I’ve been pondering how to explain my choice of Florida in May, as well as the bizarre month it has certainly been. So, join me for this Q&A as I spend much needed time with myself:
What possessed you to head to Vero Beach in May?
When I booked this non-refundable stay in March, my thinking was that it would be the off-season and real estate would be affordable. Yes, I’d decided that the next 5 years would be spent in a small box in Florida for the winter while continuing to travel my “dream list” the remaining 6-7 months. With tent camping near obsolete south of Orlando, it seemed time to empty the storage unit and have an address that offered Medicare Advantage plans (yes, I said that out loud).
Who could predict that this would be an unrecognizable real estate market? Having been burned on the last go around, there’s no way I’m stepping into this absurdity. Also adding to my change of heart is the current Civil War which is weighing heavily upon me now that I’ve dropped south of the Richmond, Virginia line. My interest in committing to the USA is quite low at this point.
So, have you just been hanging out at the beach?
While I’ve spent most of my time outdoors on the bike seat or two feet, seeing friends, reading books, and enjoying the after 4pm peacefulness at the beach, I’ve also worked a bit, and have had a few challenges thrown my way. It is much busier here for May than I remember it from when I lived here. Friends tell me that the season just keeps getting longer with folks arriving in October and staying till June. I’m also wondering how many transplants arrived this past winter who haven’t changed license plates; maybe they’re waiting to experience their first hurricane season.
Do you think it’s safe to be in Florida now?
It’s a resounding “no” to that question in terms of Covid as Florida has held the top spot for new cases the past few weeks, and I’ve not seen a mask in sight where I’m staying, in beach restrooms, or on folks going in and out of stores. Of the 4 people I queried at my Airbnb, not one has been vaccinated (all for absurd reasons), and not one owns a mask. I’m the only person wearing a mask indoors and walking out of rooms as needed! From conversations, I’d say every area in the state is doing something different, with age, politics and common sense as influencers.
The roads seem awfully busy as well, with people in a hurry or blatantly breaking the law. I’m in distress now as my car (also known as my home) was hit on May 19th. I was driving in the curb lane when a guy took a left turn and moved over 3 lanes without looking. While I’m unable to get it fully repaired here due to parts, I’m lucky he was driving a 2020 Kia and is fully insured. Hopefully my insurance company is working some magic and fingers are crossed for the "fix" at the end of June.
So, was May simply painful?
While my visit became a moot point and it’s been hot, hot, hot, I've been getting early morning bike rides in and dips in the 76 degree aqua ocean, so that’s pretty nice. There’s also been small kindnesses from strangers that turn my bad attitude around – a flower from a fellow cyclist on Mother’s Day, a gratis blackened mahi sandwich from a grill cook at Seaside, an abundance of fun books in Free Little Library boxes, and the best one – a full safety inspection of my car at the local body shop by the owner who said, “pay it forward”.
And, of course, friends have gone out of their way to visit – Brian on a bike seat, Mark for lunch by the bay, and Jen for an early morning beach walk. So, the bottom line is I could’ve done without this stop but physically, if not mentally, I’m prepared to hit the road on the 1st and return to my tent cocoon in South Carolina.
Cyclist, writer, teacher, avid reader, bike/ped advocate, nomad, pie lover