It’s been over a year since I left my home of 30 years, San Francisco, and I have yet to put down any permanent roots. Officially, home is in Tennessee, but I’ve been spending lots of time in New England, took a summer road trip out to Utah for a few weeks, and have found myself repeatedly drawn to Florida. I’ve always been drawn to the ocean, and the easy access to beautiful swimming beaches, warm waters, and soft sand has made Florida a serious contender for a place I think I’d like to live.Continue reading “Answering the Call of Florida”
In just under a week from now, I’ll be leaving California after having lived here for the past 38 years. With this impending move and the ample time that the COVID crisis has provided for self-reflection, I’ve been pondering my long and often complicated relationship with “The Golden State.” I’ve decided to describe how this relationship began long before I ever stepped foot in California, and how it grew and changed over the course of my life. This will be the first in a series of relatively short posts or “chapters” that focus on different periods in my relationship with California. In this first entry I’ll describe how my fascination with California began and set the stage for my eventual move to the Golden State.
In the first chapter of my California saga I recounted my childhood obsession with the Golden State and my first visits there as a teenager in April and June of 1975. A year later I graduated from high school and began attending a local university only a few miles from home in Massachusetts. Therefore, the California Dream was relegated to a back burner for awhile.Continue reading “A Golden State of Mind: Chapter 2 – Southern California”
In Chapter 2, I described my first few years in southern California. After two years of living in Newport Beach and a painfully boring stint at an apartment in Irvine itself, I was ready to make a move.Continue reading “A Golden State of Mind: Chapter 3 – The Cowboy Years”
This is the final chapter of my story about my “relationship” with California. It’s been several months since I posted Chapter 3 and I procrastinated in finishing it because it’s not the most uplifting part of the story and I have a hunch that things I say will put some people off. But today is the one year anniversary of my departure from California and this seemed like the right time to finish the tale and close the book.Continue reading “A Golden State of Mind: Chapter 4 – The San Francisco Years”
When I’d cover the topic of hurricanes in the course on Natural Disasters that I taught for many years at my former university, I’d sometimes joke that these storms seemed to have an uncanny knack, an amazing ability to aim for highly vulnerable mobile home parks. Well, not unlike a Category 5 hurricane, I recently cut a swath across Florida’s midsection from the Gulf to the Atlantic, and while mobile home parks remained safe and untouched, every highly rated restaurant on tripadvisor.com was directly in my path. Hurricane Matt, the first unofficial storm of the 2021 Hurricane Season, left his mark on the Sunshine State. Let’s retrace the path of this culinary storm.Continue reading “Hurricane Matt: The Unusual Storm That Ate Its Way Across Florida”
It was about 6PM when I arrived at my AirBnB rental in Pensacola Beach, located at the far western end of the Florida Panhandle. It was raining as I dragged my luggage up three flights of stairs on an outside stairwell. Only later did I discover that there was an elevator in the building! A cold wind bore down upon me, nearly ripping the glass storm door from its hinges as I fought to type in the key code to get into my apartment. It was 44 degrees and the weather report was calling for lows in the mid-20s that night. This was not exactly the way I’d envisioned my winter getaway to sunny Florida to begin.Continue reading “A Month of “Panhandling”: An Idyllic Stay in Pensacola Beach, Florida”
If you’re like me, the LAST thing you probably want to read about at this point is anything related to COVID. And yet, we also all know that it is an unavoidable topic of conversation, whether we like it or not. Rest assured that this will ultimately be a travel blog, but I really can’t tell the tale without bringing up the pandemic.
When I made my initial decision to move out of California almost two years ago, it seemed like an eternity before I would actually be leaving. But time sneaks up on us, and in the strange time warp that the COVID crisis has created, weeks and months have run together and made a lot of us lose track of time. I should have used my time more constructively while I was sheltering in place to clear out my apartment after 29 years of living there, but I procrastinated and due to the crisis, I kept pushing back my date of departure from May 31, to June 15, to June 30, to July 7 and that gave me the sense that I had all the time in the world. All I can say to those of you who have lived in one place for a long time and are thinking of moving anytime within the next 50 years, is “Start TODAY!” Let me be your cautionary tale.Continue reading “Escape from San Francisco and the COVID Road Trip”