Take A Vacation!

Do you dream of going away by yourself to spend a few days doing what you enjoy, whenever the mood strikes you? Many of us spend years doing what we have to do each day, caring for others, working to pay the bills, running businesses or households, or perhaps all of the above at the same time. Life can start to make us feel like a hamster on a wheel if we never take a break.

I enjoyed my vacation a few weeks ago so much that I decided to take another solo break. Temperatures below 75F constitute jacket weather for me, so I plan to seek a sunny spot as often as possible during future winters. Mr. Mickey snapped the photo above before he took me to the airport. I had to change my packing plans as the departure day grew near because the warm weather I was planning for turned out to be much colder than average for northern Florida during this time of year. Today, I share photos of what I packed and a few pictures I snapped while out and about in the Fernandina Beach Historic District and around Amelia Island.

I thought to snap this as I was on my way to Starbucks at 5 AM on the first morning. I forgot to take photos of any outfits afterward, but this was a typical look. Tees, jeans, and jackets were appropriate for casual dining, walking several miles each day to explore the villages and parks and a daily walk on the beach. Almost all of the pieces I took could be layered and combined as needed to create many different casual looks. (I was wearing one of the two sets of pajamas when I took the clothing photos.) I also included two large silk scarves to dress things up if I wanted to take it up a notch while having lunch at a nice restaurant or maybe a day of shopping.

I went for a three-mile walk on the beach and visited at least one state park each day. My daily activities included walking through villages to admire the Victorian houses, watching people and birds, visiting interesting shops, museums, lighthouses, gardens, and forts. My favorite way to experience life is always while taking a long walk.

Gopher tortoises are one of only four land turtles in North America and the only species you’ll find east of the Mississippi River. They can live up to 80 years in the wild and more than 100 years in captivity. They don’t seem to be afraid of humans, but they do make a barking sound if you get too close to them. This one was about the size of a basketball!

These two ladies stood out in their hats and dresses. It was fun to visit with them for a moment when I asked for permission to photograph them.

Have a beautiful day!

  1. I so need a break from the hamster routine!! Thanks for the suggestions and I hope you had a fabulous time!

  2. You were missed . It’s interesting how few clothes you really need isn’t it. Walking is good for body, mind and Spirit.

  3. Great pics! It sounds like you had another wonderful solo trip. Kudos to you Susan for making time for yourself. Have a wonderful week!

  4. Thank you for your pics, posts and inspirations…. just looking at your vacation pics has a restful effect (smile)!

  5. Looking at your pictures was like a mini vacation for me… the weather here is a high of -2C. I loved the old Victorian homes… nice way to start a Monday 🙂

  6. Good to have you back! Planning a trip to New York City in May and hoping to pack light. You are an inspiration!

  7. Fernandina is my favorite go to place to get away from it all. You showcased it beautifully. I live in Gainesville so it can be an impulse visit. I used to live in Johnson City and love the places you share also as well as the lovely outfits.

  8. I enjoy your travels and the pictures. You have surely earned some fun and soulful interludes with all you do. Enjoy it thoroughly plus thanks for taking us too.

    1. Most of these photos were taken in Fernandina Beach on Amelia Island in Florida. I also visited Saint Augustine, Daytona, Jacksonville, Orlando as well as St. Marys, St. Simon’s Island, and Brunswick in Georgia during this getaway.

  9. I love old Victorian or Queen Anne houses also and would love to see inside them but my hubby has no interest at all. Maybe next time I’ll come with you! LOL! Looks like you had a lovely time.

  10. Susan thanks for the packing ideas and the beautiful pictures. You are definitely an inspiration for us. My sister Kathy was surprised to see Mr. MickeY at the airport !

  11. Some great photos, Susan! You picked a wonderful Florida city to go explore. I’m sure you’ve been to St. Augustine – another picturesque old Florida town! As native Floridians, we just went to visit Bok Tower and Gardens (Lake Wales, Fl.) recently and were amazed how beautiful they are! Some interesting history too!
    Happy Travels!

  12. Thank you for sharing your trip! Love your pictures, your outfits, your ideas! Will you do a video on what you took?

  13. I agree with the other ladies that it’s like taking a mini-vacation just looking at your photos. Thanks for thinking of us while you were having such lovely experiences. I hope you’ll take another vacation when it is really hot and muggy so we can see how you’d pack for that. I’m visiting Florida in early June and could use guidance. Yes, as infrequently as you take vacations, it would be a service to your followers to take another one;-).

  14. Love your pictures and know you had a wonderful time in a great area. Hope you will have the time to recreate your outfits as you did after your previous vacation. Your tips are always spot on!

