These Are a Few of My Favorite Things: Tampa

Tampa is a place I have loved, fell out of love with, and am learning to love again. Some of my favorite things about this growing  city are simple yet perfect. There are other things that are not included that keep me here such as the film festival and concert seasons, but those deserve their own posts.

  1. Treasure Island Drum Circle
    1. Better than church, every time I attend I feel more centered and at one with myself and the world around me.
  2. Flatwoods
    1. Best place to go for a nice long trek with the dogs, they love the trails and the smells of this park.
  3. Oxford Exchange
    1. Designed like a tudor mansion study, this coffee shop also sells books and other artifacts. They also hold events for all sorts of interesting things. Recently I went to a Book Fair for local authors as well as a Tampa Type event. You can read about that here.
  4. Indian Rocks Beach
    1. This beach reminds me of my hometown, I get a spoonful of nostalgia every time I park (for free) and walk across the quiet street to the beach access. This beach is much more residential than most in the Tampa Bay Area and thus much more relaxing.
  5. Felicitous
    1. Locally owned, purple building, has a yard with monthly open mic nights, and amazing coffee & tea. What more do you need to know?
  6. Thai Temple Sunday Market
    1. I didn’t expect to find this gem, the experience alone takes you to a far away place. Nestled along the Hillsborough River bed with temple services running while authentic Thai food is being served until it runs out – and it will run out so get there early.
  7. University of Tampa
    1. Albeit cheesy, my alma matter is hands down the most beautiful sight in downtown Tampa. The history that lines the halls and the grounds is an inspiration to students and visitors alike. I still enjoy a nice stroll in Plant Park and my breath still catches when my eyes take in Fletcher Lounge.
  8. Morris Bridge Road
    1. A quiet country road in north Tampa, lined by some of the most beautiful trees I’ve ever seen and pastures of heifers and horses. Something about this drive from Cross Creek to SR 54 captivates me. Perhaps it is the memory of a simpler time, driving down that old country road. Perhaps it is just my new found appreciation for country music.
  9. Gandy Bridge
    1. Bridges are beautiful for many reasons past merely the water it crosses. This particular bridge is lovely because  on the Pinellas side there are inlets on the bay where you can go and launch kayaks and paddle boards – even fireworks on the fourth of July. My favorite time to be here is on New Years Eve where we have made it our tradition to go build a fire out there and stargaze.
  10. Ella’s Folk Art Cafe
    1. If you like delicious food paired with amazing folk art, this is the place to go. Seminole Heights is an up and coming Tampa neighborhood, but this gem has been here for a while and has a fabulous reputation among the locals. Their veggie burger is heaven for your taste buds!
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Flashback: Cannes 2010

Interning at the Cannes Film Festival in 2010 was the first experience with world travel I came upon. Tom Garrett organized the trip and taught me everything I needed to know about maximizing my adventure. The lovely folks at Summit Entertainment helped push my dreams along by giving me an internship with them. It just so happened to be a year that they held the only American film in competition (Fair Game). Deborah was in charge of choosing the two interns out of a myriad of applicants and so it is to her I owe many thanks and memories. Another notable person which I feel I must mention is Ms. Annasivia, she taught me so much about the business of film as well as about myself and the world. She is another woman whom my mind always wanders to when I think of inspiring people. American born, worked hard and studied hard to land herself a job living and working in London traveling with Summit to different festivals and handling a plethora of other tasks as well.

During the fifteen days we were in the Cote D’Azure provence, I spent most of my days waking up before the sun. Dressing for the day included hanging the night before’s clothes on the balcony to dry and bringing along a red carpet ready dress for the end of the day. One of my fondest memories is sharing the lift with Doug Liman (Bourne Identity) and enjoying a very pleasant conversation with him. He asked me how I landed the internship and where I was from. He was very friendly and an interesting man. For all you Twilight fans, I was given the opportunity to see a distributors showing of Eclipse and see how these men and women view and assess a film for their particular country. After I got home I saw it again with my sister and noticed differences in the edits, it was exhilarating to be among the few people to be privy to that.

