It was 39 years ago this week when I packed up my old jeep with all my worldly goods, a lot more than I have now, had one final fight with my old man, and headed south escaping the wintry cold of Pa. to start a new life in Florida. I had wanted to go there for a long time and finally made the decision to go as opposed to going back to Delaware and shoveling shit for another summer.
For 39 years I got into all sorts of adventures in the Sunshine State. Learned to scuba dive, rode deadly Harleys across the land, kayaked for the elusive but tasty redfish, lived on a sailboat in the Florida Keys, and traveled all over the state. There have been very few corners of Florida I haven’t seen from Pensacola to Jacksonville and points south. I’ve been over it, under it, across it, and wrote about it. I met a lot of interesting people along the way, good and bad. Got to do a lot of things I always wanted to do. Failed more than a few times but don’t we all. Broke the hearts of a few wimmen, pissed off a helluva lot more, and managed to remain single.
I never got rich, at least not in the monetary sense. I changed careers frequently, never settling into much of anything. I owned a couple of pieces of property but it never seemed like the right thing to do. Survived more than a few hurricanes over the years. Befriended and took care of at least a dozen cats and I still miss them all. Got to see many wonderful natural things from manatees to coral reefs and witness their decline as overdevelopment continues to swallow up the state. I learned many things from how to breathe under water to the computer skills which I use to this day. And best of all, I was finally able to adopt a minimalist way of life. It was a memorable 4 decades of living someplace I had always dreamed of.
And yesterday, it ended.
I am officially a citizen of Hawaii.
Finally, after much strife and stress, I managed to get all the paperwork and frog hair straightened out, and got my Hawaii driver’s license. For better or worse, I am here for the long term.
I had reservations about making the switch. 39 years in Florida with everything I did there and all the memories, I’ll admit I got a bit homesick. I still look at boat and rv ads and think about moving back, but more and more, Hawaii draws me in. Everything out here just seems to be falling into place. The drivers license was the big hang up and now it’s taken care of. I only have some minor ties with Florida to sever which I can do by mail.
It’s not to say I won’t go back to Florida nor can’t. Should some disaster befall me out here, it’s not a big deal to return and start anew. Knowing now what I know regarding the drivers license, I could make the switch back, but for now, I will be content to remain out here in the middle of the Pacific. This is my new home and I want to make it work. 6 months is only a very small sampling of what life is like out here. It will be interesting to see what adventures await this old Captain. Whether it will be more better or not, who knows. I see more options for living out here. I’m getting the food budget under control. No need for a vehicle. I even got health insurance, something which was a nightmare back in Florida.
I’ll still travel, something I will never tire of. Owning property out here will probably never happen. Living on a boat is a rarity and the more I look back on boat living and the fact I’m 62 now, I’m not too sure I want to put up with all the work needed to keep a boat floating and in livable condition. It’s kinda nice to have a place where I don’t have to do much more than sweep the floor, scrub the toilet, and do the laundry now and then.
There are many things I would like to do out here and back on the mainland. How many of said things I will actually do? Well, if it happens fine, if not fine. I’m good either way. At least I made it out here. Another life’s goal achieved.
So for now, I bid a fond farewell to Florida. It was a great adventure spending 39 years there. It will always have special place in my life. But, it’s time to move on. Even more greater adventures await. Feel free to come along.