Flurries, flakes, sleet, slush, drifting, squall, blizzard, blowing, black ice, below-freezing, high of -10°.

In Wisconsin, these are known as November through April. We live through this, question why we live through this, resign to live through this, decide to sleep through this, and then just when we can’t take it anymore, rays of sunshine finally break through the cloud cover and we remember all over again why we love Milwaukee.

When running your own and new business, taking a break almost feels like an impossibility. There always seems to be something that needs your attention or time. But we know ourselves well enough to know that breaks and changes of routine are a critical part to our creative process. Using fresh eyes to tackle a project helps us to produce our optimal work. And with everything we do, we know the human interaction is the key to everything. Being able to experience new things, test limits, and see more makes us who we are, better designers, and relationship-makers.

So this winter, when we were given the chance to take a break, a workcation to defrost a little, recharge, and get the creative energy flowing again, we took it. We packed up, hopped a plane, and found ourselves in sunny Southwest Florida working away for 9 days with sun and new adventures.

Vacation time always seems too short, but if there’s one thing around Streamline Jacks that we know, it’s to take full advantage of every moment. So while we won’t jam 9 days of work, fun, and relaxation in here, we’ll share our favorite parts of our workcation.

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1. Paddle boarding

So you get to spend 3 hours on a board paddling through mangroves to white sand beaches, taking dips in the Gulf of Mexico as you go. Do you say no to that? The answer is always No, you never say no. We took an afternoon to experience our surroundings in a different way while getting a work-out at the same time.

 

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2. Airboats

Jen and Jordan fulfilled their need for speed with an hour long tour of The Everglades by airboat. With a smooth talking Captain Gary manning the helm, an hour was spent seeing a landscape you can’t find anywhere else. We live in these areas where our surroundings become second nature. We could pick out a Blue Spruce from a Birch tree, or a Canadian Goose from a Crow in Wisconsin. But for this trip we were totally immersed in a new landscape. Ibis took the place of robins, intricately intwined mangrove roots replaced oak trees, and it wasn’t uncommon to see two large sea cows 3 feet from you. Oh and there was an alligator, of course there was an alligator.

 

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3. Animal Sanctuary

Two chain link fences, that’s it- all that’s standing between you and a pre-historic carnivore. Oh and you paid $8 to see it. But have you ever stood next to a 10 foot long crocodile? How about 20 of them at the same time? Then there’s the lions, tigers, but no bears, a panther, or to our midwesterner friends a cougar.

 

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4. Key Lime Pie

If you follow us on Instagram or Facebook you know that we’re foodies. So when in Rome, right? We took our time key-lime-pie sampling our way across the island. Vacation needs dessert and now these 3 Jacks need a good key lime pie in Milwaukee. Sad to say we tried a piece once we got home, missing the island even more now. Any suggestions?

 

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5. Ice Cream

Let’s continue this dessert train of thought. If you have an adversity to ice cream, you would not last long as a Jack. We love our ice cream. On a cone, in a dish, in a sandwich, but especially from a small little ice cream parlor when it’s 80° outside in March. So much so that we did it twice. And maybe contemplated it for a third time. Don’t tell anyone.

 

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6. Sunday Funday

We had a client thoughtfully put together a list of to-do’s for us on the island. One of her best suggestions was to check out Stan’s on Sunday. Who can resist beer in a bucket, picnic tables full of retirees, an outdoor water-side view, and a live band playing every song that you’ve ever heard in a place full of baby boomers. We had a great time. Relaxation and good times came easy and we all left more than excited for summer. Oh, and a nice bonus- it was once again a sunny, 80° day in March.

 

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7. Poolside

Throughout the entire week we took advantage of being able to utilize a pool during a time when we’re normally wrapped so tight in winter coats, hats, and scarves we can’t tell if it’s the layers or we really have gained all that winter weight. We worked by the pool, grilled by the pool, ate by the pool, maybe even ate a piece of key lime pie while in the pool.

All in all, not a rough 9 days of workcation, huh? For those burning with envy, don’t worry, there were some struggles. For starters, due to the warm weather, and constant activity in and around the pool, we were barefoot about 90% of the time. Jen even tried leaving the house for dinner once, barefoot. Now being barefoot is fine, especially in 80° weather, but the house we stayed in had this very large and treacherous rug that was difficult to avoid, and felt like you were walking on pins and needles. It was the walking worst, and quickly became the constant enemy of the soles on our poor feet.

Another struggle we had in paradise was the wall of windows and doors that led to the pool. They were REALLY clean, so clean, that perhaps a run-in or two occurred. Apparently our drive to get to the pool was beyond taking the time to open the door between us. However, we did discover that walking into glass doors turns out to be great for boosting company-morale. At one point Jen was rolling on the ground laughing due to a recent door incident.

Oh, the poor Jacks, running into doors and dodging dangerous rugs, all while in the sunny state of Florida. Rugs and doors included, we’d go back in an instant. Until the next workcation…