3 – Snowbird Freedom

Click the video above for 2 minutes of background waves while reading.

I like walking on the beach. It’s good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Waves are free to wash ashore. Sometimes as mild laps – other times as large roaring surges. No matter if during low tide, high tide, or in between, waves do as they please within nature’s framework. Now that’s freedom.

Photo by Wendy Wei on Pexels.com

Snowbirds are northern residents going south for warmer temperatures during winter. There is a freedom in snowbirding. A freedom away from the routine of home. There is no, “Today is Monday, so we have to do these things” – and so on. Sometimes we ask, “What day of the week is it? Is today Tuesday or Wednesday?”

There is a freedom of being away from the cold weather of home. No matter how cold it is here on the Alabama coast, it’s a matter of perspective because Alabama cold is warmer than home.

There is a freedom to stand on the shore looking out to sea. A freedom to sense the salty smell in the air. A freedom to taste the essence of salt on my lips. A freedom to feel the gritty sand. A freedom to let water refresh my feet.

There is a freedom in snowbirding when facing the two biggest questions of the day: “Which direction do we walk?” – “What’s for dinner?” Therefore, “What are we going to do today?” is very seldom – if ever – asked.

Photo by Kevin Menajang on Pexels.com

There is freedom to leave our golf clubs at our cold-weather home. We enjoy the game – but having the clubs along serves as an unnecessary obligation – and we enjoy the freedom of snowbirding.

There is a freedom to decide my day will be walking five miles (8 km) to have lunch, then walking back.

There is a freedom in snowbirding to let the mind relax. A freedom to let the mind wander. A freedom to think about metaphors and analogies to develop these walks.

There is a freedom to having continuous opportunities to refresh and recharge – a freedom that being relaxed is the norm rather than the exception.

There is a freedom to have a time of harmony because the beach is saying, “Relax, you are on beach time.”

There is a freedom to having a perpetual wave machine soothing the mind, body, and soul with the rhythms of Earth’s beating heart.

There is a freedom of feeling like a rabbit frolicking in the meadow or woods without the fear of predators.

There is a freedom in letting go – not worrying about feeling I have to stay busy. Not worrying about what to do – freedom from daily decisions. A freedom to spur-of-the-moment decisions to go to the Flora-Bama for the music.

Photo by Tobias Bju00f8rkli on Pexels.com

There is a freedom to walking on the beach or sitting on the balcony overlooking the sand and the water. Reading, knitting, writing, blogging, solving puzzles, using the fitness center, or watching television join the list. Others fish, sit by the pool or on the beach.

There is a freedom just like Janis Joplin said in Me and Bobby McGee – “Freedom is another word for nothin’ left to lose.”

The freedom of a snowbird – freedom to think – freedom to move with the wind. Freedom to have a life as an alter ego away from the home routine. Freedom to walk. Freedom to write beach walks. Freedom to walk. All these freedoms combine to form a potent elixir specialized for snowbirds. Besides, I like walking on the beach. It is good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on my feet.

Follow Beach Walk Reflections

Next Walk: Shells (Saturday 31 October @ 1 AM Eastern US)

110 thoughts on “3 – Snowbird Freedom”

    1. Meezer,
      Welcome to BWR. If this made you feel relax, hooray – I achieved one of my goals! And that’s the feeling I try to do on all the walks. Being this is only the third walk, I invite you to visit the other two. Did you use the ocean sounds? Did you find out about me through Monika?

      Like

  1. A question that comes to mind with snow birders is how do you maintain two residences? Is it a learned art based on experience? What do you do when the book you want to read is back home? Do you have two sets of kitchen utensils, two sets of furniture, two sets of the things you need on a daily basis? This thing is outside of my realm of experience. The closest I come is our annual tent camping trip (cancelled this year) and the list I employ to make sure we have what we need.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Gary,
      Although I initially laughed, it is a good question. For the sake of the topic, let’s assume there are two types of snowbirds: owners and renters. If an owner, they have two sets of everything. Their snowbirding residence is fully furnished. Some of the owners will then rent their place during times when they aren’t there – and others will just leave it – possibly hiring a local caretaker. I know people in both categories.

