Virtual Vacay #3: Florida

by Saranda Rasmusson

Brrr! I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of these frigid temperatures. I just want to be somewhere warm, sunny, and preferably on a beach. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we could just jet off to Florida and spend a day on the beach? Wait…we can! And like almost everything else these days, we can do it virtually!

You hop on a jet and a burst of heat welcomes you in from the frigid winter air outside. You look around and wonder if this is the same kind of jet celebrities own. It’s adorned from head to toe with amenities, from mini-fridges to big fluffy message chairs. You get to choose any seat you want, and strategically pick the one next to the biggest window…and the microwave. Once you’ve prepared your snacks and a tall glass of the fanciest sparkling water you’ve ever tasted, the plane takes off. You watch from the window as the ground slowly gets farther and farther away, and as it does, you feel your stress going away with it.

When you land, you’re surprised to see that the pilot has actually landed on the beach! Now I call that service! You walk directly onto the sand, and all you can see is blue. A beautiful blue that looks like melted cotton candy. After quickly kicking off your shoes, you run toward the water, feeling each warm grain of sand between your toes. There’s a slight breeze that seems to be pushing you forward as you splash into the sea of blue. It’s crisp and refreshing, but not cold. The sun beats down on you and you feel warmed through your bones for the first time in a month, living in the recent Illinois weather.

When you get in deep enough, you lift your feet and float effortlessly on the water. As you slowly trace your fingers over the surface of the water, you take in a deep breath of the slightly salty air and feel completely at peace. The meeting with your boss yesterday that didn’t go so well, the homework assignment due tomorrow, or the anxiety about dinner with your in-laws next week all melt away into the water around you. You think to yourself, “How could this get any better?”

When you notice your fingers getting slightly pruny, you float toward the shore, get out of the water, and settle onto a soft towel that’s been warming in the sun and is like a hug on your skin. A man selling ice cold beverages and ice cream walks by and you flag him down. You buy the novelty ice cream bar you remember from your childhood and a can of soda to enjoy. The sugary melted ice cream runs down your hand and it tastes just how you remember it from all those years ago. As you pop open the soda can, you flip your complimentary sunglasses from the jet over your eyes and take in the gorgeous view.

Ping! Ping! You look down at your phone and your best friend just sent you a picture of their driveway covered with a blanket of fresh snow with the caption, “5 more inches!! This is getting crazy!” For a second, you’re so glad you don’t have to deal with that. But, then you get a pang of pity for them and wish they could be there with you. Hey! We can actually make that happen, this is virtual, after all!

Just then, you hear a faint humming coming from above and before you know it, another jet lands right next to the one you were in and you can see your friend step out onto the beach. Just when you get to your feet, your friend barrels into you and squeezes you with a bear hug. You both sit down to take in the sun and enjoy each other’s company in your little virtual oasis.

Ahh. That vacation warmed me up and the best part is we didn’t get sand in our shoes!