After a day of surfing the internets and periodically taking a nap because sitting upright was just too taxing, I took a day trip to Islamorada in the Florida Keys. I had originally planned to go all the way to Key West, but the drive is incredibly long and on a mostly one-lane road. With just a day to spend it didn't make any sense and though I could have camped, I kept getting heartburn about $50 sites. In any case, Islamorada was a perfect day trip from Miami.

Beach at Marker 88

Getting there was pretty straightforward. I stopped at the official visitor center when I arrived and got some solid advice from the two women working there. They directed me to Anne's Beach to start and then Marker 88, a restaurant that has a small beach and pier.

Anne's Beach

One thing I didn't realize about the Keys in general is that when someone refers to a beach, they mean a 4-8 foot strip of sand in between the mangroves and the water. Anne's Beach was no exception. There's a boardwalk that takes you through the trees, with stairs down to the sand every little bit. You can wander around in the trees a bit to find an open spot near someone else. The turquoise water was shallow incredibly far out. I didn't go too far, but there was a woman near me who walked out 25 or 30 feet and was still in waist-deep water.

The Enormous Hat

The light in Florida is so bright that it feels loud. The humidity was still having its way with me as well (I basically move like a sloth if the sun is out), so I ended up buying The Enormous Hat at a tourist trap. I've been using it ever since and I'm pretty sure it's the smartest thing I've purchased in the last couple of weeks!

Blood Orange Margarita

Since it was Friday and I was in the tropics, a margarita was definitely in order (and no, I am not a fan of Jimmy Buffet due to being subjected to his music non-stop for an entire summer during a miserable job while in high school). That drink tasted as good as it looks. The food was pretty basic and nothing to wrote home about, but the margarita and the view balanced things out nicely. It felt good to just sit there for an hour, reading, watching the boats come and go, and listening to families around me chattering away to each other about nothing in particular.

Anne's Beach

After lunch I spent some time lounging in a chair on the Marker 88 beach, watching a funny little dog named Sherman run into the water and then back out again as his owner called to him from a paddleboard in the cove. He would dash into the waves, scare himself by getting a little too deep, and then race back out to roll in the sand and recover.

This day was what I needed to start turning around the floundering mess that I had become. I felt relaxed, hopeful, and happy.