In December we, the staff and volunteers of the International Taoist Tai Chi Society (TTCS) Centre in Orangeville, Canada, traveled to Florida for a two-week road-trip vacation. The destination was the USA TTCS Centre in Tallahassee. Fourteen of us boarded the Society’s 24-seat bus which soon became full to overflowing when all the luggage was added. Chris Lewis (accompanied by wife Melissa and son Trevor) was our chauffeur with help from Blaise Baillargeon for the 3-day journey. The TTCS clubs in Toledo, Ohio and Knoxville, Tennessee were warm and generous hosts on both legs of our journey, providing pot luck dinners and accommodation.
We relaxed at the beautiful one-acre facility in Tallahassee for a number of days as Sean Dennison and Karen Laughlin acted as hosts. We saw Wakulla Springs and its teeming wildlife of crocodiles, ibis, anhingas, turtles, manatees and countless other creatures. We attended the Nutcracker Ballet at the University. participated in tai chi classes and enjoyed the annual Christmas dinner.
And this was only the start! The next step in our journey took us to Sarasota. Using the residence on their property as a base allowed us to see clubs in Brandon, St. Petersburg and Dunedin, as well as visit the Florida aquarium, the historic Cuban district of Tampa Bay, and of course, the beach.
Quite possibly the highlight of the trip was the magical encounter with a large friendly manatee who allowed Tristan Maurice, Fiona German and Blaise to enter the water and swim with him (or her!). Young Trevor said “it was the best trip ever” and this expresses how many of us older adults felt as well! In every club visited we were always welcomed with smiles, plenty of food andan opportunity to do tai chi giving us the feeling of finding a home away from home.
For this memorable trip-of-a-lifetime, we’d like to thank all the members of TTCS Florida; Sean who traveled with us throughout Florida and took care of all of our various logistical needs, including renting vans when the bus broke down; and most of all the Directors of the International TTCS and the TTCS of Canada.