      Some snowbirds have an RV for their living quarters, therefore driving the RV while towing a car for use while there. Like condos or houses, some own their RV space while others rent them.

      In our case, we rent a condo, which is fully furnished. If a hurricane damages the building/unit, we will change locations. After all, that’s snowbird freedom. 🙂 PS: I enjoy my alter ego life.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I always loved the sense of calm on the beach….even with angry waves……it’s actually the same feeling that comes to me from walking through the woods up in the mountains and tuning into the sound of the wind in the trees. It refreshes the soul. Wherever we find that calm is a blessing.

    Pam

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Pam,
      I completely agree with you about the mountains and the beach. Life during our time of snowbirds is so relaxing. Friends came to the area for a week. They were relaxed, but not relaxed enough because they were also in “what are we going to do” mode. Not me – my questions are which way am I going to walk and what’s for dinner. Ahhhh … the mere thought is relaxing as I think what I have to do today and the rest of the week.

      Like

  3. Ahh for freedom. I wish to be a snowbird as you have described. Free to soar over the waves. Free from any shackles. Free to feel the wind on my feathered face and lifting my wings as I sail with the currents. Relaxation is so important. Your posts make me want to take a holiday!

    Like

    1. Lenora,
      “Free from any shackles” …. now that’s a perfect phrase. That’s so good, I wished I would have come up with it! However, your wonderful comment means I achieve one of goals of describing this special freedom. Meanwhile, hang in there, your holiday time will come. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

                1. My mind remembers tidbits like locations, hence my question. Good luck with your work. Besides – you are trying to get something done with your child asleep.

                  Liked by 1 person

    1. Merril,
      The freedom during the snowbird experience is special. Some have to learn how to do it, while others fall into it as if they are naturals. We were the latter.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You sound so relaxed today, Frank, and I love the word “freedom”. It’s one of my favourite words.
    In Australia – pre-Covid days – the northern states would have a deluge of people arriving from down south in search of warmer climes during winter. Here, those people are referred to as “Mexicans”! I like your terminology better. Snowbirds is a much nicer name. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanne,
      I’m sure seeking warmer weather as an escape from local winter happens across the world. It would be interesting to know the other terms. After using the term snowbird on the old blog, a non-American asked me about the term. The world of language is a world of its own. Thanks for sharing about Australia!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I love the idea of walking five miles to have lunch and then walking back. Freedom, indeed! We had a few aunts who were snowbirds back in the day, but so far, winter walks on the beach up north here are still working for us.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Barbara,
      When I first did the 5 mile walk for lunch several years ago, I got some strange looks. Well, I’ve kept that tradition. Maybe I’ll do it multiple times next year because I discovered another eatery in the same area! 🙂 … Cheers to your love for winter walks!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Yes, my dear Frank… that freedom. The freedom to feel!
    Thank you for offering this experience, as always a very complete experience!
    …”good for the mind, body, and soul – and refreshing on your feet” and brightening our days!
    Yamas!
    ps loved the video but what made the experience complete was the ocean wave sounds…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Marina,
      Glad you could feel the freedom of this walk. I embrace that freedom during my time as a snowbird … ahhhh … the mere thought is relaxing. I chose the ending video for two reasons – 1) I love the song and 2) horses running exhibits freedom.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I like the way you look at things. I like that you left the golf clubs home, and it doesn’t hurt that you included a bit from Janis Joplin. Also, if you do a 10-mile journey for lunch, I’m guessing you can have anything on the menu without a side of guilt.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dan,
      No guilt from the menu … none … none at all! 🙂 In terms of the golf clubs, I’ve got the feeling they will be going this year. Two others we know there have suggested it, so my wife is embracing the idea. I must remember that taking them is not an obligation! After all, that’s what snowbird freedom is all about.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Laurie,
      You referring this to meditation makes me smile … thank you! And being a Maine gal is a good thing – and year round as well. I imagine Maine snowbirds go to the Carolinas, Georgia, and Florida – well, following I-95.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Strangely enough, that freedom exists for “almost snowbirds” – I was amazed at how different everything felt when I first had my second house on Cape Cod. I would go there, and the world melted away and I felt totally free. Still do when I go there. Enjoy the waves and your freedom!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trent,
      Excellent point. You got me thinking about people who have getaways on river, lakes or even the ocean – places they go for short periods of time – maybe just weekends. They too offer this type of freedom. To them, those locations are a haven. Oh – another future walk topic! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I always said I wouldn’t want to be a snowbird. Someone who lives partly in one place and partly in another. Having had a childhood where we rarely lived anywhere for long, I yearned for roots, to ‘belong’ somewhere. And I said, firmly, that six months here, six months there wasn’t an option. Since the pandemic, I’m re-evaluating. I can see the attraction of following the tides, and like you, enjoying the moment, unfettered by routine.

