I recently spent a week in Florida with my best friend, and aside from providing me with a few wonderful days of an odd mixture of excitement and rest, it surprisingly also taught me a few things about myself, what matters to me, and what I value most in my life.
From the car ride to the airport to the intermittent phone calls throughout the trip, I learned just how much I love and need my parents. Now, don't get me wrong, I've always loved my parents and known that there are some things in my life that I simply could not do without them, but when you're far away from people for an extended period of time, your heart really does grow fonder. For those few days I got a taste of what it might be like if I ever decided to pack myself up and move further than two hours away from my hometown, and it was quite a bitter taste for the most part.
The event that made me miss my family most of all was the one-day trip my best friend and I took to Disney World's Magic Kingdom. Many summers of my childhood and even a recent Christmas season were spent at the Disney Resort and every single one of those memories is important and cherished by me. Disney World has always been my most favorite place on the Earth (despite my limited world experiences), but until that day I had not realized that most of the reason it was my favorite place was because I had always been there with my family.
I had a wonderful time with my best friend, knowing him since kindergarten he's almost like family to me, but experiencing Disney World with him was much different than with my parents. I came to realize that there are so many things at the various parks that I would not have ever experienced if my parents hadn't forced me into them - all things that I now completely enjoy. I would have never decided to walk into that boring Hall of Presidents if my parents hadn't pulled me in, but now I love that attraction (and not just because it's a chance to sit in an air-conditioned building with movie theater-style seating). There are so many fantastic parades and shows at the parks that I would never have seen if my parents hadn't sat me down on the sidewalk. Why would I want to watch a parade when I could be riding the teacups or Space Mountain? I'll tell you why - they're spectacular and beautiful and completely deserving of a half- hour spent sitting on a burning hot sidewalk.
That day in Disney World also reminded me how much I love and crave a good escape every once and a while. Most of the time my escape is a book or a sit down in a coffee shop with a friend or two for a couple of hours, but Disney World is simply the best. My sister and I have always said that with one step into the park it is as if all of your worries and cares simply wash away - Disney World is our cure-all for stress and sadness.
Disney World, a bookstore, a coffee shop, a baseball field, a garden, the dining room table with your family on game night - whatever it may be, I believe everyone needs and deserves an escape as often as they can afford to take them.
(Kate Everly is a reporter for The Review, covering Hancock County. Reach her at email@example.com)