Saying goodbye to a really cool place is like saying goodbye to a loved one. Quick back story: I came down to the Keys to visit friends two years ago. It was a very short trip. There… now you know the back story.
I left St. Petersburg in January, a place that I had become used to. Despite having traveled so much last year, I quickly connected to St. Petersburg and it became a safe place for me. Not referring to the “safe space” movement here. I am simply saying that I had become comfortable there. I had normalized my life to be there and leaving it was then like leaving home (again.) My thoughts? In a word, exciting. But in a deeper sense, and the one I am driving at here, “scary.” I once again left everything I had come to know and become comfortable with to strike out into a place I knew very little about. “But that’s what you wanted right?” Yes, that has been the theme of my life for the last year. Leave the comfort zone behind…. Doesn’t mean it is easy to do. Especially when you like your surroundings and the people you are with.
I knew St. Petersburg was different and I needed to move on. Things changed for me and I knew, deep down, it was time for me to hit the road. So, Fl. Keys bound and ready to start sipping margaritas by the pool…. not so fast. First of all, I only drink socially… or to quench my thirst. Second of all, I didn’t have a pool waiting for me. I had far better, an Ocean. I quickly adapted to my new environment in the Keys. I had friends here, spread out over several islands. I made some new friends, awesome people who I care about and will miss. I got established (by keys standards anyway) and quickly set up a new sense of ‘this is where I live now.’ I knew that it wouldn’t last, as I have been planning another grand journey across North America. That being said, I also knew that my stay in the Keys would last longer than a few weeks, so I began to sync up and establish my daily routine.
It’s amazing how we, as humans, can get so used to routine. It doesn’t matter how transient we may be, we still establish routines. I guess that is our brain trying to find comfort when we are in such an unknown situation? Either way, I am now leaving yet again. And it isn’t easy. I have to admit, I have grown fond of this little string of islands. It is so warm and inviting. The ocean is so vast and I have not had enough time swimming and exploring it. I feel like I need more time with my friends here. The idea of leaving them is a bummer. So many things I feel like I haven’t done… but I have. I have done so much in my time down here it surprises me. I have really enjoyed my time in the Keys and it was a perfect start to The Ultimate Road Trip of 2017! I am beyond excited for what lies ahead of me.
I will miss this place and will definitely return someday….