Four strangers and I were invited to the Beaches of Ft Myer & Sanibel on a #FindYourIsland Challenge. I didn’t know what to expect but I was looking forward to meeting other Google Glass Explorers.
On Friday, September 6, I boarded a plane at 8 am along with Keith Kaplan, Social Brand Strategist at IBM. We hit it off immediately. When we landed in Atlanta to switch planes, we noticed that @SocialGumbo (from New Orleans) was in the same airport.
“Hey Social,” I yelled. I look at Keith and we started to laugh. @SocialGumbo (George
“Loki” Williams’ twitter handle) looked away.
“I really think that’s him,” I said to Keith.
“Maybe not,” he said.
When we looked over again, we noticed that Loki was wearing his orange glass. (Loki is a Social Media Strategist and Content Creator.) We looked at each other, smiled and walked over to him. As we made our introductions, another Google Glass Explorer came up to us and introduced himself. We took a photo.
“It’s a Google Glass Convention,” Loki said.
When we landed in the Ft Myers Airport, Shea Carter, Social Media Group Supervisor of MMGY Global met us at the Beaches of Ft Myers & Sanibel Tourism.
We waited there for Eva Smith’s plane to land and then we were off to Tween Waters Inn for a lovely dinner. (Eva Smith is the founder and publisher of Tech Food Life Magazine and also featured in USA Today as a top blogger to watch.)
At check in, we learned that we were each given our own private cabin, equipped with a kitchen, queen bed and screened in porch. We changed and met for dinner at the Crow’s Nest, where Jeris JC Miller met us. Her plane landed a bit after our plane. (From Seattle, Jeris develops content and community engagement projects for Microsoft, Google, Intel and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.)
At dinner, we were given the agenda and our challenges for the next two days. The next morning, bright and early, we were greeted by a Trolly (Ku-Ku Ku-Nu-Ku) and driven around from challenge to challenge.
Our first challenge was at Tarbon Bay, where we kayaked through the wilderness. I really wanted to be on Keith Kaplan’s kayak because he is an avid kayaker but he was miked up and asked to go alone. So, Jeris and I went together. That’s when the two of us bonded.
I was so impressed with Jeris and her expertise. We hit it off as if we knew each other for years. It was almost as if we were meant to know each other. We laughed at the fact that we were given life jackets and the kayak was in barely one foot of water. We joked that we could have walked and pushed the boat faster than we could paddle.
The only wild life we saw was a gator. I actually didn’t see the gator but Jeris did. I was wearing glass and not my glasses so I kept trying to get a closer look but she kept saying, “NO!”
The next challenge was Parasailing. Before we actually went on this adventure, I told Shea that I didn’t want to go. I explained that I am afraid of heights. But, when I saw Eva Smith up in the sky and the brightness of her face, I told Shea that I was going to go for it.
I went up with Robert Patterson, Shea’s boss. He was a little nervous too and made me feel a whole lot better when they told us to sit down and they lifted us all the way up. (I was screaming a little and freaking out a bit but I did it as you can see from the video.) We were so high it was incredible. I felt as if I was flying on top of the world.
Lunch was next at Ford’s Garage. I think I had one of the best hamburgers I have ever tasted. It was so filling, I could barely eat the whole thing!
The third challenge was going to the Ford Edison Winter Estates. When the trolley arrived, we were bombarded by media. It seemed as if every station was there, including the affiliates from NBC, CBS, ABC and the local press.
We were all interviewed but the highlight was when Keith was interviewed for the first time (and actually at the airport, the security guard recognized him). He did a great job for a first time interview.
I was impressed with the estate. I didn’t think I would like it. I’m not a history buff and thought I would be bored but to be honest, I was impressed with all the hundred plus inventions that were made by Edison and the fact that he changed our lives forever. We had to pick an invention and tweet how one of his inventions related to today’s world. I picked the Zoetrope because of how things changed with the use of digital video and production.
