When I first arrived I was overwhelmed by the closeness of condo living. I still refer to my house as a box in a wall and as cold storage for my belongings. The one and only benefit I discovered was there is no porch and no yard. That tremendous disparity between what I wanted, what I was accustomed to, and what I was forced to endure, forever altered my mindset into believing the entire planet was my back yard.
Within a short walk (for me) I soon discovered a tiny oasis of preservation. The Pine Island Ridge. A minuscule strip of nature left natural among the thousands of Lego like dwellings linked by the manicured, denatured, uniformity of the golf course that meanders between them and the tamed landscaping all around.
When I first arrived this pathway was my only Solace. The beach seemed miles away. Thirteen to be exact. Boo hoo right? I had lived, like most people I knew, a very small life. Work, house, BBQ pit, pool, and beach. Month after month.
In recent years I have quite literally traveled the world. I have met hundreds of people and many of them I now call friend. As my time in this dreary place draws near to a close, I thought I would take one last walk just to see how it feels. A small acknowledgement to the end of this particular chapter in my life.
First off, if you have some strange, irrational fear of spiders, don't bother. This little guy is almost as big as my hand. They get a lot bigger and you can't walk two feet without spotting one. Or if you are a mosquito magnet, spray a little OFF before venturing down this path. I can sip Tabasco off a teaspoon. I like my food hot and spicy and my blood is approaching the level of pepper spray. I assume that's why I'm seldom bit these days.
I once lived in a place with alligators, rattle snakes, scorpions in my boots, a black widow spider that shorted out the phones, and spiders way bigger than my hand. The original Florida residents. None of those creatures really bother me. I am apparently alone on this in my current area.
As I was walking the 2 mile forest path, I was struck by how little it had changed and how transformed I had become. I can remember when I first landed here years ago how lonely I was in a sea of invisible people. I could count my friends without using all my fingers and none really wanted to venture this far west. Now, just from blogging alone, I share life stories with friends as far away as Australia.
When I first walked this path I was angry at how small my world really was and I made the decision to enlarge it. My weekends were walk, read, TV, eat, sleep. My very first trips to break the cycle were London and Paris. I'm nothing if not extreme. I've also have done as much as I can locally for as cheaply as possible so that I am almost never trapped in my little box in the wall.
Ten years later I take this same path with the knowledge I did exactly what I intended. Much more adventure than I ever dreamed possible. I have no intention of stopping. Whether you take a short walk or an epic journey in your life, the choice is completely up to you.
For more photos [click here]