We left Fort Myers early Monday morning but not before Jeff’s mom Sue could load us up with some of her amazing french toast and other snacks for the road. She also gifted me a fantastic sun hat that I had taken a liking to during the few days at her house. I was reluctant to accept at first, but relented upon her insistence. Sue is one of the most caring and giving people I know and here she epitomized a life lesson I picked up from Red Hot Chili Peppers frontman Anthony Kiedis in his gripping autobiography Scar Tissue. This was only appropriate considering Jeff is the one who convinced me to check out this book in the first place. In the book, Anthony describes an experience that led to the inspiration for the hit song “Give it Away” where a former girlfriend selflessly gave him a leather jacket he noticed in her closet. Her explanation for the act was as follows:
 

if you have a closet full of clothes and you try to keep them all, your life will get very small. But if you have a full closet and someone sees something they like, if you give it to them, the world is a better place.

 

So thank you again to Sue and Andy for the wonderful hospitality and the sun protection going forward!

After driving through a magnificent sunrise, we made a pit stop along the panhandle and started a new tradition. After 6 hours in the car and with 4+ to go, we needed to stretch out and get some blood flow going. Inspired by my buddy Joe Holder aka The Ocho System and his philosophy of making the world your gym, we got to work with our surroundings as you can see from Jeff’s pushups below. We’re excited for the miles to cover the next few weeks and for the chance to try out some dips, jumping jacks, squats and more at many a roadside gas station. Thanks to Ocho for always being a huge inspiration and check out the upcoming relaunch of his website for tons of fitness and nutrition tips:

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We continued our drive along the Gulf Coast and made a great stop in Gulfport, MS for lunch to see our friend Mike and meet his girlfriend Page. We met Mike last summer at Firefly Music Fest in Delaware and a weekend of being campground neighbors led to an amazing friendship. Despite our Philadelphia-New York differences on the surface, we all quickly bonded over a love of good music, good friends, shared meals, and one darling of an inflatable whale named Phillip. Just a shining example of how being genuine and putting good energy out into the world can have a wonderful ripple effect in ways both seen and unseen. A year ago I would have never thought we would have a friend to visit in Mississippi, but I am so glad to see how things turned out. Mike and Page took us to a delicious Mexican place with a beautiful view of the gulf shore and told us about some of the promising rehabilitation done in the area since Katrina. It was a quick stop but one that I’m so happy we made.

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Before continuing to head west along the gulf, we made one more stop in Bay Saint Louis to see the amazing tree below. This tree stood tall and saved the lives of three people and a dog during Hurricane Katrina and has since been preserved and intricately carved with the likenesses of angels. A beautiful story and an amazing work of art.

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Stay tuned for updates soon on our trip to New Orleans!