That was a new one to me, but I can understand what he meant. Yes, many people move to beautiful southwest Florida from all over the country and beyond to retire, but many more move here for good before they reach that stage of their life. Statistically, the population in Florida over 65 and under 18 are both around 20%, which goes against most preconceived ideas of Florida that I've encountered. The average age is 42, apparently. I understand heat and humidity aren’t for everyone. But we fall into the category of preferring warmth over the New England winters and decided to make a go of it as year-round residents even though we are nowhere near retirement.
Prior to moving, I hadn’t spent too much time here. Years ago, we had a family vacation in the Orlando area, including all the attractions at the time - Disney, Busch Gardens, Wet n Wild. Now, my mother is a ’Snowbird’, and while I had been down to visit a few times, we usually didn’t leave the air-conditioned house for anything other than the grocery store or takeout. My experience here was limited, to say the least, but my husband’s even more so. He had never set foot south of the Mason Dixon until this past October with the exception of New Orleans, so it’s all new to him.
Fortunately, his job was remote before Covid 19 descended upon the world. I was furloughed from my job at the end of March when Massachusetts went into shutdown. By October, we had decided it might be a good time to relocate. Moving over the holidays maybe wasn’t the best idea, but that’s just how it worked out. The timing seemed good to make a change, especially as my weather-obsessed friends started discussing the upcoming winter, predicted to be especially brutal this year. (I think that’s what they say every year…)
We bought a building lot in North Port and found a house to rent in Venice mere feet from the Myakka River while we work on all the things involved in building a home here. Not just a house. We’ve been exploring the nearby islands and beaches, digging into the local food scene, wandering garden stores and nurseries tucked away in Punta Gorda, Englewood, North Port, and beyond. There’s just so much to see and discover. And yes, we have an evacuation plan for a flood or hurricane, just in case. We’ll see how that experience compares to shoveling snow and black ice.
No regrets, except for maybe selling the kayaks before we left Rhode Island. Then again, the idea of kayaking around alligators is rather terrifying. The sunsets are unreal. As an avid gardener, I never realized there are so many different kinds of palms. What I grew as houseplants grow wild outdoors in this zone. There are so many unfamiliar species of birds next to flocks of very familiar Robins that have flown south. I have seen an American Bald Eagle nearly every day. Geckos and fire ant hills are everywhere you look. Plus, Armadillos, wild boars snuffling in the soil about six feet from the highway, and our first sighting of a Manatee in the river about twenty feet from our new lanai. Amazing! I have so much to learn.
That brings me back to blogging. It was a big move. I want to keep my friends in the loop, just in case they decide to visit or even make the move as well. The process of building a house with tropical landscaping is entirely new to us, and I’m sure it’ll be an adventure. Discovering new things is fun! My husband introduced me to this new platform, Publish0x, and I must say I’m intrigued, inspired, and motivated to share this experience. I know for sure there will be an entire post about the tacos alone around here…