A few years back, I was driving through a small town somewhere in New Mexico, where there was an apparently prominent real estate agent named Wendy Golightly. I wrote at the time that her signs, which were everywhere, made me really happy. Each time I saw her name I felt like it was encouraging me to take my time and enjoy my travels.
I’ve been thinking about that lately because last week, I noticed a number of Facebook posts wishing me a “Happy Forth of July.” I’m adding that to my list of the most satisfying typos ever, because I think that should be a real thing: a holiday dedicated entirely to going forth, where everybody goes outside and does something they wouldn’t normally do.
(That makes me think of those Levi’s commercials, which is where I stole the image above…I tried to find a picture of Wendy Golightly, but no luck.)
I spent my Fourth with friends in Myakka, dodging thunderstorms and lighting things on fire and kayaking with alligators. Mountains have always had a special place in my heart, but over the last couple years I’ve started appreciating what Florida has to offer so much more than I did growing up. Sitting near the Myakka River and watching storm clouds roll across the wide open prairies was one of the best parts of my year so far. It’s hot as balls outside, and sometimes the rain verges on being annoying, but I am increasingly amazed by how beautiful it is here.
Speaking of loving this state, check out “Oh, #Florida!” over at Slate. Craig Pittman’s a reporter for the Tampa Bay Times, and every once in a while he writes something for our magazine…those usually turn out to be my favorite issues. Anyways, he’s doing this blog all through July for Slate, and it’s fantastic. His latest one’s about Florida’s state parks, and it’s partly responsible for my this-state-is-awesome mood right now.
All that being said, it’s about time that I leave, at least for a few days. I’m tossing around the idea of visiting friends in Seattle this fall, but I’m also thinking that a solo trip might be just what the doctor ordered (the doctor being my therapist). That drive through New Mexico was part of a week-long trip moving home from Los Angeles, and I don’t remember the last time I felt so at peace. Long stretches alone in the car, meandering diversions with no particular destination, surprising and graceful conversations with strangers at gas stations and scenic points…that all sounds so nice right now.
So maybe in a couple months I’ll be driving the Oregon coast on my way to friends in Seattle, or watching a sunrise at the Grand Canyon, or maybe something I haven’t done before. But until then, I think I’ll step outside a few more times and look around. This place is pretty awesome.
And I’ll leave you with this video, which has been the Internet highlight of my week so far: