Not surprisingly we are preoccupied with our impending departure about nine days hence. Though the adage prevails that "there ain't no ship to take you away from yourself, that you travel the suburbs of your own mind" (J. P. Cavafey), it is nonetheless impossible not to be inspired by the thought of travel. While dithering over breakfast this morning I reminisced about the previous years' hibernation by looking at photos I had taken of the beach on Hilton Head Island. Though the photos were unquestionably engaging there remains the sense of hackneyed familiarity after seven years. By comparison the photos of the beaches on the Florida coast captured a view of more foaming water with what I find to be an attractive jade colour. The beach at Daytona is reputed by the Floridians as one of the best even when compared to Fort Lauderdale for example. And I agree. The Daytona beach is wider and somehow less urban than Fort Lauderdale even though both beaches are ringed by endless condominiums. Where we're staying on Daytona Beach Shores there is a nearby pier which I consider an essential nautical feature for an oceanic stay. It affords a magnificent vista in addition to tolerable food in a conveniently casual atmosphere. We're now anxious to avoid formal dining. Our accustomed apparel is a golf shirt, shorts and Top Siders. When nurtured by a healthy tan it's all the help we need at our age! Maybe a bit of bling as well - for me at least.
We've already made arrangements to visit the Keys and the Gulf Coast throughout the winter. The places hit by Hurricane Irma are rapidly undergoing recovery as naturally their livelihood depends on tourism.
Though we expect to see remnants of destruction throughout the Keys it is impossible to dilute the magic of the spacious water scenery. The marginal way which skirts the eastern shore of Key West for example is broad and well-constructed so it is difficult to imagine that anything will have contaminated its allure.
Meanwhile, except when interrupted by these meandering thoughts of ocean and travel, we're biding our time here in Canada, readying ourselves to complete the succinct ceremony of packing and loading the sedan. As with all seasoned travelers we have learned to reduce our luggage. Leaving as we hopefully are before the snow flies, we'll abandon any thought of bringing along heavy coats, hats or sweaters. Our clothing is practically a uniform, almost entirely inexpensive (washable) cotton. We've completed all but two perfunctory attendances before our departure. Finalizing the details recalls the prepartory procedures to closing a business or real estate transaction, notifying interested parties (insurance, landlords), delivering documents (accountant), arranging money matters (appropriate cash currencies and cheques), alerting utilities (TV, internet), etc. Shamelessly we relish the anticipation of what is to transpire. The novelty of our southern environment will assuredly keep us diverted, discovering new venues, local photography, meeting people and generally settling in.