Turtle power!

I was just minutes away from arriving at the ultimate 2020 spring break destination when an almost unthinkable thing almost happened… almost! Driving on a two-lane road I could see in the distance something in the middle of my lane. I’m sure you’ve seen this before: a turtle slowly crossing the road. After passing him, I slowed to a stop and ran back to assist him in his adventurous kamikaze-like mission.

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Photo by daniyal ghanavati on Pexels.com

Only one problem… an oncoming car. I was so sure the driver would see me standing on the side of the road, and therefore be attentive to what’s happening in front of them. Also, it’s important to note the speed limit on this road was 45, so this car was not going slow by any means. I could see the driver’s face. She wasn’t looking at me (that’s good, I guess) but she also was not showing a look of attentiveness. My gaze lowered to the car’s tires. Wouldn’t you know the turtle was in the exact WRONG spot, perfectly lined up in the path of this this vehicle of death!

BUT!!!!!

No exaggeration, at the very last second the driver became fully aware of what was about to happen, so she swerved sharply away from the turtle and onto the sandy shoulder of this coastal road. The thing is, now the car was coming for me! Was I willing to die so this turtle could live? I hadn’t thought that far ahead, to be honest.

Almost involuntarily I shifted into a 3-point stance like I was playing defense against Michael Jordan. I don’t know why my body did this, I guess it was just a response to the oncoming threat. In a split second I thought that whichever way the car went to avoid me (to my left or to my right) I would throw my body in the other direction. Think of a soccer goalie during a penalty kick, heaving their body towards the ball, except the exact opposite.

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Photo by Retha Ferguson on Pexels.com

Now I saw panic on the driver’s face as she hurdled towards me. I guess I can be most thankful for the sandy shoulders on either side of the road because the car slowed down quite a bit as the driver and her passenger regained control and slowly drove by me on my left side. After they moved back onto the road to continue their drive, I ran out to grab the turtle, who certainly had a story to tell his other turtle friends that day.

As I set him in the nearby brush, folks in a convertible passed by and affirmed my good deed. I’m always happy to stop and help turtles in dangerous situations, and this one could have been traumatic in about 27 different ways! I’m so glad it wasn’t.

-Out of the Wilderness

The case of the missing frisbee

When I was in Florida a couple of weeks ago, a tragedy happened! Not a real tragedy like this date that went horribly wrong, or flying my drone into a tree…

…but a tragedy my dog Asia would have been devastated by. I say “would have” because luckily, she never found out that her frisbee went missing! Well, I say “luckily” but luck didn’t find her frisbee. My parents did!

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The frisbee is often thrown into the ocean and one particular day, it was thrown into cool water and then we all left on a boat excursion. A few hours later the frisbee was nowhere to be found and no one could say exactly where they last saw it.

My brother and I scoured the shoreline but came up empty. I was upset at first because Asia loves this frisbee, but if I’m being honest, I was more upset about the lack of care from responsible parties. I guess I’m officially an adult when things like that bother me. I had given up on finding it and somehow was able to let the carelessness of others wash by like water under a bridge. I can tend to hold grudges, so this was progress, right? I guess I’m officially a Christian when things like this can be “let go” of. Thank you Lord 🙂

I made it back to Nashville frisbee-less and not more than a day later got the text from my Dad that what was lost was now found. Hallelujah! Amazing grace! OK, that doesn’t exactly fit but I’m so happy to know Asia will have her frisbee again when we get back to Florida, thanks to her favorite grand-puprents!

-Out of the Wilderness

Epic Spring Break in Florida

There was no alcohol, no drugs, no late night parties– actually, I take that back, there were a few late nights but for this spring break, it was all about family! I took my self-quarantining to the gulf shores of Florida where my nieces and nephew were spending their spring break.

This timely family reunion was so fun. Let’s see if I can remember all the things we did: spike ball, boat trips, tubing, wakeboarding, collecting shells, found a sea horse (more on that soon), naps, dog walks, morning beach jogs, volleyball, knockout, one on one basketball with my brother, races, fixing lights, food, more food, golf cart rides, tennis, movies, black jack, war (card game, see below), bonfires, s’mores, One Night werewolf game, sushi (thanks brother in law!), work (thanks Zac, Kelly, Anderson Design Group, Steve, and Electronic Express!), watching an eagle fly, dolphins, stingrays, fish, seagulls, paddleboarding… phew, I think that was it.

Oh, and my sister’s family got a puppy. So it was kind of a boring week 😉

I’m awake, but I think deep down I’m still napping.

-Out of the Wilderness

 

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

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.