  15. I envy your ability to pack so well, yet colorfully. Only 3 pairs of shoes—remarkable! Thank you for showcasing Florida twice. It’s a winter paradise for sure.

  16. I love these travel blogs along with your packing tips. I think traveling alone is very empowering……good for you! By the way, your haircut is darling and I love your Keds! Are they canvas or leather? Would love to order them!

  17. What a wonderful trip! So relaxing! Hope to see a video with the different outfits/brands of clothing you took along with you!!

  18. Tell me about those cute glasses – and is that one of your scarves? Can you recreate a few of the other looks you wore?

    So glad you had a relaxing time. Any favorite restaurant?

    1. I wear prescription glasses to read the small print and sometimes when I am driving. That is a scarf I will be listing on the site today. (As well as a few others.) I will try to recreate the looks for you like last time.

      1. I saw that listed on your page and wrote it down. We travel that way sometimes and will plan a stop there next time. I like your glasses and I wear prescription reading and also a pair for distance when driving or watching TV. Liked the ones you had on in your post. Do you know what brand they are? Would love to see some recreations of your outfits, that would be so nice of you. Will check out your web-site later today for new listings. That scarf would go great with the malibu punch pants from Chico’s (I bought a pair also). Thanks for all your tips!

        1. Life is Good is the name brand of my eyeglasses. They are a pale clear pink on the back side of the frames and a darker plum-brownish tortoise color on the front side. As soon as the sun comes out again, I will try to recreate the outfits for you. It is supposed to rain for the next two days.

  19. You are so smart to go on your own occasionally. I miss that about my past work travel. Agree with the others commenting about how inspiring you are! I live in North part of GA and really love all the areas you visited. Appreciate the packing info shared too! Julie L

  20. Love the photos you took while on this
    Florida vacation. It just sounds perfect
    And know you deserve a rest.

    The pictures are all so artistically photographed-
    You are multi talented.

    JEAN Holmes

  21. So, you inspired me. After your last trip I booked a solo trip to Northern California from Colorado. Spent a week driving the coast from San Francisco down to Monterey where I stayed 5 out of the 7 days. It was my first time flying alone since I was in my 20’s. Pretty intimidating. I over packed, but I had everything I needed and them some. I enjoyed myself so much I can’t wait to do it again.

  22. Welcome “home”! It was such a pleasure to see the photos from your vacation, thank you. Great packing tips, and I love that you only packed two pairs of shoes (and wore one). Just my kind of packing. Glad you’re back, and hopefully feeling rested and relaxed.

  23. A lot of my friends would not dream of going anywhere by themselves. I love it!! Totally free-ing.I will talk to strangers too, something I never need to do with my own people around. Monet

  24. SUSAN
    Absolutely love your blog as you know. So glad you got to the other side of Florida. The area is beautiful. I have been there. For me it is a little too far north. Two hours south makes a difference and I prefer the West coast…and I can take the heat. 🙂
    But that area is gorgeous
    I love the victorian houses but I do wonder how they hold up during a hurricane. I wonder the same about Key West. Building codes have changed for newer homes. Our house and new ones can withstand some serious hurricane action.
    So happy you took time for yourself. What a nice trip!!

  25. These are beautiful pictures. Thank you for sharing your mini vacations. I wish I felt comfortable taking mini vacations by myself. I love your blog.
    Patricia Kane.

  26. Thi’s is such a pretty area of our state, and the weather was perfect for an early spring visit. Thanks for sharing your photos.

  27. I have been to Amelia and Fernandina many times and never saw some of the neat things you did. Next time I will walk through some of the neighborhoods as well! My friends and I tend to spend lots of time in the cute shops!

  28. Oh, gosh, Susan. I do envy you right now. I’m that hamster on a wheel, and I need to take a break! Lovely photos! Happy return home!

  29. Hello there Susan! Your trip sounded very ‘cathartic’ & your photo’s were lovely!…….You looked lovely as always!
    I am off on a mini-holiday soon! up to Cairns in the Northern tropical part of Queensland! I live in the Southern part of Australia !
    I was very interested in what you had packed too! so I am going to really think about what i will need to take on this 9 day break! as I always in the past have packed far too much!!……..(i am still downsizing my wardrobe by the way still a working progress)
    I am going with my husband, and our eldest grandson (on my side anyway! second marriage for me! oh and the last…lol) our grandson is 14 & a lovely Lad, he has never been away on a holiday so we thought we would treat him!…..he is the eldest child of my eldest daughter, & he has had a turbulent little life in one way or another!….I won’t bore you with all the details! just to say that my relationship with my eldest daughter is very tenuous & we really do not converse much these days!….anyway we do what we do as parents’ & now as grandparents I am looking out for the grandchildren! this one in particular needs a lot of help & guidance!…anyway I digress too much! I love your blogs & you have been an inspiration for me so thank you!………have a wonderful day!!! Kind regards, Margaret in Australia !!!!

