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I couldn’t put up a post today without acknowledging shortly the madness going on in our world right now. This month, which should be filled with happiness and holiday cheer, has been far too filled with tragedy. First, my hometown was rocked by a devastating and senseless accident that killed two high school seniors and left their two partners in critical condition. Then, the entire country was shocked by one of the most horrific tragedies I have seen in my lifetime. My thoughts are forever with the victims and the families and the communities affected. I vacillated so much on whether or not to delay my travels for the holidays, but I know now with every ounce of myself that I am where I am supposed to be — never have I wanted to be close to friends and family more.

Yellow Lines

I’ve spent the past week in Florida, where warm and sunny weather and time spent with my Tampa-based family has been like a tonic to my mind. When I got on the plane from New York I wondered what the heck I was doing, taking on a trip right in the midst of the holidays and preparations for my big adventure and a busy period of work. Well, I couldn’t be happier I came. The most notable moment from the week? I ran my first 5k! Not too long ago I couldn’t run half a mile without collapsing into a wheezing heap on the ground, so this was an exciting milestone in what I hope will be a lifetime of finding joy in fitness.

Week 79
Week-79

But of course, I crammed a lot more than just that into seven days! Onto our Photo of the Week candidates —

Photo A

Swimming with Manatees in Florida

I went swimming with manatees! This was hands down one of the most amazing animal encounter experiences of my life, and I’ve had quite a few.

Photo B

Swimming with Manatees in Florida

I actually think I shot better video than photos on this trip with Viator, but I did get a few good snaps.

Photo C

The Color Run St. Petersburg

Oh yes — The Color Run! This 5K was actually what got my entire trip to Florida started, as I was absolutely obsessed with getting to one of these colorful races.

Photo D

The Color Run St. Petersburg

I guess I need good photo opportunities to motivate me to move — and this was a great one!

Photo E

The Color Run St. Petersburg

I hope they do The Color Run again next year. I’ll do it annually in whatever cities I can catch up with it in!

Photo F

Week-79
Week-79

This art lover always makes time to visit museums. I adored the architecture and the quirky collection at The Dali. (And let’s be real. I also went to not one but two aquariums!)

Photo G

Stand Up Paddling Tampa

Okay, clearly I didn’t snap this photo… that’s me up there on the board! But I couldn’t conclude this photographic round up of my week without representing my fantastic day out on the water taking a Stand Up Paddling 101 class and a Stand Up Yoga class with Urban Kai!

Let me know which photo is your favorite in the comments section… and tell someone you love them today.

Happy Holidays, everyone.

Yellow Lines

Now, onto a few notes from around the interwebs…

• First things first, Travel Blog Success, is hosting ANOTHER fabulous sale! This is the online course that helped me make Alex in Wanderland what it is today, and the first thing I recommend to those who write to me for advice. It changed the way I looked at travel blogging and helped me move it from a hobby to a business. The member’s group gives me daily inspiration, feedback, and assistance. This is truly the warmest community in travel blogging. Click here and use the code “tbs35” to get a premium membership at 35% off, nearly a $50 savings! Sale ends at 11pm EST on Friday, December 21.

• It seems to be Volcano Week around here! Here on Alex in Wanderland I wrote about Volcano National Park in Hawaii, and over at Eagle Creek I wrote about Volcano Tourism around the world.

• A reader nominated me for Almost Fearless’ annual Best of the Year travel blogs list. I’m so touched to know that of all the fantastic blogs out there, this is the first one that comes to mind for some of my readers. Not to mention, they saved me from  nominating myself.

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34 Comments...
  • Zoe
    December 17 2012

    particularly good post today. I feel lucky that in addition to being my cyber crush, you’re my real life friend too

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      I get so happy when I see your name pop up in the comments! Love having you as my cyber stalker 🙂

  • Karen
    December 17 2012

    Dearest Alex–what a great week for me. Best time I ever had in Tampa thanks to an excellent travel advisor!
    I vote for G as that is clearly the hottest pose ever and difficult to boot.
    But I will always look at all the adorable pics of you from the best run on the planet! Thanks for that. xoxoxo

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      You will always be my first race running partner! Love you Aunt Karen!

