Traveling Paint Parties from the Wanderlust Artist…. 

3000 miles

200 Paint Brushes

100 Pieces of wood

22 Skinny Vanilla Latte’s 

13 days 

9 Springs

4 Paint Parties

2 Butterbeers 

1 Sweet Road trip buddy AKA Pixie….

                                   …. and a partridge in a pear tree!    

Pixie and I have done this trip 3 years in a row.   Teaching Paint Parties in Florida.   Now I know this post is long, so as a reward for getting all the way through… there’s a free gift at the end!   
We LOVE our Texas to Florida road trip.   It gives my hubby a break from our chaotic creative energy and allows us to be total disasters for 2 weeks!  
We eat in the car… play girl music… sing like maniacs… listen to youtube videos… practice our Harry Potter accents…. stop at several drive thru places just because we like the fries from one location and the burgers from another.   
Oh, and don’t even get me started on bathroom stops.   Is it just me or do all guys say no to bathroom breaks! Just the thought of not being able to go to the bathroom… MAKES ME WANT TO GO TO THE BATHROOM!      Why is it not okay to stop on a road trip!?   Why do guys feel like they must get there AS FAST AS possible!   Enjoy the adventure people!     Needless to say… Pixie and I stop for bathroom breaks almost every exit from Texas to Florida! 
So.. this year was really cool and a little different.   Usually we go on Pixie’s b-day in June, but this year it was scheduled during my birthday in July!    
For many years I’ve watched the Travel Channel do their travel destinations “Best Springs” countdown and stare with wonder at the television as if I could feel the spring water on my face.
My dream has been to swim in a spring over a cave for many many years!    Crystal clear oceans and springs call my name and I feel this sense of adventure every time I think about them.  
Well… thanks to one of our many stops… my friend tells me about some springs in Florida on our way from Tallahassee to Orlando.   
It’s called the Blue Hole Spring at Ichetucknee.   
As we walked up to the springs my heart was SO HAPPY! And it was ON my 39th birthday! 
So… we jump in and it’s freezing!!!   Pixie grabs me to hold on and as I go under I take a nice big drink of water as I try to remind my child not to drown me in the spring.  
Then we walk to the next one.   Now… I had NO idea what this spring had… we were just adventuring away… and then I see it!!!   AN UNDERWATER CAVE!!!!  In a CRYSTAL clear spring!!!  

This very snaky looking spring out in the middle of the woods!   I jump right in looking to explore this area and realize there is a current!    It was the strangest thing!   The area was small, but as you swam you had to swim really hard to get over the cave… THEN once you were over the cave the current would take you away from the dock.   

Not the best situation if your not a strong swimmer.  
So… as I swim out and am on top of the cave… I realize I have no goggles!    I dunk my head thinking I could maybe see just by looking under.   It’s too blurry. 
I’m over 1000 miles from home… it’s my birthday… I’M LITERRALLY OVER A CAVE SWIMMING MY DREAM…. I MUST SEE THE CAVE!!! 
So, as I doggy paddle I find the closest fellow tourist and ask if I can borrow their goggles for just 5 seconds!    Thankfully he agreed and when I looked below I FREAKED out!!! 
DREAM COME TRUE!!!   
It was so eerie and magical all at the same time.   It’s almost a feeling of being on something really high.   Although this was 40 feet straight down in beautiful 72 degree water on a hot summer day.   I quickly gave another look… then reluctantly gave the goggles back to the friendly fella.  
I swam back to tell Pixie and talked her into seeing it for herself.   She didn’t have the same love for the cave as I did.   

As we marched back on the sandy path (about a 10-15 minute walk through the woods) Pixie was upset because she thought something was going to eat her.   (Between you and me… we could have very well been lunch to a hungry alligator!)  
So… next we head to Ginnie Springs just a few miles down the road!  This is one of the coolest things about Florida.   Everyone goes for the beaches, but there are TONS of springs all throughout Florida!   
This place was amazing!     Again, I didn’t realize there was ANOTHER CAVE until we ask when we get there.   The spring day was just an after thought to an already planned and packed trip!   
THIS CAVE was NOT snaky looking at all.   It was crystal clear and we were ready!   Goggles bought when we arrived and ready to swim our little hearts out.   Also hoping to restore Pixie’s love for springs.   
An area called the Devil Spring System was where the cave was.    Bobby used to be a diver and he told me about how many divers die when they scuba dive the caves.   So… if you are scuba diving… please be careful!   It can be very dangerous. 
However… we were just swimming over the cave.   My snorkeling skills are awesome, but my scuba diving needs some work.  (That story for another time) 
As I jumped in it immediately went over my head causing an instant cold doggy paddle.   I take the goggles and head to the cave.   I’m in awe at how beautiful it is.   It’s JUST LIKE all the shows I’ve watched a dozen times… except it’s REAL… AND it’s on my birthday.   Did I mention that already!   🙂  
Thankful for this moment I quickly tell Pixie to try with the goggles.   We watch more experienced swimmers go down into the cave and their friends are using a Go-Pro to film them swimming up. 
We watch an older guy get about 2 feet from the bottom and encourage him when he gets to the top “Dude… You were RIGHT THERE!!!   You almost had it!!”  
We swim all the way across it just looking down.   
We swim around it. 
We float.   
Pixie gets out and I just swim around looking at God’s beauty and thinking how did I get so lucky to be able to do this with my daughter.    I mean… it’s technically a “work” trip.   If you call paint parties work.   I don’t…and never will.  
So.. here we are… swimming over caves… thanking God for this awesome day.   

 

More days follow that were almost as good.  In Pixie’s book she would say better, but I still marvel at the underwater caves.   
Some of Pixie’s highlights were The Wizarding World of Harry Potter & the Minions Ride at Universal.   I would have to agree the Harry Potter FROZEN Butterbeer was pretty much the best thing I’ve EVER tasted!   

AND… the Rip Ride Rockit Rollercoaster is SO MUCH FUN!   You get to pick music to listen too as you scream and laugh the whole time!   One of my favorite roller coasters ever… AND I try any I come in contact with!  
We also had plenty of beach time in Panama City Beach and along 30A!    

    

There is nothing like a road trip to bring you closer to someone.  I jokingly say “I like to do this road trip with Pixie to make sure and seal the bonding experience before she becomes a teenager!”   
Whether it’s sealing the bond or just having a lot of fun and good memories… either way… I am always thankful for Paint Party Road Trips!    
Meeting new people in different cities… seeing new places…  tasting new foods (Had my first Gyro and it WAS AMAZING!!!  Little Athens in Tallahassee) seeing old friends, family and meeting new ones…. made for an awesome summer road trip! 

  

AND… the paint parties helped my budget TREMENDOUSLY!    Having Paint Parties to help pay for the trip made it possible.   Staying with friends and family … and a few hotels… made it possible!   

Having a plan ahead of time… made it possible!
Along with many great paint parties all mixed in!    Paint parties in the rain and in the dark, Time zone mix ups and for a few moments at the beginning of an event, I totally forgot what I was going to say!   All fun aside, it was a great time and I will forever be grateful to all the women who came to our events this summer!

Without YOU, this trip would have never happened!   So Thank YOU!  

I promised a free gift if you read until the end!   Congrats… You made it!  

If you are having that Wanderlust Artist feeling and want to plan your summer or even WINTER getaway… paid for by your paint parties…. Check this NEW free checklist!  

Click HERE and a copy will be sent to your email!   Make sure to confirm your email address and then you will receive a second email with the Paint Party Destination Guide!!!   

 

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