a few weeks in
THIS is what we have been waiting for! Cruising around downtown, the financial district and its busy city center, over to warm and inviting paradise beaches, the fancy Bal Harbour and back home to the boat that is anchored in a very calm and serene place, with a safe and free bike/car parking right outside. As for living situation of two ocean nomads, it can almost not get better than this.
Let us compare the current life situation with two of our most recent other: New England in the North where we lived for almost 1,5 years. And the Caribbean/South America in the South, where we stayed for 2,5 years.
Weather: New England certainly was the coldest and looking at it from that perspective, there's nothing that could have us move back to such a freezing climate with the boat again. It taught us things and made us stronger I suppose, but speaking of life quality, it is in sun and warmth we feel right at home. Caribbean, on the other hand, was hot, and a few months a year it was a little too hot. I remember we complained a bit on the heat, but never to the extent we complained about the cold in Boston. We have always said that something in between would be good. The Mediterranean sea is therefore still our most ideal as far as climate goes. It has just the right balance with not too hot summers and very mild/warm winters.
South Beach a week ago. I've put myself on a healthy workout regimen since then as I'm trying to get rid of the (too many) comfortable winter layers of chocolate and beer. It is so much easier to find pleasure in exercising in warmer climate. As much as it is easier to hide a lazy body full of comfort food under layers of thick winter clothes. I know both sides very well but also which I don't like to belong to.
I think we arrived here in Miami at the right time of the year. The slightly chillier temperatures of December/January makes for an easy transition back to the heat and so far so good. There's really nothing negative to say about the 27 C / 80 F we have here currently. With the right set of awnings and wind scoops on the boat, it still hasn't become unbearable and I'm thinking it still will be slightly cooler than the Caribbean islands also during summer? Regardless, this climate is much better than what we just came from up in the North.
Independence to move around: We have still not lived long enough in any one place during this sailing life we started five years ago, that we have concluded we would be in need of a car. The bike was the first thing we decided to invest in though as we got our new American Visas sorted last summer. We had and still have a dream of crossing the US on motorcycle. Time will tell if we'll ever make that happen but it's good to know that we can if we would ever find the time. Being now based in Miami which we have plans to keep as our home base for at least the next couple of years, we will eventually need a car too. Going to look into getting my American drivers license asap.
A couple alligators we ran across in Everglades a few days ago.
Being in the Caribbean islands where we were for more than two years, a dinghy definitely gave you some sort of freedom to move around on the water side of life at least. But on land without your own vehicle, we were always depending on buses, taxis and sometimes we hitched a ride. Alex missed his bikes very much and it sure would have been awesome to explore the Caribbean with a motorcycle. So being here in Florida, in a similarly beautiful climate but which also offer so much more than only that, it is extremely convenient and enjoyable with both a dinghy and a bike as we now can fully take part of the location in so many more ways than what we could have done before.
This state is huge, not to mention the nearby states we would love to visit. And to be able to drive from North Miami Beach to South Beach, through Downtown to Brickel and Coconut Grove in 40 minutes instead of relying on unpredictable bus schedules, well you know it, it gives you freedom. Riding a bike also keeps you closer to the nature than what a car does, though a combination of them two would be the best since we're planning on staying longer.
Love the quietness and cleanness of Hallandale Beach as opposed to the madness of South Beach.
Friends and family: Still equally far from most of them, but there are very good flight connections anywhere in the world from here. Besides I have a strong feeling it will be easier to lure people into coming to visit us in the warm and sunny Miami, than the cold Boston. Also realizing that we have quite a few good friends down here in Florida already which is just a fantastic bonus!
Good healthy food: One of my most important aspects in life as you know already. Florida offer a better year round climate for growing vegetable and fruit than what New England does. Or at least the sort of fruit and vegetables that we eat most of. Even if we don't grow our own food on the boat, there are Farmers Markets with organic produce to be found in almost any district here in Miami. Having scanned the grocery stores in the region, I am also satisfied with the fact that many products are a tad cheaper here than up in Boston. In addition to fresh produce from the market, Whole Foods and Publix has all of the organic non-gmo food that we normally buy. Comparing this area with the Caribbean or South America, the US definitely has such a greater selection of good groceries and for a better price (although tropical fruit might be easier to obtain down there).
Work opportunities: Alex will for the time being travel back to Boston once/twice a month to continue working from the studio up there. He's back on track with his mastering career and there's no way he will give it up again. We have hopes of finding a more local solution for him soon but this will work pretty good as a start. My vegan cooking on the other hand is actually one of the main reasons we decided to move to Miami this time (beside the obvious fact that we just couldn't deal with another cold winter).
This is the catering/take out service that I started up in New England:
See more on www.green-caterer.com
The idea is to develop this business further, and aim it towards an even more health conscious South Florida clientele. Below is the location that we are looking into:
So much potential in such a raw open space. Many details to figure out obviously before any of it will come alive but the idea and opportunity seems pretty good so far. I count on you all to come visit if/when we're open!
Culture: Something we talk about on the daily here is what a great mixture of lives and culture there is here in Miami. A very stimulating dynamic here that we missed up in Boston where everything is pretty much the same with very little room for alternatives. Only driving one street up and down here in Miami, you get astound by the great variety in architecture which is so inspiring for the mind. The New England way of building is very characteristic to its area and beautiful of course, but for people like us who like change and variety, it gets a little boring for the vision when all houses are built the exact same way. What we also like with Miami, is that there's a very strong latin culture which gives a special sort of interesting depth to the city. We definitely like it like that: high and low, a bit of everything in one bowl.
To sum it up: Life feels pretty good. We have many things to figure out, but it seems that we are in the right place right now. Oh, and the hot shower situation on the boat we have finally solved by digging up this good old solar shower bag from the lazarette:
Can't get hotter than this after it's laid in the sun for a while. 5 gallon / 19 liter hot shower is such a luxury..
Cheers on that!
Love by the way that we can find Spanish beer and groceries so easily in the stores. Obviously my workout regimen allow for a few beers every week. A good balance of health, comfort, pleasure and activity is so important. So far so good on the balance department down here!
Read this old post about what we think makes a place or a country worth to live in.