A work trip in the Spring of 2012 brought me to St. Pete’s Beach, Florida, where I spent my first extensive day on the Gulf of Mexico. I briefly paid a visit to the Gulf during a friendly gathering in Clearwater, FL last summer, but that was less about the destination and more about the company. This time me, myself, and I had a prime directive: Gulf date.
The water was just as clear and beautiful and the sand just as white as I imagined a Gulf beach that far north would be. I was blown away. Sunsets are always the most beautiful when I’m staring out over water, it seems, like I’m standing on the edge of the earth watching the sun dip (ionized hydrogen dunkeroos!). It’s like standing on a pier watching a ship pull away. It’s melancholy, but simultaneously peaceful as seagulls and waves lull away concerns (such as where did I put my hotel key card?).
Beach trips with friends and loved ones are treats indeed, but there is something to be said for a solitary visit. People often find spirituality on beaches—in the soothing nature of water, the clear air, the quiet, the sand, and the very few man-made distractions. While I am not a spiritual person, I can easily see the draw to such oceanfront reveries. If not a god, I did find relaxation and mental release…. even thirty minutes of sleep! I made friends with gulls, lured to me by promises of pretzel crumbs. I left my footprints along the shoreline, from the busy tourist traps up to the solace of private homes. I wondered at the voyages of seashells and then drank mimosas until the sun set.
Travel experts somewhere must have put a list together by now of the seven most mind-blowing beaches in the world, akin to the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World list. I wonder if any beaches I have ever been to would make the final cut. I’ve only been to USA beaches, so likely not…. Then I think, if I am so easily pleased by American beaches (and on the East side, no less!), what wonderment lies in store for me when I finally dip my feet into Caribbean waters… or better yet, into the waters of Fiji?! Will I simply turn into primordial mush? Will I be that happy go-lucky traveler impressed with everything? The anticipation makes me giddy.