21 June 2011

Relaxing and recharging: a Blog Off post

Every two weeks, the blogosphere comes alive with something called a Blog Off. A Blog Off is an event where bloggers of every stripe weigh in on the same topic on the same day. The topic for this round of the Blog Off is "How do you relax and recharge?"


I work a lot and I haven't had a real vacation in longer than I want to admit. While it's true I've been a traveling fool for the last couple of years, none of that travel's been leisure travel. Yes, I've been to some amazing places but going to press conferences and product seminars when you have jet lag doesn't count as R&R in my book. Even so, it's a good problem to have.

So to bide my time until my next vacation, I've picked up the habit of what I call taking mini vacations. They can take less than an hour and they're a short walk down the street.


I live four blocks away from the waterfront park system we have in St. Pete. 101 years ago, the City of St. Petersburg decided it wanted to preserve its downtown waterfront for the enjoyment of all and so they established a grand program to buy up waterfront property and turn everything they bought into a park.


It took a number of years, but eventually the park system would span for the many miles of downtown waterfront and 101 years later, St. Petersburg has an asset every other waterfront city in the world would kill for. Along those many miles of park you can find everything from beaches to tennis courts, dog runs to botanical gardens, marinas to the largest city pool I've ever seen. That park system typifies St. Pete's commitment to the quality of life of its residents and it's one of the things that holds me here.

Few things can soothe and recharge me the way looking at water and watching wildlife can and the parks provide both of those things in spades. An early morning walk (or in my younger days, a jog) can recharge me and get me ready to go back and keep plugging away at what ever I'm doing.

That I can walk a couple of blocks east and see pelicans and wild dolphins and herons and ibises and egrets and smell jasmine and dodge falling coconuts convinces me further that I'm the most fortunate man alive. When I was a kid in rural Pennsylvania I dreamed about seeing the things I see every day.

If I get down there early enough to watch the sun rising, I have most of the parks to myself. There is no other more amazing thing than to sit on the sea wall at the bottom of my street, to warm myself in the rays of a rising sun and to have wild dolphins chasing mullet a few short feet below me.

So my mini vacations in the park tide me over for now. As much as I enjoy my time spent down there. I really need a vacation.

As the day goes on, the rest of the participants in today's Blog Off will appear miraculously at the end of this post. Keep checking back and check out everybody's postss. You can follow along in Twitter as well, just look for the hashtag #LetsBlogOff. If you'd like more information about about the Blog Off or if you'd like to see the results of previous Blog Offs, you can find the main website here.


  1. Paul, it sounds like 10 days down there would be my wife's dream vacation.

    She loves the beach and hunting sea shells. She has always dreamed of hanging out with dolphins.

    I wish we weren't a 21hr drive away, lol.

  2. Man, the more you write about St. Petersburg, the higher I think of it! Although in defense of my own San Diego, I will say that the city fathers portioned off a huge chunk of real estate for a park. Not many know it, but our Balboa Park is actually bigger than Central Park in New York! On the other hand… what they’ve done with the waterfront area is pretty much what every other city does—not as much as they could have and should have. And certainly nothing like what St. Petersburg has done!

    It’s interesting that you have that type of respite from your daily work, though. It’s been some 25 years now, but I once worked for a Finance Company, one of many jobs I came to hate. Part of the San Diego River was near the branch, and whenever it got to me (and if often did!) I used to walk down there and watch the red-winged blackbirds for a while.

  3. That is a totally amazing public park. I'd go down there, too. I like to go to the harbor in Dana Point, but that's too far from work for a lunch break.

    I love the photos.

  4. Thanks for your comments gang, it's an amazing place and we're fortunate to have it.

  5. This place seems lovely!
    I´ll try to go there next time I´m in Florida :)

  6. Ana: Thanks! I'll take you there myself so long as you take me surfing when I get to Venezuela!

  7. Oooh, dolphins so close to a city! Your authorities must be doing good things to keep the water clean enough for them!

  8. Though we have abundant green-space in Canada's Capital I must admit when our temperatures plunge well below zero, your St. Petersburg sounds very enticing to me. :) -Brenda-

  9. Chookie: The waters are pretty cleaned up but another part of it is that feeding them is very illegal and highly enforced. That keeps them healthy more than just about anything.

    Brenda: I don't know how to break this to you, but I took the photos above last winter...

  10. "Rub it in" Paul. :) -Brenda-

  11. Feels like home, because it is. I was there in November for not-so-happy reasons, and I missed my dose of Gulf therapy. Thanks for the mini mental vacation!


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