Finding your way
Just because Kari works at the Tampa International Airport (TPA) does not mean that you have to fly there. Just because it is consistently rated as one of America’s favorite Airports does not mean you have to fly there.
But you should really fly there.
Really, TPA is probably your best bet for great fares. Depending on where you’re coming from, you’ll find that Southwest has the most non-stop flights to Tampa. Check all the usual suspects (Orbitz, Travelocity, Kayak, and Kari’s favorite – Hipmunk). Kari cannot get you free plane tickets. That’s illegal. Please don’t ask. Kari does not fly for free herself. She can show you her credit card statements with tickets to ATL over the past year to prove it.
You might find good deals to St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport (PIE) and they have such a tasty airport code.
TPA to the beaches is about thirty minutes. PIE to the beaches is about twenty minutes. They’re both easy airports – TPA by design and PIE by size.
Florida has roads. They are paved.
The primary freeway that you will use from the Airport(s) to the beaches is I-275 or the Courtney Campbell Causeway. Here’s a map showing TPA to the Cedar House (302 Cedar Street, Clearwater, Florida) via the Courtney Campbell Causeway. If you’re flying into PIE, it’s the grey blob near Highpoint on the map.
If you’re adventuring to Busch Gardens or Sarasota you might find yourself on I-75. If you’re taking the kiddies to see the Mouse in Orlando or Legoland in Lakeland, you’ll take I-4. Tampa/St. Petersburg is fairly straightforward when it comes to routes in and out of town. We don’t do anything too crazy with our roads and since the beaches are a huge tourist destination, you’ll find that the signage is pretty good.
When in doubt – use GPS. Don’t drive into the ocean – it will be to your west.
Understanding Your Place in the Universe
If you came here for that sort of advice about finding your way, well, all we can say is that you should always be honest with yourself, always be curious, and always remember that pretty much every philosophical and religious community in the history of humanity has stumbled upon the Golden Rule at some point. If you want practical advice, be nice to old people, waiters, and animals (this list is not exhaustive, by the way), always buy Girl Scout cookies, and do your best not to be fussy about a little rain or mud. And, all things being equal, it’s better to spend your life laughing than scowling. Unless you’re doing it for comedic effect.
Beyond that, well, you may want to consult a member of the clergy or possibly a life coach. Just please don’t punch the life coach in the nose.