  • Olivia
    December 17 2012

    OMG this week is truly too hard to pick. I like A, B, and C the best though. Amazing!

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Next time we’ve got to take Tampa by storm together… I would definitely do the manatees again!

  • Elaine Burr - Gram E
    December 17 2012

    G. Sort of shows not only you, but your fabulous personality, as well. Come back soon. Love, Gram e

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Thanks Gram! Love you too, great to see you.

  • Camille D
    December 17 2012

    I vote for C because it was obviously such a milestone for you. And also, it’s beautiful, photography-wise

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Thanks Camille! It really was a milestone… my friends in real life can’t quite believe what’s happened to me 🙂

  • TammyOnTheMove
    December 17 2012

    Photo G for me, as I can’t believe anybody is so flexible. 🙂
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..12 unusual ways of using bananas

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Why do you think I chose yoga as my sport? 😛

  • Gaelyn
    December 17 2012

    Tough choices all the way around. During times of crises I feel like I shouldn’t be having fun. But know in my heart that’s not right. Good choice for FL. Best photo by far is your yoga stance on the board. But I’d really like to swim with the manatee.
    Gaelyn recently posted..South Africa transportation options

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      I can understand that feeling Geelyn… I’ve struggled with even blogging this week as it seems so trivial to write about surfing in Hawaii or partying in Vegas when people are suffering so greatly.

  • Sophie
    December 17 2012

    Wow what a beautiful selection!! That is not fair to ask us to pick just one out of all the amazing shots you took this week !
    I suppose I could pick my top 3 which would be B,D,G
    Happy Holidays !
    Sophie recently posted..E Books & Readers: The Perfect Present for 2012

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Thank you Sophie, what a compliment! 🙂

  • Cat
    December 17 2012

    So difficult for me to be objective but I’m going to go with a tie between D (love the facial expressions) and F (love architecture).
    Cat recently posted..Sweets – #FriFotos Theme

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      I can’t believe we both were there! AHHHH! How did we not know!?

  • OMG you look amaaaazing in that last shot! BUT B wins for sure!!!
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..The My Beautiful Adventures Earrings

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      I only wish I had a photo of us in Charlotte on my way back! How could we forget that!!!

  • Shaun
    December 18 2012

    Wow!!! I run erratically thoughout the year and did my first 1/2 marathon last may. Believe me, if you keep it up you can reach 10K, then a 1/2 doesn’t seem too far away. (if you want to keep it up)

    I could barely keep my balance with two feet on my surf board. Props for getting up on one!!

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      I can see myself going for a 10K or maybe a mini-triathlon (lifetime goal!) but I don’t think I’ll ever be a marathoner. I just don’t like long distances or long stretches of cardio… I get bored too easily.

  • Bobleliv
    December 18 2012

    C

    Love the colors and the “in action”- feeling!

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Me too! The Color Run has been all over the US…. you might be able to find one in your area!

  • Amanda
    December 18 2012

    Wow those manatee shots are gorgeous! And so is the last shot of you doing yoga on a SUP– I’ve always wondered, do people usually fall in? I have terrible balance (both while doing yoga and SUP haha) so I think I would definitely fall in.
    Amanda recently posted..Bali, by Iphoneography

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      Ha, I wondered the same! Several people did — including the teacher! Balance is something I struggle with in yoga, so this class was a major challenge in a good way! If I lived in the area I would do it every week.

  • Dad
    December 18 2012

    I AM WITH GRANDMA ON THIS. G

    • Alex
      December 18 2012

      THANKS FOR THE FEEDBACK. PS CHECK YOUR CAPS LOCK 🙂

  • Hannah
    December 20 2012

    I love all of the photos this week Alex, but G totally wins it for me – you look amazing 🙂
    Hannah recently posted..The gift of the open road

    • Alex
      December 20 2012

      Thank you Hannah! I’m in cold, cold New York right now and I would do anything to be on a board!

  • Lauren
    December 20 2012

    CONGRATS ON THE 5K!!!!!! That’s so exciting.

    • Alex
      December 21 2012

      Thanks Lauren! It was quite the milestone 🙂

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