You might remember last summer I broke a fifteen year travel-less streak with trips to Toronto and Chicago. But they were each one night, about thirty hours. I even did my hair and makeup at home and slept like a mummy so as not to mess them up. No judgement please – it was two nights of my life and it made things easier.
Even then, I was relatively unsure about airplane or more than one night travel. Actually I was sure. Sure that I couldn’t do it. Wouldn’t do it.
As I think about the next phase of my life, with hopes to spend it in warmer weather, it occurred to me that I would have to venture out of all kinds of comfort zones to see a potential home in another state, let alone move there. I also came to a point where I asked myself if I wanted to not just live in Michigan the rest of my life but if I wanted to stay in Michigan and the surrounding area for the rest of my life.
The answer was a resounding no. I don’t need to see the world. And though I don’t want to spoil the story, traveling isn’t my favorite thing and it’s not going to be something I do frequently at this time. Even if I really enjoyed myself.
But I’m jumping ahead.
Going to Orlando, Florida has been a long time coming. It’s the culmination of hard work on my anxiety, pushing myself to do new things and enjoying them, and the people in my life. At the end of the day, though I can see how the pieces of the puzzle fit together and who and what impacted this decision, I did this. It was my determination and drive that forced me to go on this trip.
This trip was in some ways a giant leap. Airplanes! But in others more baby steps. Three nights instead of one, not a week or certainly a month as had been briefly discussed. It involved a lot of research and planning and fretting. Fretting that involved screaming about not being able to go. Not wanting to go. Having no business going.
At the end of the day three things helped me force myself to go. One: the nonrefundable hotel and airfare. I am really blessed I was able to take a trip like this and to let that go to waste would have made me sick. Two: I told a few people about the trip, and to have to tell them I didn’t go would also have made me sick. Most of these people checked on me while I was gone and that made my heart swell. Three: Lord Jones CBD gummies. These brought me peace the days before the trip as well as during it, particularly while flying. I am not a doctor and cannot give medical advice, but they worked for me. I’m not saying I couldn’t have done it without them, but they definitely calmed me.
Maybe there are some of you out there who love flying, but I am not that person. It’s weird to be in the air, all cramped up with my ears and stomach and sense of steadiness being all messed up. You’re at the mercy of the airlines, Delta in my case, and there’s literally no way out. That’s freaky. It just is.
I wiped the seat down because it was honestly grosser than expected and passed the time listening to music and watching movies. They were so helpful. I just zoned in and focused on them and the time passed somewhat quickly despite delays taxying in on arrival and thunderstorm related delays on departure.
In a weird way, flying was both better/easier than expected and worse/harder. Things are sometimes complicated like that. I’ll have to think really hard about flying in the future, and my limit is probably around the three hour mark, but I do think I’ll fly again. Because I made it! Also, I signed up for TSA Precheck to make security a breeze, and it was!
The Four Seasons is the only true AAA Five Diamond property in Orlando and it lives up to that designation and then some. I chose to stay there almost entirely because of their literally pristine reputation. Being so touristy and hotel populated means a lot of the accommodations in the area aren’t great. Knowing I wouldn’t have to worry about where I laid my head at night was a huge relief.
From making my reservations with Cara to checking out, every single person I met at the hotel was exceptional. Like can we all be friends? Natalie and Sarah at the concierge desk, Larissa in Lickety Split, Hiromi in the salon, Jeanette in the store, Chris the bellman, Rosemarie the housekeeping manager and her entire team, Chelsea at in room dining, and Chelsea in the Lobby Bar to name a few helped to make our stay beyond magical.
The hotel is spectacular at every turn, though the fireworks chandelier stands out. They make great use of outdoor space with an adult only pool, family pool, and lazy river, along with PB&G, an outdoor restaurant, and patios at each of their dining establishments. Plant life is plentiful and so is the wildlife with friendly lizards at every turn and a couple appearances by deer and squirrels.
Our connecting Golden Oak rooms were spacious and immaculate. I really can’t say enough about how well housekeeping took care of us. Each room also had a balcony with views far into the Orlando skyline. The bed was comfortable and there was seating at a table and sofa. Plus, there was a TV in the bathroom. I mean that should be a test of all fine hotels, right????
Downstairs the gym had many different machines and some great music pumping. It’s also where the salon is located along with the spa. I didn’t have a chance to have a spa treatment but did get my hair blown out and so enjoyed my conversation with Hiromi as she worked her magic and treated me like royalty, a glass of prosecco and all.
I would definitely recommend FS Orlando for its beauty, cleanliness, and friendly staff. Though most people may want to stay there and head to Disney World each day, I would encourage anyone staying there to spend some time in the luxurious confines of the hotel. For me, being able to let my guard down and truly relax and feel comfortable in the room and throughout the entire grounds was an essential component of a successful trip.
I actually surprised at how well I was able to adapt not only when I chose to veer off my planned course, but also when the course veered away from me. I was open to all the options in front of me and chose based on the moment and my gut instinct instead of what I thought I would do when I was at home. It’s sometimes hard for me to regroup when dealing with small changes at home, so to do it with grace while completely and totally out of my comfort zone, kind of blew my mind.
I tried to live in the moment and enjoy what was in front of me. whatever happens in my future, whether I move to Orlando or never leave Michigan again, I did this. I loved it. I am grateful for it. And even writing about it now, I’m smiling, not just thinking about all the amazing memories I made, but being pretty proud of myself for crossing such a big fear off my list.
I’ll be back this weekend with some thoughts on the food, sights, and sounds of Orlando.