Just 10 days ago, I landed at The Hillsboro Club, a gorgeous private residence club on 15 acres in Hillsboro Beach, Florida. The "town" (population 2,000) is actually a 3.2-mile strip along A1A and the only main public road. Geographically, I'm halfway between Fort Lauderdale and Boca Raton, so I'm really enjoying the weather for cycling, and the 78 degree ocean for walks along the shore.
That said, I'm also at the start of a full-time seasonal job as front desk associate, a position I have never held. The front desk is "command central" so quite hectic, and the Club is member owned so "no" is not a word in anyone's vocabulary. Going from nearly 6 months of total freedom, to a 4-shift position that I am learning anew is quite an awakening.
Tomorrow, I work my first graveyard shift, and I am wondering how much coffee I will need to consume to stay awake all night. There is no predicting my survival rate. Luckily, I am living (cheaply) on property so I don't have to commute, and I am quite enjoying my private room, the unlimited amount of good food at every meal, and the people who visit and work here.
SIDEBAR: I am NOT moving here and I do NOT have a change of address to Florida. My Maryland address is where I get mail (except packages); my gmail account is my only email; my cell phone number is the same. All remains as it was two years ago and nomadism continues into 2017.
I've been traveling south for the past two weeks, with stops in three states, as I head toward this year's seasonal job. All three "pauses" were new locations for me, so indeed, new adventures, too! The days were warm but the nights were challenging in the Carolinas as it hit low 40s, and we did the clock change.
My first stop, Carolina Beach, NC was at a lovely campground with friendly people. While it's a fairly small state park (600+ acres), it's a little oasis on Cape Fear, and near the oceanfront. Once you leave the gate, however, civilization is right at you, though safe cycling brought me south to some beautiful spots.
Next stop, Murrell's Inlet, SC at a state park that caters more to the RV crowd (just 6 tent sites), but offers 2500+ acres, walking trails, 3 miles of oceanfront, and a tour of Atalaya ("watchtower"). This former winter home of Archer and Anna Huntington is a structure only at this point, but the story of the building of this "castle" during the depression, and their personal story is quite interesting.
My final few nights in the tent for a while have been enjoyable (warm days and nights!), as I'm at Faver-Dykes State Park, just 15 miles south of St. Augustine, FL. The campground is delightful with just 30 sites, and thanks to a nearly 2 mile, sandy and narrow road in, the "big bus" RVs simply don't come here! It's quite peaceful and feels like Old Florida with deer, wild turkeys, and over 100 bird species. I'm waking up to the sounds of mother nature each morning.
Just 24 hours to go before I hit the Florida that Carl Hiassen satirizes oh-so-well! Onward!
While I continue to struggle with a return to "civilization", I thought I'd really challenge myself with a flash to the past. From a country house in the woods of Pennsylvania, I flew out of BWI to work a 5-day technology event in San Antonio. The resort was gorgeous, the food fab, and it was good to see familiar faces from my event production days while meeting a few new compadres. That said, the airport experience (it's been 3.5 years since I've flown), the 14-hour days, and the constant intrusion of technology (phone and tablet always in hand), just about did me in! Sometimes technology does NOT make life easier!
From here, some semblance of myself arrived late one night at the door of a dear friend in Easton, Maryland (yes, the old stomping ground). With business to take care of, stuff to check, and many friends to see over just 5 days, it was a hurried visit. Nevertheless, I still fit in a few bike rides to revisit my favorite routes on the Shore. It was fun, and great to be greeted with open arms by many, many people.
As winter returns, I'm journeying south as I must be warm! Three stops to make before this year's "seasonal job" puts me in a whole new universe. Stay tuned!
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover