I’m settled back in my sweet place in Austin, after having completed a wonderful three thousand mile journey across Louisiana, Florida and other points south. I stayed with dear friends in their newly adopted home city of Natchitoches, LA at my first stop and starting off Mardi Gras weekend, as well, with a parade and live music following.
My friend Melanie and I go back to junior high, when we met riding the school bus. She and her husband, David, are great friends. On my last night there, as we are relaxing on their side porch with a cocktail, my comment to them was—“This is just so real…”
Next stop was Fort Walton Beach, Florida an eight-hour drive onward. I stayed with more dear friends I’ve known for about twenty years, Michael and Mary Lynn. We met at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. They are now retired back in his home town and living a very happy life “on the bayou”. We wrapped up Mardi Gras in true Southern style with the biggest pot of boiled crawfish I’ve ever seen!
While in Fort Walton Beach, I made it down to the Gulf of Mexico, where Santa Rosa Island meets the ocean. I must confess I was so surprised by my reaction when I touched the ocean for the first time in a year. It literally brought me to tears.
It told me a lot about my love affair with the ocean….
Onward to Tampa, Florida where I was able to connect with family I had only met once in my life. I met with my father’s siblings, a half-aunt that is 85, in from Puerto Rico, giving cancer a great fight and a half-uncle, whose lived in the area for over ten years. I had made them each identical photo albums of my father, since they all grew up separately, each having different mothers.
It was a very good visit, on many levels. Our time together was really well spent.
I continued onward to Winter Park, FL which is just outside of Orlando, to visit my dear cousin, Jason and his beautiful wife, Laura. I hadn’t seen them since their wedding ten years ago. They now have two gorgeous daughters, ages six and three. It was so great to finally meet these girls! They are so precious. I really love being an “auntie” to my family.
At each destination of my road trip, I had set up showings of properties, with realtors that my friends or family had recommended. I’ve decided to buy an investment property by this time next year. I’m wanting to create some cash flow, to offset my rental expenses, while I stay in Texas until I decide to retire fully in the coming years. I had a good experience viewing listings and each location had its distinct advantages.
As I was sharing with my friends on the trip, I was looking at each area with the intention of creating a community of choice. Some of these friends are like family to me, with the long history we have. I’ve learned of a concept that really appeals to me, at this point in my life. Folks much like myself, are creating what is known as “intentional communities”. Living near friends of choice to support each other and enjoy this next chapter in our lives, as we slowdown from the pace of a full-blown career and instead are redefining ourselves in many wonderful ways.
In the end, after driving so many miles over ten days, I think my next property purchase will be where my cousin resides. Hopefully, by this time next year I’ll be an investor/owner. I also want to see how this year unfolds, although interest rates are very attractive right now. I hope this terrible virus that is taking a toll on populations, is contained sooner than later.
All that being said, if any of you need advice, with your own planning, please email me directly at email@example.com. I am an actively licensed realtor on Oahu, in good standing. I have real estate partnerships in place on island and we can help you formulate a plan, for your individual needs. Let’s get the conversation started! =)
In the meantime, I feel very blessed to be where I am at this point in my life. I’m working for the US Census with an ongoing housing survey, in a semi-permanent role. It’s a really interesting study and I’m able to use my Spanish at times here in Texas. Plus, I get to experience the wide variety of people that make up the population of Austin and its surrounding areas.
I am also fortunate in knowing my beautiful family in Hawaii, will forever keep me connected to the islands and the ocean I love so much. The saying is very true—“All who wander are not lost”.
Life is very good indeed. A hui ho’!!
2 thoughts on “Friends & Family Tour Across the South”
Fun time. 😉
Yes, it was indeed my Yaya brother! =)