I don't know what it is about Florida that attracts me here. Perhaps it's the way I'm reminded of space travel and humanity's quest for exploration and pushing boundaries. Perhaps it's the constant reminder of flight by the birds and small airplanes that always seem to be circling and flying overhead.
Or maybe it's the way everything always seems green and reminds me of tropical places, or perhaps it's all the long, straight, and well cared for roads.
Perhaps it's how whenever I'm here it feels easy to blend in, like a tourist among so many other tourists, in a country that feels familiar, on a coast that holds enough cultural similarities to my northeastern roots to make me feel at home.
Perhaps it's the way things sound, the way construction projects and big trucks seem mostly absent and the chatter of birds somewhere in a nearby tree creates a background for the consistently flat landscape, creating what acoustically feels like a gigantic empty room with a blue ceiling dotted by the occasional cloud.
Or maybe it's the way the beach feels, the way I can walk around for hours dragging my feet in the warm ocean at the beginning or end of the day, even during the height of tourist season, and still not feel crowded or claustrophobic but rather invited, embraced, calmed, and welcome.
It's comfortable here and the more time I spend in Florida the more I understand why this is such a common place for retirement within the United States. Beaches here are plentiful. Warmth and sun is abundant. Sidewalks look new. Roads and landscapes are well cared for and the breeze always seems to blow at just the right time.
Whenever it becomes known to me that I will soon be leaving a place, possibly not to return, I always take some time to contemplate whether or not I've been able to capture the essence of the place.
Have I been able to capture the essence of Florida? That's seems hard to say. In the past year, I have spent nearly eight months living here and yet I still feel a longing to remain. Does this pull extend from laziness or from contentment?
Instead of waiting around to find out, I will continue traveling.