I had planned to go to Key West for January. I heard it was warm there. Almost everyone to whom I have mentioned Key West makes it sound like a magical place.
I have gotten involved in a project that is keeping me in Birmingham until at least January 20 and I have to be back in Birmingham in time to fly to Ecuador on February 15. Key West is 1000 miles from Birmingham. If Walden and I take a week to get down and a week to get back, that leaves me only a week to see what life in Key West is like. Sure, I could make the trip in less time, but that would mean that I’d be rushed and not able to enjoy the parts of Florida between here and there. I don’t like feeling rushed.
After six months on the road I am tired of continual motion. With the exception of a few extended stays at friends’ houses, I have rarely stayed in the same place two nights in a row, and almost never talked to the same person two days in a row. Now, the idea of several weeks in one spot has great appeal.
What I need is to go home. The problem is, other than Walden, I don’t have a home. Furthermore, don’t want one. I am not ready to be tied down to a house, furniture, or even a full kitchen. What I do want is to stay in one place for a while in my own space. When I am hanging out with friends and family it seems downright silly, and almost rude, to stay in Walden when I am welcome inside, in a bed, with ready access to plumbing. Oh, and you know what else? It’s cold. That was why I was headed to Key West.
Continuing to stay in Knoxville or Birmingham, surrounded by people who love me doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like living in a van. It feels like being unemployed and worthless, even as I am working to set up a business and, maybe, write a book. It feels like squandering an opportunity.
So rather than a whirlwind tour of the whole of the Florida peninsula, I’m headed to a familiar spot on the panhandle, Hogtown Bayou. That’s in Choctawhatchee Bay, near Grayton, betwixt Destin and Panama City. Sure, I’ll still be freeloading, staying in a family member’s current vacant vacation home, but I will be in my own little space and can stay long enough to–I hope–meet some people that I see more than once. I have a few projects I’m going to work on while I’m there, things I want to get done before I head to Ecuador.
I should probably start learning some Spanish.