Day 49

Today was a short paddle to Florida Bay Outfitters in Key Largo. They are generous enough to let us paddlers campout at their store. I couldn’t be happier because I was exhausted, sunburnt, and dehydrated. I was on the verge of calling it quits because it just wasn’t fun anymore. What’s the point of doing something like this if you’re not enjoying yourself? I’m not breaking any records or doing anything ground breaking. I was starting to think it didn’t inspire anyone until an old friend contacted me tonight wanting to figure out a way to get veterans having a tough time out on the rivers and changing their lives. It’s something I’ve considered before because I know it works. So, there is inspiration. I know there’s going to be hard days. That’s just the nature of these long distance trips. But I won’t lie, it’s stressful trying to find campsites down here. The guidebook only list $200 hotel rooms and overpriced campgrounds that aren’t exactly paddler friendly. They’re trying but there needs to be a resource listing keys that can be camped on. I’m always asking locals about suitable spots to camp for a night. I don’t mind camping in solitude. Once I get my snorkel mask, life on the keys will be much better. That’s where the excitement is at. Exploring the pristine waters booming with life, or sitting on an island watching the sunset while reading a book. It’s relaxing. There are things I want to see on land and people I want to meet as well. I’m not sure you can honestly do it all.

My birthday is coming up, March 8 and I’m sure it will be the usual me, myself and I celebrating it. Maybe I’ll get steak like always. Toast myself wondering how I’ve lived so long in the first place. Maybe I’ll just sit on an island and eat a can of salmon and talk to the local wildlife. Who knows. The latter seems a little less depressing. Even though I’m experiencing a wild adventure I’m also missing out when it comes to my kids.

People always ask why I’m doing this and I always lie. I tell them I just want to see Florida. The truth is, I needed to get away and try to rebuild myself. All the self healing I got from paddling the Mississippi River, I destroyed when my girlfriend broke up with me. I let myself fall into a deep and dark place again and it was going to kill me. For those that don’t know, I have pretty severe PTSD and a traumatic brain injury from the military. It’s wreaked havoc on my life. But I’ve managed to find ways to fight it and eco-therapy is the best solution for me. I often wonder why I have to go to such extremes to find myself worth. I don’t know if there’s an easy answer but I know this helps and that’s why I really do it.

7 thoughts on “Day 49

  1. Hi. Well, I was having some technical difficulties in being able to comment on your posts but I managed a work around and now all should be good although not all of your videos are uploading for me so I just read your posts that had writing.
    So, what happened to your paddling partner Scott?
    Yeah, finding suitable campsites isn’t ideal on this stretch either but we were really only stressed over Panama City and then we found that boat on airbnb which I recommend. It was $55/night plus $35 cleaning fee and $12 airbnb fee, but better than a hotel. Destin was also tricky. City’s especially are like that.
    We’re doing this trip because we love to paddle and we’re recently retired and where else are we going to paddle in the winter? And it’s a relatively inexpensive way to travel and live life as an adventure. We don’t own a home in the States anymore (we own a home in Nicaragua which we rent out as income during the winter, so we don’t have a home to go home to go home to right now, even if we wanted to. Although we do have our truck camper currently parked at my Dad’s.)
    For us it’s just Day 17, and so far so good. But we might be singing a different tune on Day 49. Especially if we’ve had to deal with rats and raccoons.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I went home to visit my kids for their birthdays and Scott just kept on paddling. He wouldn’t stop and wait for me to catch up so I stopped trying. We both have vastly different ideas about this journey so it’s probably best were on our own.

      I think your experience on the west coast of Florida will be much better than the ICW on the east coast. The waters down here in the keys are beautiful and full of life you can actually see. I’m buying some snorkel gear and a fishing pole to maximize the fun. There’s lots of keys to hideout on if you don’t mind being several miles away from civilization. I’m looking forward to the west coast. It looks like lots of white sand beaches for many miles. Plus I have lots of friends in Tampa.

      Nicaragua sounds like a great place. I wouldn’t mind buying a sailboat down here and keeping it moored in a nice cove somewhere. But yeah, I think you guys are paddling the better side of Florida. I’m looking forward to it. I’m a little concerned about the weather this next week though. High winds from the north. I may have to paddle the Atlantic side for a few days.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, the prices of camping are crazy there!

    I will say that you need to keep doing what you feel is best for you and your well being. As a veteran also with PTSD I can totally understand what you feel on the water and with the peace that it gives us. In fact, been suffering the last couple of weeks with crappy sleep and I know it would be better if I could just get out on the water.

    You don’t need to inspire anyone but yourself, but you do inspire each time you post about your journey. The pure fact that you are living life and not just sitting around feeling bad about life and how much it sucks.

    Keep paddling! BTW how much of the Mississippi River did you paddle ? Did you go with a program or on your own?

    Liked by 1 person

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