    Like

    1. Margaret,
      Thanks for your feedback, and excellent points. At this point in my life, I’m right with you regarding (let’s say) two long stays. I have a neighbor here in Ohio who does just that – but is an official Florida resident. Another neighbor may go south for a month, then comes back for a month, back down for 4, whatever. In my case … it’s 7 weeks away in the middle of winter … and we rent. I guess I just said that all snowbirds aren’t created the same. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Resa,
      Glad to surprise you with one aspect of freedom. Interestingly, I never consider titling the post Freedom – but I did consider Snowbirding, but I know not everyone knows the term – but I used it on the “Title List” page because it took up only one line. In know – a lousy reason. How you seen the Topics List page?

      Back on topic. I focused this post on Snowbird Freedom because this may be one of the broad themes of this blog. And yes – I do look at my 7 weeks as my alter ego. Meanwhile, thanks for the Richie Havens video. Love the man’s style! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have seen your Title List page.
        I want to suggest something, but, WHEW, there’s a lot of topics there.
        Glad you like the Freedom song I sent!
        Please take care, Frank!

        Like

        1. The list is long, and I also have an unpublish list of ideas. Even had a suggestion come through the blog! Woo hoo!!!! If you get an idea, please let me know.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. John,
      Thanks for understanding Snowbird Freedom. People themselves are set limitations on themselves – maybe even unknowingly so. Just kick back, relax, and remember to be on beach time. Thanks for walking along.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Lots of snowbirds here in Arizona, although we flew here and are here for now full time. However, we do have a cabin in Wyoming where we can go for part of the summer (shared with my brother and his family). I’m one of those oddballs who enjoys winter and loves being out in the snow, etc. , so I’ll be driving to higher elevations during our winter to get my snow and cold fix. 🙂

    janet

    Like

    1. Janet,
      Being in Arizona, you definitely know snowbirds. Last year on a Danube River cruise we met a couple from Alberta Canada who winter in Arizona. A friend from Minnesota told me he is considering it because many up there go there …. but they also come to the Alabama coast. A friend here is taking it one step farther by moving to Arizona very soon. Although winter is not for everyone also means that winter is for someone … so cheers to your love for the season of winter! Thanks for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Rebeca,
      First of all, thanks for the kind words. Also, thanks for listening & watching the ending video. Love the feedback because I put a lot of effort into picking the right one to conclude the walk. To me, Hans Zimmer is awesome …. Love his music. Something about his dramatic moves me. Besides enjoying this song, I thought the horse also exhibits a freedom that I feel as a snowbird. Thanks for putting all my thoughts together! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. PD,
      Oh my … your description perfectly describes the intent of this post. Thank you! The reason this post is so early in the series is because (I think) it sets the stage for all the posts/walks. I’m still astonished by your words of wondering, wandering, receiving, and embracing … oh yes – all of them are gifts.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am so happy that I could receive and reflect your intent. Your post brings the gift of this experience to me. An opportunity to be at the beach has been my most precious dream forever and a profound gift whenever it comes to reality. So I absolutely ‘get’ your post. Thank you for welcoming my thoughts and words.

        Like

  11. It’s interesting how you choose to spend your snowbird time. I’m not sure I could ever be that relaxed – at least not for more than a couple days!

