Sunday, but I was up bright and early at 4:30 in the morning after not getting to bed until midnight. Luckily he did nearly all the driving on the way down. I didn’t get much sleep on the drive, maybe an hour and a half total. We switched around 2 am on the side of the road, and then we got there a little after 3.
After maybe 4 hours of sleep in the most comfiest bed in the entire world (not just saying that because we were beyond exhausted… it seriously was like sleeping on a cloud) we were up and greeted with 50 degree weather. We drove 11 hours to the ocean and got crappy weather. Just our luck. It didn’t stop us from going out and dipping our toes in. Brandon had never seen the ocean before. I thought he would be more excited to see it than he actually was. I actually asked him when we were on the back deck of the house if he liked the ocean and he said, “It’s crazy… England is over there somewhere!” What a dork!
Again, by some stroke of magic, things turned in our favor. By noon it was over 70 degrees out. The sun was hot and the ocean was begging us to take a dip. We threw on our bathing suits and headed down to our little slice of backyard heaven. We splashed around for a while, playing in the waves and digging our toes in the sand. It wasn’t long before I was ready for a nap. I headed back in, showered up, and laid back down on that bed sent down from angels. Brandon wasn’t ready to call it quits, though, and kept playing in the ocean with my brother, sister, aunt, and grandma. From what I heard, he had a blast!
Can you see the beginning of that sunburn? YUCK! We got a little burnt, but not nearly as bad as my sister, cousin, and brother’s girlfriend. I felt so sorry for their little bodies. My mom is an expert in sunburns, though, and she was quick to get them lotion-ed down.
Brandon and I didn’t really have a lot of money for the trip, just for gas and snacks on the trip down. As much as we like to go out and do things, we really just wanted to stay in and enjoy our day long vacation. We hung around and played with my family. At some point Brandon thought it would be a good idea to take a bike ride down to the pier. Not go to the pier, just ride down there. 2 and a half miles later we were dying. That’s a long way for chubby folk like us to bike! And then we had to go back. My glutes were burning! Just as the sun was setting that night, my aunt, cousin, and her boyfriend came back from a walk and said there was a jellyfish on the beach! So we had to go check it out. It was huge! While we were down there staring at the jellyfish, we happened to spot some dolphins that were extremely close to shore. A girl nearby said they were stuck in the tide, but I don’t know how true that is. They were seriously so close that I could walk out and touch them.
We watched the sunset and headed back inside the beach house. I didn’t make it past 9:30, I was so sleepy! The next morning we woke up and hung out for a while longer, linger on the porch and watched the beautiful ocean. There is something so ethereal about the way the waves dance on the shore and the slight echo of the water. I could have stayed there forever, mesmerized by the beach. And then some. But we had to go. We actually could have stayed a little later, but we wanted the bulk of our drive home to be in daylight. Neither of us are good night drivers.
I drove halfway through North Carolina before we stopped to eat at a Bojangles. Hello, delicious chicken. Brandon took over and we made it just past the Virginia state line before stopping for gas. I drove from there allllll the way through West Virginia. Well, about 120 miles before West Virginia was over. We stopped and switched and Brandon finished the drive home. Of course, we stopped to get White Castle because all of the ones in our area of Ohio are closed! We got home just around 10 at night.
Even though we spent 22 hours total driving and like, 30 hours at the house with my family, it was well worth it. Even if you’re the most cautious and by the book person, every now and then you have to through everything to the wind and say, “I’m going to do something crazy!” and that is just what we did. Honestly, we had just as much fun on the drive. It was an amazing trip that neither of us will forget. And it’s got us even more excited for the wedding and honeymoon since we’re going down to Florida.
On the drive home I got the sweetest phone call from an old friend, Kate. She told me how she reads my blog and noticed that in my tattoo post I talk about hating the birds on my shoulder. In a lot less words that don’t do her any justice, she said she knows how terrible it feels to be ashamed and hurt by a tattoo. Someone helped her get a bad tattoo fixed, and she wanted to help me. She offered to pay for me to get it covered up before the wedding. I was, and still am, so flabbergasted and amazed at the kindness in this girl! I had long decided I would have to put up with my gross tattoo on my wedding day, and I’d just have to suck it up and not worry about it. But because of her I will definitely be the most confident and beautiful bride. I will never be able to express my thanks to her.