  30. Lovely pictures, Susan! May I ask where you got that beautiful scarf in the first picture of you? Just ‘my’ colours! (Sorry – ‘colors’ – we Brits can’t spell.)

  31. Looks like a wonderful trip! Sometimes sea air just makes one feel so renewed!

    I offer the Texas Hill Country as another trip option. The area around Austin and San Antonio is completely different than the hills and mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina. Fredricksburg offers wonderful wineries. Enchanted Rock is near there and one of the best hikes in our great state. (Not on the tourism board. Just a proud 5th generation Texan.)

  32. The pictures are beautiful!! You so deserve this….I have already made plans for me to en joy Palm Springs!! hugs to you

  33. Wanted you to know you’re a very good influence, Susan. Because my guy & I are retired & do as we please, including travel when we can fit it in, I haven’t really thought of taking a solo vacation in some time because I never thought I “needed” it. But after your last trip, I’ve been thinking about it a lot — & in 2 weeks am leaving the guy in charge of the cats & am heading down to the Big City for 6 days on my own. I love traveling solo & didn’t realize how much I’ve missed it until recently. I’m booked into a hotel right downtown on the harbour, have 2 spa treatments set up, advance tickets for 2 theatre productions & plan to poke through museums, art galleries & other “big city” activities we don’t have here, & , yes, do some shopping. My only “problem”: what to pack. The weather here on Canada’s west coast this time of year can range from blazing hot to snow (sometimes on the same day!), so it’s tricksy. I’m driving, so will toss a few extras into the trunk (which I feel is cheating!). I’m using this post & your last (travel) one for inspiration. And I can hardly wait — so thank you!

      1. I absolutely LOVE the decadent luxury of staying in a good hotel by myself — everything from ordering a good meal off room service & watching TV sprawled on the bed to lying around in my good PJs having to do nothing more strenuous than fill the tub with hot water or paint my toenails . . . LOL! I don’t know if it’s the fact I don’t have to pick up after myself (although I’m almost obsessively neat when I travel, so it’s not like there’s a lot of picking up to be done) or that my To Do list is at home or just the sense of being spoiled with lovely furnishings & a hotel staff at your beck & call & all those little bottles of lotions & potions. Whatever it is, I need to do it more often because I’m looking forward to this “week with myself” (and a pile of good books!) like a 16-year old looking forward to her first prom!

  34. Hello Susan, any suggestions for alternatives to jackets?
    I have tried denim and casual jackets but they are usually a bit short and fitted for my apple body shape. I have used substantial cardigan styles as a softer look -a coatigan ?
    Otherwise I use jersey edge to edge cardigans or vests over fitted t shirts. They are also light to pack. What do you think of gilets ?

    What helps you decide on bags, to use – which style, size and colour?
    Thanks for any tips.

  35. Lovely photos of your trip. TY for reminding us that adventure and solitude are restorative, especially if the weather is sunny. I enjoy your posts and look forward to reading them.

    Where did you stay? I understand that your response is a comment and not an endorsement per se.
    Best wishes,
    Patricia during a Nor’easter today

    1. I stayed in Fernandina Beach at an old Florida type of hotel called the Breakwater on the beach. During the week I drove up to visit Brunswick, Ga., St. Simons Island, Ga., St. Mary’s, Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Augustine and Daytona. On the last night, I stayed in the Wingate by Wyndham near the Orlando International Airport. I highly recommend it.

  36. Thanks for the traveling tips. Your photos are beautiful. Is this your phone camera or another camera? What brand and type?

  37. I love your frankness when you talk about yourself and why you feel certain things work or don’t work for you. Thank you for that. Also thank you for sharing your photo’s with us…it’s nice to see different places through other’s eyes when you don’t travel much. I have been trying to find your video about packing your suitcase but I haven’t found it yet. Would you consider putting it in a link in one of your upcoming videos? You look lovely as always.

  38. Susan – I like the small cross body bags that you have. Can you tell me where you found them? They seem just right now that we are heading into spring. I kind of think you mentioned them in a previous post, but I am not able to find the information. Thank you.

  39. Just wonderful. I was widowed 3 years ago and I’ve
    Been so busy with the houses that were left. I’d really like to get started with whatever is out there.

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I share tips and inspiration for using what you already have in contemporary ways. Defining words include effortless, classic, refined, discreet, and elegant. My style is chic, minimal, and timeless with a bit of edge.