Here’s the thing about my city, Tampa, FL: I am absolutely, madly, passionately in love with it. And here’s the thing about relationships like that: they are so insanely rare and special.
I’ve lived in Florida for seven years THIS MONTH. Six and half of those were in Tampa and six months in Fort Lauderdale. Those six months were…rough. Here’s how that half a year went…
The day I found out I got my first job out of college in Ft. Laudy I was STOKED. A career! Responsibilities! A 401K! No more waitressing!
Me after my first month wondering if it was normal to work 65+ hour weeks plus weekends…every single week.
Me on the phone with my mom literally every single night.
Trying to enjoy the beach with all the nonexistent friends I made.
The day I was offered a position at the agency I REALLY wanted to work at in Tampa (and the one I’m still at now, almost four years later).
Pulling back in Tampa like…
And to sum it all up?
Why am I telling you all this? Because it’s August, 13! And that means it’s Tampa Day because 813 is our area code. It’s a celebration of all things Tampa.
And why should you care? Because I think it’s absolutely essential to be in love with where you live. For me, it’s more important for me to love where I live than where I work. I spend more time working than enjoying Tampa, so when I do get to hang out with city, I want it make me feel as fantastic as possible. Other than Manhattan and London, I’m not sure I’ve felt like this about any other city.
After seven years I truly feel like a Tampanian; I can even give directions!🙂 To celebrate 813 Day, I made a list of all the reasons I love Tampa.
1. The Bay. Nothing gives me greater joy than walking, running, and biking along the bay every day. The water does something to me.
2. The foodie culture. I’m definitely loyal to a good bunch in my neighborhood, but there always seems to be new places popping up.
3. Walkability. If I move anywhere, this is a non-negotiable for me. I live in the PERFECT location in South Tampa. I can walk to restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and the water. Traffic is something I’m just not good at.
4. All the peoples. Tampa is such a melting pot. We’ve got the full spectrum, from college kids to young families to retirees, all different backgrounds and professions. It’s such a cool mix.
5. So. Much. Coffee. Bless you, Tampa, for having more independent coffee shops than Starbucks. Well. That might not be right, but they’re giving the chain a good run. I feel like there’s a new brew house opening every other month. It’s amazing and absolutely 100% approved by me.
6. The history. Tampa is most known for Ybor City. It was founded in the 1880s by cigar manufacturers and was populated by thousands of immigrants, mainly from Cuba, Spain and Italy. Even my alma mater has a ton of history. Read about that here.
7. The fitness scene. Tampa if a fit city if I’ve ever seen one. Run, triathlon and bike groups, Crossfit boxes, barre, spin and pilates studios, and so much more keep Tampa looking real good. Any day of the week I’ll see a group of people on road bikes putting in work along the water. It’s heaven.
8. HOCKEY BAY! A fun play on “Tampa Bay.” We have a pretty killer NHL hockey team, The Tampa Bay Lightning, and the city comes alive when it’s hockey season. And OMG their first home game is September 27!
Now, play along with me. What do you love the most about where you live?