How in the hell did I get here?

I’m trying to figure out how to explain to you where I am and how I got here.

Geographically, I am in Navarre Beach, Florida, a tiny beach town along the Gulf Coast in Santa Rosa County.  At this exact moment, I’m sitting at a dining room table in a three-bedroom condo.  Just beyond the edge of the screen on my Dell mini and over the back of the white rattan dining chair, I can see the Gulf of Mexico lapping towards me.

I’m here on a press tour.  Or fam tour. Or writers’ tour.  All three phrases have been used by the army of PR women who are shuttling me and four other writers around the local tourist attractions.

I flew into Pensacola last night and one of the PR women, the youngest of the bunch, picked me up at the airport in her Toyota and drove me to this condo.  We talked on the drive about moving away from parents and her upcoming wedding in Mexico.  We talked a little, too, about the area, but mostly it was about the things two people discuss when they’re getting to know each other.  No business cards were exchanged, but she told me how much her parents missed her.

This morning I woke up and made myself coffee.  I read the labels on the food that had been left on my kitchen counters and inside my refrigerator and searched for protein grams.  Content with the 6 grams I found in a banana walnut whole grain muffin, I picked up my camera and started taking pictures of the three bedrooms and two bathrooms.  When I’d covered the basics, I took my Flip video camera out onto the patio and started filming the breathtaking view of the Gulf’s longest pier, using only the whoosh of the water as narration.  Confident I had secured my “money shot”, I began babbling about the pros and cons of renting a condo.  At some point, I was holding my Flip on the end of an Xshot and poking my head out of a shower curtain, interviewing myself while the water ran behind me.

I spent the rest of the morning touring the pier, chatting up fishermen and children, and being a general nuisance to the professional sand sculptors who are on the beach for a competition.

And now here I sit, at the Dell mini, with the lapping view, filling time before lunch by editing pictures and blogging.

When I started this blog, I was working in advertising and selling direct mail to car dealers.  The flexibility of the job was great and the pay was decent, but I had no idea then what it was missing.


I’m talking in circles, I know.  But it’s so hard to try to connect the dots of this journey in a linear fashion.  First this and then this, well but then there was that, and next… and then… here.  Here.

Here in Navarre Beach.  A marketing company flew me here and put me up in this condo for three nights and stocked my kitchen with food so that I can see this place and write about it on the Internet.  Not here – meaning not on  But on other places where I write about places people travel.

I’m not getting paid for this trip, because that would be weird and unethical as all hell and that’s not, actually, how travel writing works.  You do not, in fact, “get paid to take vacations”.  This trip is research, and what I produce as a result is the real money shot.

But I’m babbling again.

It’s just… you guys.

I’m here:


And I am missing my babies like crazy when I go to bed at night (seriously, I was pathetic last night), but this is my life.

And I can’t help sometimes but look up from the Dell mini and over the rattan chair and go how in the hell did this happen?

And – thank you, God, that it did.

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