    Do you find a way to have this sort of freedom at home in Cincinnati? Why or why not?

    Like

    1. Eilene,
      Excellent questions, so I will try to provide some short answers. I think we have completed snowbirding 4 times – the first for 4 weeks, twice for 6 weeks, and once for 7 weeks. Looking back to the first year, I don’t ever recall going there with a plan – so I think the routine evolved. The weather during the first year was abnormally sunny and warm …. so wow …. we just wanted to soak in the days. As I said in the first walk, I noticed my mind focusing on a topic and thinking about it. Again – unplanned. As a blogger and one who enjoys writing (so I don’t consider myself as a writer), I saw a writing opportunity and my blog as a way to share it. Boom – beach walks were born.

      This type of freedom at home? No way. At home, there are too many obligations and commitments. Too many things to do and reminds of what has to be done. Too many appointments to keep and people to answer. If one had a day, it would be short lived. But wth snowbirding, the experience is the number of weeks away. Did I answer your questions?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think so. Especially since you’re renting a condo – nothing for you to maintain or worry about. I think second home owners do not experience the sort of freedom you do from what is essentially an extended vacation.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Precisely. Owners are surrounded with reminds. Last year we had a refrigerator issue. Made a phone call … cooperated with the maintenance staff … old frig out … loaner within 30 minutes … they contacted owner about next course of action … Maintenance calls when new frig arrived … we arrived a date & time … loaner out, then new one in … solved.

          Liked by 1 person

  12. I am relaxed just feeling this freedom you’ve described. Where is your summer home, Frank? Sometimes I dream of being a snowbird myself some day, but my husband loves ice fishing on Lake Superior so am not sure this is going to happen after he retires. But maybe? You never know.

    Like

    1. Kathy,
      Permanent home is in Cincinnati Ohio …. and my life on the Alabama coast is for 7 weeks. There are many people from Minnesota in the area we go … also from Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin – that is the center swath of the country. Some for Ohio, but in general, not many people east of my state. On the other hand, no ice fishing for the northerners – but I see some people fishing every day!!! They fish – I walk … and I frequently stop to chat with them.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with you about beach time being a different calculation from “regular” time. We’re still under so many restrictions here in Southern California and even our beach accessibility is different. I’ve missed having the freedom to indulge in as much “beach time” as I’ve grown to expect, but the waves will still be waiting for me. Meanwhile, I am enjoying your immersion. I sleep with a beach sound app. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debra,
      Knowing how much you enjoy beach time, I understand you missing your beach time due to the restrictions of today’s world. But – you also made me grin when saying you know the waves will be there. We can unquestionably count of their presence! Cheers to your beach sound app! 🙂 Therefore, I’m guessing you use the wave sounds on these posts.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. From far distance, overseas, and transcontinental, right here, in my morning, a kind of meditation, or like an enhancement for my soul all these touches into the words, into the photographs, into the music… Ah, yes, Hans Zimmer! Thank you dear Frank, this is my freedom too. You are doing great. Blessing and Happiness, Love, nia

    Like

    1. Nia,
      I so happy that this post provides a meditative feel for you. 🙂 And the music of Hans Zimmer is wonderful! Believe me, I listened to a lot of his music for finding places it can fit with other walks. Cheers to your joy!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Your beach thoughts make me envious of the freedom of snowbirds. Yes, being retired I have freedom but still have the routine responsibilities of a home. Perhaps I need a trip to get away. Love the freedom quote. Enjoy your freedom.

    Like

    1. Jo,
      As you know, some retirees are so busy, they wonder how they ever had time to work! As you mentioned, one of the keys to snowbirding is being away from home. As mentioned through another discussion, so is renting the new space because one isn’t surrounded by reminders and discoveries of what needs to be done! Meanwhile, my trip south is many weeks away. Thanks for walking along.

      Like

    1. Monika,
      The fact your blood pressure dropped because of reading this post is quite the praise. Many thanks for affirming that’s one of my aims. Ahhhhhh ….

