[looking at old photo of a school class, speaking to students] They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary.
-Robin Williams as Professor John Keating, Dead Poets Society
I was going to save writing this for later, however I'm writing it now so people stop freaking out about me. No, I am not dead. I am alive and well for the most part. Physically I'm fine. Emotionally I'm somewhere between elated and going into shock. But I'm fit enough to write on my web site, so I guess that means I'm okay.
Right now I am staying at a hotel somewhere in Florida. I say "somewhere" because I'm not exactly sure what town I'm in. However, I do know where I'll be going tomorrow - and that'll be Tampa. I just got a lease on a very tiny little studio apartment over there. It may be small, but it's mine.
Over the course of the next few days and thereon I will be acclimating myself to the area. So far I like it. Here a palm tree, there a palm tree. I like palm trees. In New England you never get to see those. They're interesting - especially when the wind is blowing through them. They just seem to have a very distinct sound when that happens. Very calming but at the same time a bit on the eerie side - only because I'm not used to it.
I'm elated because I am 100% out of New England. For good. Florida weather is obviously very nice, the people are well tempered, the roads are better and of course there's the aforementioned palm trees. I am happy to be here.
I'm going into shock because I just did the following:
- Packed everything I own into my truck - by myself.
- Drove 1500+ (not a misprint) miles from Maine to Florida - solo. That's a two-day trip. I did it in a little over one. Now I know what a truckers do day in and day out. I passed through every state on the East Coast of the USA with the exception of Rhode Island. For those keeping score, that's Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and finally half way through Florida to the town of Tampa. Twelve-and-a-half states. That, dear readers, is one long-ass drive.
- Grabbed an apartment the day after I arrived in Florida.
...and that's where I am now. Well, tomorrow because that's when I move into my new place. In my next article or two I will post some photos I took and write about the more pleasant parts of the journey. You could say I did a cross-country trip, but "cross" usually means from east to west and vice versa. I went north to south. Regardless of what direction I traveled, I'm fairly certain that no one would argue that I did travel the classic definition of cross-country.
I am also in the in shock mode because I know absolutely no one here. Not a soul. It will be up to me to make do and hash it out as best I can. I am walking the high wire with no net to speak of.
Some people who read this might think I'm crazy. Others might be envious. Maybe your opinion is somewhere in the middle. Maybe not. Maybe you have no opinion at all. I'm not the boss of you.
Regardless of what you may think, over the past few days I have definitely lived. Carpe Diem. I got out there and thensome. Yee-haw indeed.
Now the Big Question: Why did I move to Florida?
The obvious reasons:
- More sunshine (proven, even scientifically, to make one happier and feel more centered)
- Better opportunity (more jobs, more choice of jobs)
- No state income tax (hallelujah)
- No snow (I threw out the ice scraper I had in my truck)
The not-so-obvious reasons:
I thought, incorrectly, that I would be able to start my life over in Maine. Wrong. It was a step backwards. I went from the least known area of CT to an even lesser known area of Maine. It also doesn't help that the entire state shuts down for five months out of the year (November thru April) due to snow and hunting season. I'm not particularly fond of snow and I don't hunt. Double whammy.
I needed to be somewhere that was completely different from where I was, and Florida was it. Maine and Florida are as different as night and day. I wanted to stay on the east coast of the USA and go somewhere that would present me with some more options, and I wanted to do it alone - which I did.
So anyway... tomorrow I focus on moving into my new place, getting the phone turned on, learning the layout of the land and so on. Thanks to my trusty GPS, getting around is easy. I would say that even those without GPS wouldn't have too much of a hard time figuring Tampa out. Everything is laid out in a straightforward pattern. The only thing I consider "shocking" is the 70mph speed limit on I-75. That takes some getting used to.
Once I get used to everything, I'm just going to settle in and take it easy for a while, work work work, pay some bills and so on. I think I've earned it. 😉