Discover the beauty where you are.

One of the things I have determined to do since last year is to learn to appreciate the bounty of beauty and enjoyment surrounding me. For several years I entertained the fantasy of living somewhere else. I’m not even sure where I wanted to go, but ironically losing one of the things that kept us tethered here served to strengthen my resolve to embrace where we are, and bloom where we’re planted.

The Benevolent Dictator and I have both lived here our entire lives, and every family vacation (including the few I went on as a child), had us heading either north or west. It just never occurred to…anyone I suppose, to go south. I imagine that’s because the whole point of the vacation is to leave the state.

The blooming of a friendship with a woman who is not a Florida native started me to thinking last year about how much there is to see and do right here. She loves it here, waxes on about the natural beauty, rich history, historic sites, and piqued my interest in this place where I have always lived, yet know little about. Teaching a Florida history class this year was also instrumental in my new appreciation for our not so “southern” southernmost state.

Recently, we decided to head south rather than wait until summer to head to the mountains, and we are very glad that we did. If there is any place in the United States even remotely as beautiful as the Florida Keys, or with as rich an environment as the Everglades, I would be surprised.

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Passed through Florida cattle country on the scenic route back home:

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The goal for 2017 is to see a host of places from the panhandle on down that we have pretty much ignored in the desire to see the world outside of our own backyard. I didn’t even realize how beautiful our backyard is. Not to mention it’s a much cheaper way to vacation.

Discover the beauty right where you are.

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