Challenge 4 was at Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille. Chef John showed us how to de-vain a shrimp and then showed us an array of fresh ingredients. He told us about their famous Yucatan Shrimp Taco and asked us to prepare it, not knowing what is in it.
To be honest, I was nervous about this challenge. I don’t cook (I dial) and I knew that the other competitors would kick my butt. I tried my best and added the shrimp, old bay sauce, avocado, lettuce and tomato. And you know what? My shrimp taco was the closest to the Yucatan Shrimp Taco. I was so proud. I texted my husband and my son to share with them. They laughed.
The last challenge was to capture a magnificent sunset. I actually had a few from the day before. As we boarded back on the trolley, it started to down pour. We weren’t going to be able to capture that perfect sunset, but you know what we did instead? We danced.
Patti, the driver, blasted the music and the five of us along with the entire crew from MMGY and the Beach of Ft Myer & Sanibel staff rocked out and danced, holding onto the straps, all the way home! We finished off with a night cap, danced a little more, and went back to our cabins. As Jeris and I walked back to our cabins, we both had a big smile on our faces!
Sunday was Fun Day at the Beaches of Ft Myers & Sanibel. We boarded the Captiva Cruise and headed to a private island where we collected seashells and swam in the luke warm Gulf of Mexico. For me, this was the most special time when we sat in the water, talked about everything social and relaxed. When we left, the beach, we had a fun lunch and headed back to our resort where we had the rest of the day free.
Loki, Keith, Eva and I met up at the Pool. Jeris met her aunt who lives in Ft Myer and hadn’t seen in a long time. We sat, talked and then decided to go to dinner. After dinner, we walked over to the beach to watch truly the most magnificent sunset.
“Do you want to walk over to the Bubble Room for dessert?” Keith asked us. Loki said he wanted to go back to the hotel to do some work and Eva and I both agreed that dessert was in order. As we walked toward the black clouds in the sky after the sun set, I saw lightning. I was really nervous walking on the beach in a lightning storm but we were quickly off and walking toward the restaurant.
We finally made it before the rain storm and the three of us sat down in the cutest little restaurant/dessert shop with an array of old fashioned toys, cards and photos. We ordered the famous Orange Cake along with a slice of Red Velvet. All I have to say is “WOW” it was incredible. The slice was as big as a full cake!
The three of us stumbled out of there, belly’s hurting and all and walked back to the hotel in the pitch black, which was about a mile and a half away. Good thing Keith had a flashlight app.
As we walked back, single filed, we reflected upon the weekend. Not knowing what to expect when we got there, the weekend totally exceeded all of our expectations.
On the way to the airport, Shea asked the five of us what our most memorable moment of the trip was. When she asked me, I said, “meeting the most incredible four other explorers along with the two teams from the Beaches of Ft Myer & Sanibel.”
The Beaches of Ft Myer & Sanibel is a perfect place for a vacation. The place has everything one would look for — beautiful beaches, lots of golf courses, great running and bike routes, award-winning kayaking, parasailing, fantastic food, amazing accommodations and the most friendliest people in the world! Thanks to the Beaches of Ft Myer & Sanibel for making this such a memorable experience for me and the other explorers.
Lastly, five people who started out as strangers, by the end of the weekend, the explorers turned into friends that will certainly last forever! Looking forward to other journeys with The Glass Squad!
DISCLOSURE: I have a material connection because I received an all expense paid trip to Fort Meyers and Sanibel for consideration in preparing to write this content. Individual links could be associated with affiliate marketing sites and through the use of affiliate links contained herein, I may collect fees from purchases made. Opulus NY is my glass sponsor. They are a cool company that designs fashion mobile accessories to compliment your lifestyle. They are creating a host of new upscale products for your cell phone. To get the latest information follow them on Facebook at Opulus New York.
Beautiful write up my dear friend! … May #TheGlassSquad have many more adventures! … LOL!
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