The Blog of Jake Kelfer
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Going from the heart of New York to the swamps of Gainesville, FL was quite a shock. After spending two weeks in one of the busiest cities in the world, I found myself in one of the most chill cities I’ve ever been to.
My trip to Florida could not have been a better experience and that’s not including how great the weather was. It was about 75 and sunny for most of the trip :) When I went to Florida I knew it was going to be mellower than other parts of Elevate America, and I was completely okay with that.
I spent most of my time in Gainesville with one of my best friends Max and it was awesome hanging out with him. Max is one of my childhood best friends and is in the acknowledgments of Elevate Beyond. Max is one of those people who just knows how to make you feel good.
Several people asked me why I chose to visit Gainesville, FL for a few weeks. My response to them outside of staying with one of my best friends was because it was so central to other parts of Florida.
I knew I would be able to spend quality time with Max and meet his friends, but I also knew it would be a good home base to be able to travel to other parts of Florida where I had meetings.
I also had a presentation coming up in December that I really wanted to dominate so I thought Florida would be an easy place to have time for myself and be able to practice.
I was correct and Gainesville provided me exactly what I needed. I ended up taking day trips to Bradenton, Tampa, Orlando, and Lakeland. I wanted to get to Tallahassee to visit FSU and Jacksonville, but the schedule didn’t permit it.
While I was in Gainesville, I had the chance to do some pretty fun things. The football stadium at University of Florida which is also known as The Swamp is open to the public, so Max and I would go do workouts in the stadium. I thought this was pretty awesome.
Even better than being able to workout in the stadium, I was able to see two football games and one basketball game. I don’t think I was a good luck charm for Florida as they won one and lost two, but hey I still had a great time.
Another cool thing that we got to do was play basketball. Max lived down the street from an elementary school so after school was out we had the chance to play a few times. Unfortunately, I reinjured my back one of the first times we played so I had to take it easy for the rest of the trip. Even with the back injury we were still able to shoot around and chat.
Some of my best conversations come on the basketball court and this trip was no different. We talked about everything in life during our time on the court.
There were so many interesting experiences in Florida, but I’m already a week behind in this article so I’ll finish by sharing two more.
When Max lived in Santa Clarita, I was really close with his parents. If we weren’t hanging at my house, we were at his house. So, for the first time in my life, I had Thanksgiving elsewhere. I shared the holiday with Max and his family at his parents’ house and it was superb. I missed being at home with my family, but I was so grateful to have the Sommer’s welcome me into their home. Shoutout to Steve and Aud for the hospitality!
We also had the chance to go out with them several times which brought back great memories from growing up.
I said at the beginning of this trip that I wanted to experience different cultures and meet people from all over. Well, Florida was one of the best places for me to do this because we were in a college town. Max introduced me to a lot of his friends and I even made some friends that I plan on staying in touch with. I also got to meet his girlfriend for the first time in three years. She was just as awesome as I expected!
There’s so much more to share, but for now, Gainesville, FL will go down as another amazing stop on the journey of Elevate America.