There was a moment where Three Musketeers was on the business agenda and I got the privilege to put together head shots of many great and talented actors. While marveling over these young pictures of actors I’ve been watching for years, the CEO comes storming through with all his majestic power. He demands to have Mr. Bloom signed to the project immediately. I’m certainly glad he did because Orlando did such a fabulous job in the film.

The best way to describe my time is the perfect mix of exploration, hard work, and new knowledge. Not only did I learn so much about how the film industry works as a business; I learned a lot about myself – drinking freely in public was even new! I learned how to be tough when it came to my dreams, how to be assertive in my aspirations, and to be willing to take on any task that comes along. Whether it be organizing head shots, running a bar at a party, or picking up the dailies; being willing to take on any task and completing in a timely manner is a quality that shines through in anyone’s eyes. In an industry as cut-throat and swarming with new fish as Filmmaking, it is important to give it everything you have and grab life by the balls. Take in every experience and every contact, learn and network. You never know who you may run into again in your future.

(1)End of Festival Luncheon with Summit Entertainment&Professors (2)Closing Ceremonies with Peers (3)Closing Ceremonies Award Winners (4)Rooftop filming at the office (5) Doug Liman on the Palais’ banner (6) Posing with some peers after the red carpet (7-8) First night Soiree (9) With Tom Garrett on the Red Carpet (10-11) Conversing with my professors about the festival at Luncheon (12) On the Red Carpet (13)Tile Palm d’Or (14) Tim Burton Walking the Red Carpet

Cannes Luncheon Summit Closing Ceremonies Closing Ceremonies Peer's Trip Documentary Doug Liman The Guys and I after the Red Carpet College Roommates Conversing on night one Tom Garrett and I on the Red Carpet Serious discussion with my professors Deep Discussion Tom, Daniel, and I @ The Palais Palm d'Or Tim Burton Head Juror 2010

Introductions Are Necessary!

Hello!

 If you have stumbled here perhaps you have had the good sense to start at the beginning of the journey. I bid you good morrow and good luck on your travels through my adventures.

First a little bit about me: I am a twenty-four year old woman with a passion for exploring, writing, and images both still and moving. As an adolescent I spent my time writing, climbing trees, performing in plays, and playing on the beach. While I attended a magnet program in my high school years for theater, I also pursued a position on the school’s Lacrosse team and a longstanding job at the local movie theater where I fell in love with the moving image and photography.

When first looking at colleges I thought I would be a psych major. I toured a few Florida schools, looking at their programs and still exploring their more artsy sides. When straying off from a guided tour at the University of Tampa, my mother and I stumbled into a tall man wearing a pair of combat boots, a trench coat and a fedora smoking a cigarette. He quickly introduced himself as Tom Garrett and began hypnotizing us with stories about the Film & Media Arts program and how you took classes in filming narratives and even documentaries and experimental film – not that I knew what that was at the ripe age of seventeen. He even mentioned an acquaintance he has in Cannes and how he takes a group of students over to do internships every year.

I remember the most amazing feeling sweeping over me. I knew that I must learn everything I could from this man. He had found a way to do what he loved, travel, and touch the lives of others. One could say he inspired my future in a way he may have never known. Eventually Professor Tom Garrett became my advisor and taught me many things about life, professionalism, and the film industry as well.To this day I treasure the time I was able to spend at the University of Tampa.

I have been abroad twice at this point in my life and visited France, Italy, Belgium, and Great Britain. I spent three months living in Bergen Op Zoom, Netherlands where I was employed as an Au Pair to a lovely family and learned how easily I could live abroad and love every second of it. These experiences have shaped me into the person I am today and I am beyond determined to take many more trips in the future and eventually visit every country in the world.

This blog will take you along on my adventures – past, present, and future – as well as through the planning process of what it takes to be a travel writer and live on the road which has always been a dream of mine.

Dreams are meant to come true, if you see it and you want it bad enough you can make anything happen. Now if you are still with me, perhaps a little about you? I would love if my readers would share a bit about themselves and travels that they have done or wish to do.

xxx Sam