Florida Cabin Life: Okeechobee Wilderness
A warm cup of coffee and wild turkeys running through the yard. These are the views from our cabin getaway in Okeechobee, FL. Indian Hammock is a small community in the middle of nowhere it would seem. A 3,000 acre property with only 1,000 acres built upon. This tiny community is gated off and the closest thing I’ve experienced to true country livin’. It is in fact so removed, the closest grocery store is 1 hour away.
Besides the quiet introspection this wild setting brings about, your consciousness begins to balance itself out naturally. Once your mind has gone through the flow of releasing tucked away thoughts, it actually experiences stillness. It’s in this place that you become aware of the present. Finally able to drown out the constant 25% or more of blah blah that runs through your brain, a sizable barrier to staying present.
Things we did
Walking. Oh goodness how we loved walking. This gives you a chance to really reconnect with your loved one or travel buddy. Being in the middle of nowhere without technology makes you remember why you really dig someone. My boyfriend and I walked through the uncharted land, and once the work-life-stress-talk melted away, there was pleasant conversation and hand holding. Definitely walk and hand hold. We did this through the dirt roads, the grassy meadows, the Florida lake vistas, and my favorite, the air strip. This stretch of grassland is reserved for those residents who fly their own aircrafts, smaller planes of course. Although we didn’t get to see one, it’s beautiful to look out at the land before you, especially at night.
Go karting. This was just plain fun. Riding this go-kart type vessel through the grassy swamplands and airstrip with the wind blowing through my hair was like being on a ride. One hell of a ride. I must admit, I sometimes got a bit scared of going so fast, and I was certain at some points we were going to hit a pot hole or alligator and eat dirt. We were swerving through the winding dirt roads, some of which was straight up mud, and seeing nature fly by us quickly. But, f*!k it. Sometimes you gotta let go. So, let go.
Movie time. Cabins were made to re-watch old movies. Particularly the kind you may have forgotten. We opted for Almost Famous. Holy cow. Rewatching an awesome film while you cozy up with some tea is one of my new favorite formulas for chill. The human mind’s capacity never ceases to amaze me. We can experience something like a film, or a memory for that matter, and think we know it. Then, we can be faced with that same thing again and reach a completely different conclusion, and even experience surprise. Art and life can be appreciated over and over again.
Stargazing. Our lovely cabin, which my boyfriend’s aunt and uncle generously lent us (they are two adventure-seeking nature hippies of their own) was the best part of the stay. . . particularly for stargazing. The stars are unreal in Okeechobee! Or really, in any place without so many city lights clogging the night sky. While I am a fan of gazing up at my Miami sky, we don’t get many stars. On a good night, we get the moon shining brightly and a few glittery speckles. So, this is always breathtaking. Every time I visit anywhere remote and look up, I am seriously amazed by how many shiny lights there are out there. It really makes me think about our small place in the universe and being part of a vast interconnected ecosystem. . . and about life beyond our planet. But that’s a whole other tangent.
A change of scenery is perhaps the most obvious reason for travel. While I can’t get enough of my home (it’s my little haven and most of the time, our Emerald office), putting yourself somewhere different just does things. I do believe as people we all have some nomad in us. Our ancestors were nomadic, and it’s in our blood. The change of scenery can be grounding. For me, living in a busy city like Miami can still be somewhat relaxing as we are a vacation town at heart. However, we don’t get much wilderness or cabin action up here, unless it’s a bungalow. So hunkering down in a cozy, wood cabin with nothing but the sound of the wind and horses is a welcome contrast to island city livin’.
Lastly, and I know I’ve stressed this a lot, but reconnecting with your people is gold. It really is too easy to lose yourselves in your daily schedules and routines. When you’re building a life for yourself and laying down those building blocks, it’s vital to pause and remember the important stuff. . . relationships. At the end of the day, your job won’t kiss you goodnight or text you funny quotes from Anchorman. Get out there with your treasured friends and loved ones.