February 08

Local Color

It’s my last full day in Florida. I’ve been here teaching and lecturing and, for the most part, it has been wonderful and better for one decision. I decided a while back that because I travel to another region about once a month, I’m going to try to avoid staying in national hotel chains where every room is the same. Each town has its own vibe, its own architecture, its own sounds and smells. Those little experiences etch themselves in our minds and hearts. Much of the time it’s not possible to stay anywhere other than a national chain but through Airbnb and Trip Advisor I’ve been fortunate to stay in local hotels, apartments, condos, homes, and here in Florida a houseboat and pool house. The photo is the view from my bed as I write in the 1920 pool house in the historic Flamingo Park neighborhood of West Palm Beach.

Staying in non-commercial properties has its occasional challenges but I really believe that it has made me a more flexible person and has brought me many wonderful memories. Today my jogging route will take me among Flamingo Park’s charming historic housing stock on the way to the Intercoastal waterway. I had to drive 30 minutes each day to my gig but it was worth every mile. There is no TV in my room, no big desk to write and no business office for me to print out my boarding pass. But my first step out of bed is onto the original 1920 brick floor of the poolhouse. My room is filled with antiques and fresh roses from the owner’s garden. Florida’s birds chirp outside my French doors. I will return to Chicago tomorrow changed in tiny ways by the memories I’ve made here. Mostly I will return refreshed by the change of scenery and filled with new thoughts and ideas to be a better wife, mom, business owner and boss.