By the time you all read this I hope to have made it safely to Key West, Florida where I will be doing a “soft launch” of my travel writing career yet again, this time as Omicron, bad weather, and major flight cancellations rage around us. My plan is to revive my idea of Bleisure travel. In other words, combining a much-needed vacation (that’s the leisure part) with some writerly activities associated with the wonderful Key West Literary Seminar (https://www.kwls.org/seminar/ ), researching a second installment of my Teachable Travel Tips, with educator Theresa Xia Michna, and visits to the local library and a bookstore I’ve always wanted to go to.
Is all this activity possible during a pandemic you might be wondering? We will find out!
I began planning my visit to South Florida the same way I usually do, by researching the area I’m traveling to. I narrowed my selection down to a few diverse things that I haven’t done when I visited before and would like to experience this time around.
Here’s what I came up with
The Old Town Literary Walking Tour
This leisurely walk takes you past the former homes and favorite haunts of well-known writers, including Tennessee Williams, Shel Silverstein, Elizabeth Bishop, and Robert Frost. There will also be stories about less famous writers. I love hearing all these tidbits about people I’ve admired!
The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum
I bought the combo ticket for this which includes an audio tour and a behind-the-scenes conservation laboratory tour (shipwrecks!). I’m also intrigued by the sound of the “Real Pirates of the Caribbean” and Spanish Galleon exhibits.
The Key West Butterfly Museum and Nature Conservancy
Did you know there was such a thing as butterfly farming? I didn’t! This museum has all sorts of opportunities for the curious, including a Learning Center, a Stroll, and a Gallery/Gift area. I can’t wait! But what was even more intriguing was the two “extras” they offer. After a short orientation, you can “flamingle” with resident flamingos, Rhett and Scarlett, for an hour. How fun would that be? There’s a “Twilight Tour” too where you can see how the insects and birds put themselves to bed at night.
Where does Covid fit into all this fun? The website I visited noted that the Keys have a lot of room to spread out and the weather makes it possible to do many activities outside. Some indoor venues like the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and State Park visitor centers require their guests wear masks. Washing your hands frequently or using hand sanitizer and social distancing whenever possible aren’t bad ideas either.
I’m flying out of Rochester, NY this week with the view that this type of trip is not only possible but will be even more special and appreciated now that I realize how quickly it could be taken away from me. Of course, I still get anxious while packing and preparing for my getaway. But I’m also ready to get back to traveling and sharing my adventures with you!
Where are you going in 2022?