Exactly one year after starting on our road trip through the West and Canada, we drove from the D.C. area down to Key West (the Jeep was hanging out in a family friend's barn while we were in Europe). The drive down was long and not exactly fun. I think we were both tired of traveling and just wanted to be somewhere for a little while, and the long drive was another obstacle in the way of getting somewhere. The car was so full that driving was slightly more difficult, and we were both worried about getting into an accident. Even when it's empty, the Jeep is a little wonky at high speeds. The stop at the Waffle House didn't help matters either. But, we are here now.
After three days in Key West, I am very surprised by how much I like it. My idea of paradise has always been a cabin with a wood-burning fireplace high in the mountains with a nearby meadow and a cold, clear stream out back. I am now living in the paradise of the Parrottheads. But, I like it here... a lot. Especially the "whatever" island mentality. Really, what is there not to like about island life? The hurricanes, maybe.
On my morning runs along the Atlantic, I have begun to play a little game with the locals I pass (really I am the only one playing or even amused by it). One of the many things distinguishing locals here from tourists is how quickly they wish you a good morning, day, or evening. I try to be just as quick with my greetings now. If I am first to greet a passerby, the response is always a bigger smile and a heartier "good morning" than if I merely respond to their "good morning." Big smiles in the morning while watching the sun rise from the ocean makes the rest of the run, and the day, just awesome.