This past weekend marked our first official intern road trip! Bright and early Saturday morning, twelve of us packed our bags and piled into a multitude of cars. After a short hour-long trip, we arrived in Tampa! We were in town because of Tampa's annual Gasparilla Pirate Festival. Gasparilla is an annual festival held in Tampa that was originally inspired by José Gaspar, a pirate who supposedly operated out of Southwest Florida during the late 1700's.

The decision to attend the festival was last minute and haphazardly planned. We had thrown together last-minute pirate outfits and arrived at the festival site about halfway through the parade.

The festival was much larger than I had expected! I had originally imagined a much smaller, fair-like atmosphere. Instead, Gasparilla brings in crowds of over 300,000 attendees and has an atmosphere similar to what I imagine Mardi Gras is like. The weather ended up being beautiful and we managed to bring in a pretty decent haul of beads.

Afterwards, all twelve of us piled into an apartment that an intern's family member had graciously let us use. Basically, it was a massive sleepover. I felt like I was in high school all over again. Except instead of being party animals and staying up until 6 am, we passed out around midnight.

Sunday morning began with another hour-long drive down to Clearwater Beach. Our plan was to grab some brunch and then hit up a beach. The weather had turned out to be a toasty 75 degrees, which was perfect beach weather.

Being a Michigan native, I keep forgetting that it isn't actually summertime yet. I have to repeatedly remind myself that it is actually the middle of winter and that everyone back home is buried in snow.

This past weekend was the first of (hopefully) many weekend intern trips yet to come. Florida has so many beautiful beaches and vacation spots, which I definitely plan on hitting up!