I made a post on Facebook which landed a couple of comments that inspired me to write this blog post about Florida, where I live. Tonight I got a chance to snap a few sunset photos at the beach. The comments? “Lucky” and “Wish I lived in Florida”. This made me think back.
I was eighteen years old and I came to Florida one summer. It wasn’t the first time I came to Florida, but it was the first time I came in the summer. I usually came down with my family in the winter to get out of the New York snow. The weather in Florida is beautiful in December and January. My first time in Florida in summer and I quickly discovered humidity. It was hot. I made the best of it being close to the ocean. That summer I flew into Fort Lauderdale, stayed with my grandparents in Boynton Beach then I finished the trip with an excursion to Daytona Beach and then back to New York.
It was the flight back to New York that made a lasting impression on me. It was simple. I was bored on the flight and picked up the Sky Captain magazine, I think it was, I had flown Eastern Airlines. There was an article I read that described Florida’s current economy, plans for economic growth and how business was taking a new trend to Florida. Why? because of the warm weather and breezy beaches. “People are tired of the snow” it read! Made sense. The current economy at the time was based on Florida oranges and orange juice. In South Florida, mainly Palm Beach down to Miami, the hospitality industry was leading the way. “Restaurants and Hotels!”
It was planted in my mind, just a seed. I didn’t know at the time and I didn’t know the seed would grow. I visited a few more times after that. When I was 21 I came down with a few friends from New York. Good times traveling with friends. Indeed. When I turned 26 I made a decision to try Florida, to live, to make a living. The previous year I lived in Rhode Island. I found the weather there is pretty much the same as New York.
In the process of making that decision and moving to Florida I thought back on that article I had read when I was eighteen. My thoughts and attitude was “Florida, land of opportunity”. And that’s how I approached it. I had a business for the first few years, then I went to college. I worked hard at the business and going back to school. I got a degree in computer information systems and got involved developing websites. Just a few years into it, the industry took a turn downward due to 911, you know September 11, and the dot com bust shortly after.
Out of a job I found myself freelancing for this company in Germany, “go figure, they were outsourcing to the USA, me.” It worked out fine for a while til the work ran out. Then I discovered ebay!. Gave that a try and found it to be easy, and easy money, as long as I had something to sell. For me the best sale was encyclopedias so that became my niche along with first edition John Gresham books and classic rock LPs. I did that for a few years and then moved north, closer to central Florida where a discovered a little paradise on the Treasure Coast beaches.
There I landed a job working for a marketing company developing and maintaining their web sites. Then web apps as a software engineer “AAAND” the office is right on the water. I got lucky? It was alot of hard work. Living in Florida is great. It gets super hot in the summer months. It’s best if you live near the ocean and have a pool. I don’t know why anyone would live away from the ocean, but that’s me.
I still think Florida is the land of opportunity. It’ s easy to start a business. You need to put in the work, like anywhere else. It’s not going to make it by itself. Same with any job. “I had to work hard to get where I am today” I recently was given a “clean bill of health”. Man, that opened doors for me. I wrote down some goals: “Live life the way I want. Start a business. Travel.” I decided to go slow so I started selling encyclopedias on eBay again and having fun with it. I write and take photos. The beach, my little paradise. Anyone can do this, but for me I put a little bit of hard work into it and enjoy it.