Without getting too sappy & sentimental this post is one of complete gratitude.
This week's blog post is dedicated to our recent Orlando Hurricane Evacuation & our experience facing the unknown. If you're visiting from Instagram, Facebook, or Youtube welcome! I'm so glad you're here. If you missed last week's Pottery Barn inspired DIY click, here. Disclaimer: this post may contain affiliate links. This helps me continue to provide you with how-to DIY projects as well as helpful blog posts. To learn more about what affiliate links are click, here.
Living near the beautiful coast of Charleston, SC comes with great rewards & benefits, but one thing Carolinian's dread is hurricane season! Are you prepared....? I love this kit! No, it's not because we have this sense that we can't be impacted. It's mainly because the threat is becoming a yearly occurrence for us. Please don't get me wrong my sweet friends in Florida - I'm NOT complaining. I know it comes with the territory & there have to be tradeoffs somewhere.
If you've been following me for a while you know the beach is one of my favorite places to relax and reset, so you can imagine the shock I got when I received Air Force confirmation to prepare for another hurricane. To make matters worse, this one was scheduled to make impact exactly to the date of the prior years hurricane. In my mind I could have explained away the possibility of a direct hit, until the confirmation came.
Don't forget to check out my Orlando hurricane evacuation video below & leave me a comment!
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On Friday September 9th, I continued along with my daily chores as normal, laundry, vacuuming & deep cleaning the bathrooms. When all the kids got home from school I spoke to them about the storm & possibly packing their go-bags. As the weekend progressed, it became evident that the coast was anticipating a direct impact from Hurricane Florence.
Monday morning arrived & everything seemed normal. The kids went to school, hubby went to work & my scheduled design meetings continued as normal. At two pm, I received an alert on my cellphone from the emergency broadcasting system about mandatory evacuations for our county. Then, like clockwork the school emails started rolling through & the automated lines texted & called stating school was closed until further notice. Now... IT'S GETTING REAL!
I raced home to get the twins off the bus & immediately start looking for a rental for the family. The amount of stress that washed over me as I tried to think of a place to go that we'd be safe was immeasurable. Every time I found a place they either weren't pet friendly, it was booked for the dates we needed, or they wanted over $350 a night. I decided to try booking one of our mountain home locations & all seemed well. After about 30 minutes of unsuccessfully trying to book our reservations online, I called in to see if I'd have a little more success. They were finally able to book us & all seemed to be on the up & up until our mountain home & quite a few other states were in Florence's cone of uncertainty.
I'll spare you all the details about the cancellation & how they tried to talk me out of it (hurricane's don't affect mountains) & the anger it ensued. Thankfully, I was able to get it cancelled! I'd had enough of being on hold for hours & scrolling endlessly, so hubby swooped in & took over. I used the extra time to make sure everyone had taken care of what they needed to, so we could just pick up and leave. If I remember correctly, in the course of an hour we found about four homes to rent that we missed out on before successfully booking in Orlando. We loaded up the car & planned to hit the roads early ahead of the lane reversal.
At 4:30 am we were rolling & by 11 am we'd made it to Orlando. The home we were blessed to rent had everything we needed to relax & enjoy our stay. We unloaded the truck & the kids & Randy (the dog) ran off to claim their rooms. Our location was the best - we were minutes from Disney & Epcot Center.
We did all the sight seeing in downtown Orlando, had daily pool parties & really soaked in time with each other. As the day of impact drew near, I felt deep sadness for my friends & family who couldn't or didn't evacuate, all states affected & my home. A part of me felt guilty for leaving, but I refused to risk my children's lives for something like this. My husband gave me the best advice ever - I could be in a constant state of worry about those back home or I could have fun & really be grateful & present.
Click the arrows below to see a a bit of Orlando!
This trip was time we were blessed to have & time we won't ever experience again in the same way. What I can say is that I recognize the immense blessing of being able to evacuate & return to our home still in tact. None of our friends or family lost their lives in this storm or on the way home. We are blessed & will continue to pray & help those who weren't as fortunate. If you'd like to donate to the Hurricane Florence's Red Cross relief click, here.
Check out a glimpse of our Orlando Hurricane Florence Evacuation in the video below.
I hope you enjoyed taking a peek into some of our Orlando trip. If you have any questions, comments, tips or tricks to add to my Orlando hurricane evacuation blog post, please leave them in the comments below. I love to connect with you & hear what may work better for us in the future. XO