I'm not sure what day it is, but I do know that January is passing by, and I'm still not feeling grounded in 2018. Yet, during the past few weeks, I've had an interesting agenda with dear friends and new acquaintances, have lived in three counties in South Florida, experienced four different sleeping arrangements, and sketched out my travel thoughts for the next few months.
After escaping the ice age, I spent a week at an AirBnb in Boca Raton with a few millennials who couldn't hold a conversation with a woman my age. But, it didn't matter much as I was less than a mile from the beach, it was warm, I had two bikes and two legs, and was busily enjoying revisiting Delray, along with a friend or two.
From Boca, I returned to the beach hostel in Fort Lauderdale that I found four or more years ago. Yes, I headed south to stay warm as the weather has been up and down, but certainly not coat weather where I'm living. During my week in the "women's bunk room," I was the only person from the US of A, so it appears the weak dollar is attracting many Europeans and South Americans. While I enjoyed the company (including some familiar faces), my sweet little hostel (the only game in town) has become overpriced, and (as a result?) has lost its community feeling. There were far too many one-nighters passing through enroute to elsewhere. However, I did get to use my French (merci, Manuelle!), and really enjoyed visits with two local friends I now see annually.
Next up, was an unexpected WorkAway experience! Four years ago (almost to the day), I spent a few days west of Lauderdale on a volunteer stint instructing and doing interior painting. Lo and behold, Brandee emailed to ask if I would return as her home continues to be an evolving project. So, I did, and enjoyed a private room & bath, catching up on our lives, and joining her "healthy chicks" group for some social time. The work? Interior painting!
I've now been back in my tent along the St. Lucie River for a nearly 2-week stint. With that, life is starting to feel normal again as I wake with the sun and fall asleep to hooting owls. Many neighbors are in place for weeks so there's a pleasant feeling of community here, and I've been enjoying both the company and solo time by bike, foot, or with a good book. I'm feeling pretty relaxed right about now, in fact.
So, you thought I was just soaking up the sun, didn't you? At week's end, I will move to my favorite town in Florida - Sebastian - where I'll be spending February in a variety of locations, and consciously beginning thoughts of 2018!
While it's indeed the 6th day of 2018, I'm not ready to take the plunge into the new year just yet. It feels like the holidays still need a wrap up, and I'm certainly ill-prepared to make decisions on nearly everything. I'd say discombobulated best describes my state at the moment.
Traveling to New England for the holidays was a challenge, to say the least. I'm also accustomed to flying solo so living in multiple people's lives was a feat in itself. And, of course, too much eating and drinking occurred. I should be arrested for the sheer quantity of shrimp I consumed in a two-week period. But, there were 28 of us for Christmas dinner, nearly all three generations of the family, and it was a delightful, too-quickly-over day. There was also singing on Christmas Eve (with and without cocktails), stockings hung by the chimney, a few memorable visits with friends, much avoidance of politics, and just a few spats.
The greatest occurrence of all, of course, was the longest stretch of the coldest weather I can recall in my life, capped with 4:30 darkness. In 15 days, I did not go out once to move my body; not a simple walk. This is an inhumane life, yet my travel karma had me out of New England the day before the "bomb cyclone" hit! Still, I'm taking LL Bean's motto (above) to heart for 2018. While it has nothing to do with brand loyalty, it has everything to do with how, where and when I choose to travel in the still-to-come new year. At the moment, I'm enjoying moving in the warm sun of South Florida.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover