Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Key West, Florida, November 2016

Fate has landed me in Key West, Florida. The other California, though no beautiful mountains and earthquakes. The island has just about everything else, from coconuts to free spirits who wear painted birthday suits and sip on spiked slurpees. Think this might not suit your fancy? I highly recommend it!

“But there’s weird people down there!” “Aren’t you afraid to get hit on by drag queens?” “Have you seen any naked people?” “Six-toed Cats?!” “What about Zika virus?”

Weird is what makes us all unique. Go against the grain and experience a different culture that may be outside of your “normal” box. You will only grow as a person and just might come back with an interesting story, especially about the Garden of Eden. *insert winky face*

To answer the above questions: Yes there’s weird people. Yes there’s drag queens (pssst, they’re human too). Yes there’s homosapiens smothered in paint, but you really have to try hard to find them, unless you come for Fantasy Fest (Usually the end of October). Six-toed cats really do exist at the Hemingway House. As for Zika, you can be human, or you can just live vicariously through me and be a hobbit. No judging though.

On to the potatoes!

Don't blatantly stare, unless you plan on complimenting. Just because you're in a different location, don't get wasted and ruin it for others. If someone asks you to buy something, say no thank you, and continue walking to your destination. Finish your food on the street, not in the stores. Step out of your comfort zone and say hello to others looking at you. Don't leave trash, make it cleaner than you found it. No matter how bad you want to be a pirate, don't. Reminder, the people who work there see obnoxious people EVERY DAY. Make their day, if you can.

How much should I plan to spend in Key West, Florida?
This calculation is for one person spending a day there. Adjust for the group or kids you may bring and factors such as staying in a hotel (+$100.00).

Total: $200
Gas ~ $30 (127 mile round trip from Homestead, FL)
Food ~$70 (3 meals $15 plus hydration, candy, alcohol)
Souvenirs and Presents ~$100

How to pack for the Florida Keys
Flip flops (the same ones you used at the truck stop), shorts, shirt, underwear or swim suit, hat, sunglasses, sunscreen.

How to arrive
Options: Car, Bus, Bike, Cruise, or Horse (no seriously, don’t). If you’re choosing to drive down, I highly recommending stopping at the RaceTrac gas station in Homestead. Point blank, there’s only one way in. This includes gas ($$). Also, if a wreck happens, you wait in a long, terrible line, sometimes for hours…But the good news is, YOU’RE IN THE KEYS!

The last tidbit of advice I’ll suggest is to not bring a truck. Parking is ri•DON•culous! This is not USPS. If it fits, chances are, your vehicle will end up different than you left it. In case you had no other options than to bring a larger automobile, the two parking garages listed below should help you out.

Old Town Garage
Address: 300 Grinnell St, Key West, FL, 33040
Phone: (305) 809-3910

Public Parking Key West
Address: 220 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 912-7275

How to travel the Florida Keys for FREE.
Get on Rideshare through Craigslist.com or ride with a friend. It’s dangerous, but you can also bike the 127 miles from Homestead, FL. Eat before you go and pack a day bag with food at home. Don’t buy anything. Sounds pretty plain and simple, but it’s okay to not buy that fancy dress or Fat Tuesday Slurpee. Join a buddy boat and help someone on their vessel.

Ways to make MONEY in Key West, Florida.
Sell parking space • Sell coconuts and other fruit • Street perform (people love fire) • Upcycle items in to Artwork • Fishing charters • Landscape • Pet and Child Sit • Braid Hair • Sell Sarongs • Rent Boats • Sell Fish • Beach Bag Kits • Dress up

Where are some unique places to eat in Key West, Florida?
This list could be quite extensive, but I’ll spare you some time. I’ve personally visited these four places to eat and drink. All are very good, but just depends on your mood. I started off with Better Than Sex because my inner diabetic told me to!

Better Than Sex – Dessert
Dessert bar offering an extensive menu of decadent treats in a dimly lit, intimate space.
Address: 926 Simonton St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-8102

Sloppy Joe's – Restaurant/Bar
Open since 1933, this bar offers live music & dancing plus a separate tap room for sports-watching.
Address: 201 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-5717

Hog’s Breath Saloon – Restaurant/Bar
Popular pub providing bar food on a covered outdoor patio plus live music & dancing.
Address: 400 Front St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-4222

Fat Tuesday – Slurpee Bar
Address: 305 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-9373

Things to do in Key West, Florida

Mike marker 0
Address: 501 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-1129

Ernest Hemingway House – 6-Toed Cats Live Here…
The Ernest Hemingway House, officially known as the Ernest Hemingway Home & Museum, was the residence of author Ernest Hemingway in Key West, Florida, United States. Opened in 1851.
Address: 907 Whitehead St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 294-1136
Rate: ~ $13.00

Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory
The Key West Butterfly and Nature Conservatory located at 1316 Duval Street, Key West, Florida, United States is a butterfly park that houses from 50 to 60 different species of live butterflies from ... Wikipedia
Address: 1316 Duval St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 296-2988
Rate: ~ $12.00

Southernmost Point Buoy
The Southernmost Point Buoy is an anchored concrete buoy in Key West, Florida marking the southernmost point in the continental United States. Wikipedia
Address: Whitehead St & South St, Key West, FL 33040
Phone: (305) 809-3700

Walk Duval Street

Watch the Sunset Festival

I’m an aspiring minimalist, so souvenirs turn me off. Especially if they’re not recyclable. But, I understand everyone is different. Here’s my list of environmentally friendly souvenirs you can get in the Keys!
Painted Upcycled Items • Handmade Grass Hats • Chopped Coconut Cups • Sand • Shell Mobiles • Hair Braids • Take a Picture and Frame it with Scraps Found


I hope you enjoyed this guide.

Leave some comments to make it better!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Writer's Block

  • Keep notes in one place.
  • Use a different medium. I started writing on paper instead of the computer.
  • Start over. Yes. Sometimes you just need to know when to start your project from scratch.
  • Ask a friend to bounce ideas back and forth.
Months. This is how long it's been since I've posted anything. The cause: Writer's Block.

I found myself writing lists of subjects I wanted to write about. Then fell in to a rabbit hole that seemed impossible to get out. I wanted my articles perfect. I didn't want to post garbage. I beat myself up harder over failing to put any content out. In the end, months have gone by without any articles. A steep learning curve, I suppose.

Taking a step back, I've realized a couple things. One, "People just want to know what you're up to." - Kate Masca (Homesteadforeveryone.com). Two, I can use this article to show people what I'm doing differently to get out of my rut.

*Deep breath* Here it goes.

This is my personal map to walk me through my Key West Experience article. Before this, I would stare at the computer screen for hours, hoping words would just fall on to the word document. Just like the refrigerator, food does not magically appear when you open the door.

As you can see, there's not much organization. My handwriting is choppy from being a passenger, but it's forcing me to work through my own mental wall. I wrote down experiences and tried to keep them in order. In the mean time, I'll continue to post other things I've learned along the way, until I'm done wordsmithing.

Personally, I try my best to stay away from cookie cutter posts. They lack authenticity and character. I could recommend more structured resources, but honestly, I'm going against the grain.

I want my readers to know there's a human behind the keyboard and not some robot. I want them to connect with me in a sense that everyone is learning, including myself.

What have you done differently to get yourself out of a rut? Add a comment below!