Confessions of a Travelholic

My name is Gina Guilford and I have a problem. I must confess, I’m a Travelholic. I realize this is a problem most likely born of the loneliness of my two grandsons moving out of Miami. In order to fill the void of an empty house, I have fled. Over and often. Of course, it’s not the worse disease to have, but when I review my year in 2023, I’ve traveled every month this year and sometimes twice.

January found us at The Villages and down to Islamorada, to celebrate a friend’s 70th Birthday and visit John and Kelley, while our condo in Key Largo was rented. February, we flew to New York (which was luckily not too cold) to celebrate the anniversary of our first date, see Funny Girl and try new restaurants. In March, we went to visit Lauren for her 29th birthday in San Francisco, taking her to the famous House of Prime Rib for her Birthday Dinner.

April found us going on a Road Trip to Tallahassee (Chris and Courtney) and Tuscaloosa (Doug and Heidi). May was truly a month for the record book as I flew to Louisville, Kentucky with my Mom and sisters for the Kentucky Derby. Later that month, we flew to Seattle and embarked on an Alaskan cruise with friends to see my last of the 50 states.

And this was all before Wyatt and Phoenix left town!

They left in June, after school was out and I absolutely, positively wasn’t going to go anywhere but down to the Keys, but I found myself getting bored and feeling a touch of travel lust. I’d promised Zeke a trip to Las Vegas for his 60th Birthday last year and when his birthday was approaching and I had no idea for a gift, I thought “There’s no time like the present” and booked an impromptu trip to Las Vegas for his birthday.

We had a great trip to Las Vegas, starting with his birthday dinner at Giada’s in the Cromwell, which was perfect! I got the tasting menu, letting the Birthday Boy taste my items and they gave us complimentary Prosecco to celebrate. We stayed at The Wynn which is my favorite hotel in Vegas- classy, quiet and at the end of the strip.

Why I thought visiting Vegas in the middle of the summer would be a good idea, however, is a mystery. Vegas in the Summer is HOT! Like 111 degrees hot and that was the day I decided we should walk up and down the strip. Going into the casinos offered some respite, but that dry heat sucks the life out of you! Give me the sticky heat of Miami any day over that. One thing about traveling, it makes you appreciate home.

Zeke hadn’t been to Vegas since he was 11, on a Road Trip with his brothers and Dad. The hotel they’d stayed at- The Frontier– had been demolished (for The Wynn Encore), but we did walk down Freemont Street, where the original strip was located. It was a blast from the past and worth seeing, but once again- hot! We also did a Food Tour, saw a Concert (Carrie Underwood) and a Cirque Du Soleil show (O) at the Bellagio. We even saw impersonator Rich Little at the Tropicana (soon to be torn down), but that’s another story. And we went out with a bang with the Buffet at The Wynn.

Our trip to Vegas took us into July and then I did an around-the-state trip to visit Chris, Courtney and Liam in Tallahassee and Justin, A.J., Wyatt and Phoenix in Saint Augustine. Justin is the captain of an 80 foot yacht called “Takin’It Easy” (after the Eagle’s song) and we got to go out on it and play with “the toys” the day I was there. I picked up Wyatt and brought him home for Gigi Camp, which was great and lasted about 10 days. It always coincides with Shark Week, so we watched Jaws our last night. He loved it.

We went to the Keys last week for Mini Season, where Zeke went out for the first time and caught some lobsters for dinner. Delicious! We have one trip planned for August- a wedding in D.C.- but we’re mostly home, which is good because it’s Miami Spice. This is the perfect time to try out restaurants (especially expensive ones) for a fixed price.

There’s no problem with being a Travelholic, I suppose, except for, of course, it’s an expensive habit to have. Although it doesn’t necessarily have to be. Zeke says I’ve never met a trip I didn’t like, even if its going to Homestead to eat tamales, and he’s right. The more pressing issue I need to confront is, traveling prevents you from doing things you say you want to do- like selling your house and buying a smaller one and revising your Foodie In Miami website.

I need to remember Dorothy’s mantra.

There’s no place like home, there’s no place like home.

Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

Up Next: Miami Spice picks

Published by gleeguilford

Born and raised in Miami, the daughter of a pilot and stay-at-home Mom, I love food in all forms. My great grandfather opened the first Italian restaurant in Miami in the 20's, The Boathouse on the Miami river. I love exploring my heritage and linking food and recipes to personal stories. I've been published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: Food and Love and wrote restaurant reviews and news as the Miami Dining Examiner for three years. I love exploring Miami's latest hot spots, hole in the walls and institutions. I'm always looking for innovative ways to use the plethora of tropical fruits and vegetables South Florida offers, especially from my own garden.

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