In 2006, I was ready to leave Tallahassee for a home in either the panhandle beaches or Indiana...talk about your polar opposites. I decided that with the cost of real estate on the coast and the lack of a support network there it would be best to move north. So we set out in December with a contract for the sale of our house pending and moved to Fishers, Indiana. It turned out to be one of the snowiest, coldest Decembers central Indiana had seen in a long time.
We endured four of those blustery winters before packing up and heading back south. Fortunately for us, Aunt Sarah had a vacant condo ready to take us in, so we found our way 1,100 miles from Fishers to Fort Myers Beach. It was a long, two-day trip with our two girls, two dogs and everything we could cram into a small Volvo sedan. We made it to Manatee Beach near Anna Maria Island by sunset the second day. It was a glorious sunset to welcome us back to the Gulf Coast!
Our original intent was to settle in the Bradenton area, just inland from Manatee Beach. We actually hunted for jobs and houses up there until school began in early August. By then, we were falling head-over-heels in love with Fort Myers Beach and it's small town charm. We quickly shifted our focus to finding a reasonably-priced rental on the island and jobs that would help us afford it. Best decision we've made in a LONG time...and only about 5 years overdue.
I was just looking over this blog, and it was May 15, 2006, when I stated that " I will live at the beach one day." What a crazy prophecy that came true this last year!
All of the descriptions of Destin and Panama City in that May 2006 blog are perfectly applicable to where I live now, except I think the white gulf sands down this way are finer and softer to the touch. I call our beaches "baby powder" because that's what it feels like under your feet in the coolness of a December morning. It's not the scratchy, golden, Atlantic Coast sand that feels like sandpaper between your cheeks. I think the baby powder sand is how a beach just to our south got its name--Barefoot Beach...but watch out for shells. This is a great place to find them, and when you walk closer to the shoreline, you'll crunch them under your barefeet.
The reasons I am so partial to the Gulf are the calm, warm waters and the absolutely glorious sunsets. The only other place I could ever see myself is in the Florida Keys. I think that once I get bored with the sunsets here, I'll make that move further south. Then, one day, you'll read my blog about how that self-fulfilling prophecy came true.
To say that I have adapted to island life is an understatement. I think that I was predestined to live here. My blood pressure has always been on the lower end of normal and I seem to move fluidly to the rhythm of island life. It's a slower pace that I intend to maintain for another 40+ years.