Apologies in advance for the length of this. Haven't written in awhile and now I have inspiration.
Transitioning into full-time travel has led to daily realizations about what we like, what we don't, how we work best together, what habits and patterns transfer from our previous life and which don't. Living here in a quiet corner of Florida is a great place to figure some of these things out.
Meeting Matt LaShay
First, for any of you that have been pronouncing this town Matt-latch-a (emphasis on latch - as most English speakers would) let me set you straight. Its Matt-La-Shay (emphasis on La like La Vida Loca). We think it sounds like a baseball or more likely a Canadian Hockey player that way but so be it. That's how the locals like it. And for the record, like any mostly rural/locals area (yes the snow birds invade here like an invasive species but they are mostly gone now) there are the Hatfields and the McCoys. Those on Matt LaShay, sorry I just can't think of it any other way now, and those on Pine Island, their larger neighbor, don't like each other much. Never mind we can't tell the difference, apparently they can. That being said they are all totally helpful and friendly and fill out the local watering holes with great company. Sometimes this feels more like Central America or the Caribbean. It's just not all pretty, spanky new, squeakily clean, cookie cutter like some of Florida. It feels real. And we can just be real here, too.
Keep it Between the Navigational Bouys
When going somewhere for the first time, it's always easier and more fun getting home (or going there the next time). This goes for the Winn DIxie, the Bait shop, and definitely any destination by Jet Ski. And yes, I am the navigator by land and by sea. Captain Scott is in charge of getting us there safely and I'm in charge of getting us there at all! This is VERY good practice for the travels ahead. I choose the destinations and the route and Scott executes. It's working well so far and I am hopeful practice will lead us to be more adventurous the first time out. Many places we travel on this trip we will only go to once so the first time needs to be enjoyable and not stressful. As we learn to read the "navigational bouys" better, it will get easier. It's definitely learning a new skill or more like perfecting an old one.
Here are a few destinations by sea:
Picnic Island 2
Cold Beer! Captain Con's
Captain Cons Bookelia
Fishing Pier Bookelia
And by land:
Low Key Tiki
It's good to cook at home. Not only does it save money but it makes me happy. I like to cook. I like to go to the market. It makes where we are feel like home. It is healthier and we do eat less but those are really side benefits to me. And the fresh food here is outstanding! Fresh fish, shrimp, mangos...
Yum! Fresh Shrimp
Mangove Islands look the same everywhere.
On our jet ski, on our kayaks, on our paddle boards, when we're out in the mangrove islands, we could be in Bocas del Toro Panama or Matt LaShay Florida. Always awesome beauty and home to birds GALORE. I do love them.
Paddle Boarding and Kayaking Matlacha
Kayaking with Marcy and Cadeau
Barnacles are sharp EVERYWHERE.
This is just TRUE. Keep it in mind. You would think we would know this after years bandaging people's feet at the Cove but no. As I write this Scott has bandaids on fingers and I have bandaids on feet. Lesson (re)learned.
One should ask if it's safe to swim BEFORE swimming.
So off our dock I've been swimming, like at the Cove (or anywhere else I end up near water for that matter). At night, after dark, Scott has been hearing these "really big fish" jumping in the water. Well today when the handyman stopped by the house we have for a minor repair, we found out what those big fish are. SHARKS! He recommended not swimming in these waters. Ummm yeah! Would have been good to know. Think I'll stick to watching sunsets!
Sunset from Our Back Porch
And another sunset
Florida is still fun even in the rain. It started POURING last night at Micela's while we were all out listening to the band and having dinner but oh well...the sun does come back out.
Isn't she the cutest?!
There's the sun again
Finding Housing is - well - HILARIOUS
We've spent some time here booking places for our travels to and in South Dakota as well as for next winter in Mexico. Today we rented a "Tiny House" in Custer SD for $110 a night and a four bedroom house with ocean views outside La Paz Mexico for $47 a night! Finding ANY PLACE to stay that was in budget in Hill City, SD was not possible - who would have thought?! Branson Missouri is also proving problematic. I guess Silver Dollar City and the Titanic Museum are bigger draws than I thought. I've considered renting a teepee, a cabin with an outhouse, and a place literally called Mom and Pop's Motel. You'll have to wait and see where we actually end up.
But for now, we're just...
Hanging in Matt LaShay