How do you travel and what do you travel for? When I was younger, I thought traveling would make me happy. Then I realized you take yourself with you wherever you go. It’s harder than you think to leave misery at home, so best to get rid of the misery before you leave,
One of my favorite things about Key West is watching how other people travel. It’s a prime location for people-watching. Who’s having a good time and who isn’t? Who brought their misery with them? Who’s local and who’s a touron (a word my husband discovered in a memoir of Key West, a combination of tourist and moron)? How long has that marriage lasted and how much longer does it have left in it?
This is our third year coming to Key West and the places now are layered with memories of people we watched. This is the restaurant where we had to listen to the obnoxious motorcycle woman from Wisconsin. Here’s the bar where a man came in and tipped everyone with $100 bills. Here’s the older couple at the coffee shop, late afternoon, who don’t talk to each other. She picks at her hands while he stares at his phone. As Jason Isbell would say, they’ve got nothing left to learn about their hearts.
Travel can be an exhausting endeavor putting relationships through a crucible. Things must be done and seen. Eaten and drank. Items must be checked off lists. If you don’t work hard at it, what will you have to show in the end? As it is in every area of life, it’s very hard to just be.
What have we done in our first two days in Key West? Things. We have done things.