Ah...Back to the ocean. So many sunsets, so little time.

After almost a full month on the road, seeing the ocean again feels like coming home. Yes, we missed you.

The lulling white noise of the highway never quite replaces the steady, reassuring rhythm of surf on sand. It is always the best of motion and stillness, in one place. That much-anticipated moment of veering out the window to get the first propitious whiff of salt aroma never gets old!

In the past few weeks, "Little Tad" (successor to Freckles, our traveling turtle mascot) tailgated on his inaugural voyage through five states (and a sliver of a sixth) in what we expect to be our tour-de-force to wrap up the majority of travel work for the year. Along the way, we caught up with a few dear faces, had another glimpse of fall color, mostly avoided any real mischief, and when the weather was too nice to resist, gave full-fledged van camping another whirl.

And now we're back - narrowly escaping the first shocking dips in temperature (bad juju for us beach babies!) and awkwardly coaxing our circadian clocks back into standard time, which for a traveler is more jarring than the calculated crossing of time zones. Counting down to the winter solstice means that in just a few weeks the shortest period of daylight in the year will have passed, and the days will grow brighter again - a mantra for the sun-lover in me that knows even the coast bears many weeks of cold & damp to overcome!

In anticipation of winter mode, we've already had our first evening fire of the Florida autumn, as we made designs on the palm tree next to our campsite. Even though "Merry Thanksgiv-aween" is in full manic swing everywhere, the time goes fast enough that some important plans deserve to be made early! String lights, check; power hookup, check; tropical holiday lights on the palmetto is a serious life goal for us, you should know!

Meanwhile, inside our cozy camper, it's not Christmas trees decking the halls, but rather the most tender of my traveling tropical plants that have joined us to avoid the overnight chill, bringing a welcome injection of bright green. The peppers from the little kitchen garden were crisp and happy to be picked, and a daily infusion of chill-piqued herbs is always on hand for soup season. For other hopeless gardeners like me, be advised that the cattleya is growing madly with new pseudobulbs & sheaths, promising its first blooms! And "Mr. Bodacious ZZ the Third" is officially rooted, and with such a fancy lineage, nothing but a repurposed champagne bottle topper will do for a makeshift support:

The season says it's time to settle for a while. Like this little sprout, we are in our happy place for the winter ahead, and I'm looking forward to spending more evenings with a book, making plans for art project time, and seeing the ocean colors fade softly into year's end.

Peace, Love, and Travel ✌️ 🌅

J.