Freedom in Eleuthera, Bahamas

I recently went to the island of Eleuthera in the Bahamas. If I had to describe this lesser known tropical destination in a few words: amazing, authentic, natural.

Why those 3 words? Well, if you’re like me, you are planning on Googling how to pronounce Eleuthera at this very moment! Real quick, I’ll save you the time…

It’s ee-loo-thur-uh.

When I first found out about the trip I was going on (it was a church mission trip to this island), I thought, “Where???” I Googled it and YouTubed it just to try finding out how to say it, much less where it was or what I should expect when I was there! So because it’s pretty much still under the radar as far as vacation destinations go, it’s very natural and undisturbed by commercialism (for the most part!).

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one of my nieces on an early Bahamas morning

It’s authentic. The northern end and central Eleuthera is where people who are vacationing end up, but if you travel further south past Governor’s Harbour, you’ll quickly see that almost the entire island is made up of small communities, local schools and stores, a few churches, and that’s basically it. Oh, and lots of dogs! So when you meet folks there, they’re the real deal. Not looking to upsell you on necklaces, trinkets, braiding your hair, or other things you might encounter in the more touristy areas of the Bahamas. I will say this, though… a normal-sized package of adult diapers was around $64! I’m not going to tell you why or how I know that, let’s just move on 🙂


It’s quite natural. We went to beaches where people probably hadn’t been in months, if not years. It’s kind of crazy that such a beautiful place can still be like that. I have a feeling it won’t always be that way, a strong feeling — because of this. Yep, Disney will be cruising there in a few years.

For now, Eleuthera (which means “Freedom”) remains a beautifully and relatively undisturbed natural wonder you just gotta go see for yourself. From the caves to the blue water, giant spider-like trees to the kind people, colorful fish to colorful personalities, rugged terrains to pink sandy beaches…

It’s all amazing, authentic, and natural!

-Out of the Wilderness

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Vacationing in the Bahamas…WITHOUT a GoPro

For anyone who knows me, it’ll probably be a surprise that on my recent trip to Atlantis in the Bahamas, I made a specific decision not use my GoPro. It’s part of an overarching theme I’ve been clinging to lately, to be in the moment without trying to preserve it in any other way than old-fashioned memories.

You know, the brain. The original data bank.

I could have put together a quick highlight video similar to a few I’ve done in the past, like a trip to Orlando to see my brother’s family, Disney vacations, or a recent beach workout video.

But I’m currently of the mindset that if you’re not here with us, then you wouldn’t get it anyway. So the camera stayed in my bag untouched for entirety of the trip. And honestly, it’s been so nice not to be carrying it around looking for the best angle, trying to record the unforgettable moments, repeating actions that were missed, hoping certain fish do things that are more entertaining than just snorkeling and watching them swim around their little homes. It’s being in the moment. It’s knowing that anything I see can be special because it happened once, I got to see it, and no one else ever will. It’s a part of history that will be talked about, exaggerated on, acted out, or thought of fondly, but like the barracuda I swam near today or the sand castles my nieces and I built today, there aren’t any pictures. No video.

Just great memories.

Do you want to see sharks? Do you want to see the colorful fish at Cove Beach? How about someone you know kissing a dolphin? Then go do it! Make some memories that you’ll be sad to forget when you’re old!

-Out of the Wilderness

Wild manta rays off Florida coast

The “Salt Life” stickers I often see are a good reminder of how much I love the ocean. We all need a little salt water therapy now and again, right? I recently spent time on the coast and I’m always amazed by what I see there. This particualar trip, it was this:
I can’t think of anything better than paddleboarding in the bay and seeing wild manta rays cruising by. I’ve been going to this beach since I was zero days old and now, 35 years later, I still get to experience a first. Awesome. I hope when I die and go to Heaven my room has an ocean view… or better yet, it’s at St. Teresa Beach, Florida.

A Dream Vacation

“Aruba, Jamaica, ooooo, I wanna take ya…
to Bermuda, Bahama, come on, pretty mama!
Key Largo, Montego, baby why don’t we go?”

I woke up singing the lyrics of “Kokomo” by the Beach Boys. It’s one of those disappointing mornings when you realize the dream you just awoke from is better than real life, know what I mean? This time I was part of an all-male quartet singing about a tropical paradise that may or may not actually exist. You should’ve heard my vibrato! The dream probably came from my subconscious desire to be a good singer. Or my very conscious desire to be somewhere beachy. Today, neither are true. But all through breakfast I sang like no one was listening! Much to the dismay of those who were listening.

me in Jamaica.

me in Jamaica.

Call Me Maybe: Wilder Family Version

This is the 3rd year I’ve convinced my family to dance on video for the world to see. I told them only about 10 people will watch it, so that seemed to work. Check us out dancing to the ultra smash hit “Call Me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen! Enjoy and feel free to comment below!

Hummingbirds, Dancing, and Game Shows

This summer has blown by faster than a hummingbird’s eyelid. Actually, that kind of sounds like the name of a race horse…

“…coming around the outside and moving into 1st place ahead of ‘My Other Mustang Is A Car,’ it’s ‘Hummingbird’s Eyelid.’ I tell you what, folks, ‘Hummingbird’s Eyelid’ is as fast as a Tennessee summer.”

See what I mean? Even the horse announcer guy agrees this summer has gone by fast. Evenso, I’ve had time for the typical summer activities- the beach, weddings, and travel. I was hired to shoot video for two weddings, here’s a glimpse at both.

I have a new travel companion now, a beagle/blue heeler/lab mix named Asia. She’s a handful, with a personality quite the opposite of my first puppy, Piper. It’s fun to watch the two dogs play together, although I’m still relatively new as a dog owner, so I wonder if it’s playing at all. I see their teeth a lot. Piper has giant ears. Asia has icy blue eyes. I hope they become best friends.

For the first 7 months of the year, a friend of mine used the spare bedroom in my house until the house he bought as a short sale was renovated enough for him to live in it. Having a roommate again after living alone for 5 years was interesting. I knew it would be tough, but he was a great roommate and gave me room and time to adjust back to “roommate life.” I’m happy for my friend and his new house. I like having my space back but I will neither confirm nor deny that I, again, walk around in my underwear.

A long time ago in Tallahassee, Florida a friend of mine introduced me to contra dancing. I wouldn’t go at first, because let’s be honest, would you? After giving it a try, though, it was a lot of fun. When I moved to Nashville, I found where the contra dance was and went a few times. It wasn’t the same so I stopped going. Well, this summer I picked it back up again and it’s a lot of fun. Not the normal crowd I hang with, but that’s part of why I like it.

About a month ago I tied a hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window. It’s fascinating to watch the birds extract the juice from the feeder. They’ve become a favorite of mine as of late.

I’m excited about how this year will finish. I’m looking forward to college football, NFL football, more dates, and playing with my two dogs. When Asia gets old enough, I’m hoping to become a regular at the dog park near my house. We’re probably still a month away from that.

A friend of mine keeps reminding me that I should try out for “Wipeout” so I’ll do that soon. Whether I win or not, I’d try to race as fast as ‘Hummingbird’s Eyelid.’