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I had to be educated in what snowbirds are (a few months back). Don’t have them in England (unless they’re those who spend the winter in Spain).
    But I take those same freedoms twice, maybe more a week. Essential for health.

    Like

    1. Crispina,
      I know “snowbirds” is not a global term. Yes, the English going to Spain for the winter qualifies. I’m curious – any special name for them? I wonder what the Spaniards call them? Thanks for walking along and appreciating a bit of snowbird freedom.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Beach Time really is the best time, isn’t it, Frank? I hope you can avoid the hurricanes — that’s always trying, particularly this year when they’ve been so numerous. I need to get south when this pandemic finally ends!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Debbie,
      Being in Cincinnati, hurricane effects are rare – well, outside of rain. While we will get rain from Zeta, about 10-12 years ago we did get a serious blast of a hurricane remnant – lots of damage. On the other hand, Sally hit are area of Alabama hard. No sure what we will find. Meanwhile, snowbirding is a good thing!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jo,
      Great question. Our first time was 4 weeks, and when we left, we knew that next year would be 6 … which we did for 2 years … then expanded to 7 last year … and scheduled for 7 this year. Slowly but surely, increasing. We are also getting our of their before the spring rates kick in. At max I could see us doing 10 – that is, going a week earlier and staying 2 longer. Always sad to leave – but we know March at home is crazy weather.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. You put tears in my eyes with this one, Frank. The word “freedom” used over and over again got to me. Oh yes there is freedom in just walking which is what I am about to do before I get involved with my day. We have so many freedoms in our lives yet it takes those of us whose eyes are open to see those freedoms instead of focusing on the freedoms that were taken from us. Listening to the peaceful music along with the sound of waves, and then reading your words, I could feel the stress melt away. For this alone I thank you. Consider yourself fortunate to be able to distance yourself from the cold and snow …. my goal some day when I can, is do the exact same. Bless you this day, dear friend. Thank you.

    Like

    1. Amy,
      Wow .. many thanks for the kind words. As you point out, freedom is a big word with many applications. I wanted the focus of this walk to be on my overall mood during this time – that sense of freedom from my typical everyday world when at home … or as I refer to it here as my alter ego. For me, this time is an important mindset – and looking back at the post through the comments, freedom is the right word choice. Thanks for sharing your wonderful thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Funny how Snowbirds came into being. We automatically think of Florida (coz most Quebecers choose to go there – which is why I will never, though Mick wanted to eventually). How ever did Alabama come to be yours?
    I love that Hans Zimmer piece. It’s truly lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dale,
      Glad you enjoyed the Hans Zimmer song. To me, the horse was exhibiting a similar freedom that I was trying to put into words. When I say the video, I knew it was it.

      Good question about Alabama. Florida is a very long state – so the climates of north, central, and south Florida are different. For the winter, the cost differences between the three are great. My wife’s parents were snowbirds for over 20 years, all of them along the panhandle region. We often visited. Several years after she died, my wife retired, and thought about wintering on that coast – and taking her dad. He agreed and that’s how we started. I think the next trip will be year 5. The temps & sun are NOT central and south Florida, but the rates are awesome. Besides, it’s always better temps than home. FYI: From the condo building to Florida? … 350 steps. I actually walk more in Florida than I do in Alabama.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that horse did look free.
        And interesting. Wonderful to read how things come about.
        You mean 350 from your condo in Alabama to the Florida State line?

        Like

    1. NEGT,
      Thanks for stopping by my little corner of the world. My time snowbirding is very simple, which is why I refer it as my alter ego. Ohio weather vs the temps on the Gulf coast … no comparison. My temp manra rings loud on the cold days down there. … and believe me, it’s a beautiful beach that is great for walking.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Sue,
      Hey hey – cheers to a fellow retiree. Isn’t it wonderful that we can lose track of the days! … well, in most cases – but we know what we mean. 🙂 Nonetheless, when on the beach as a snowbird, I try to take retirement to another level. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I love your music. Thanks for joining in again with WQWWC in spite of taking a blogging break! You’re amazing, Frank. You are truly on vacation during your snowbirding time. It is freeing.

    That’s how we feel here in Prescott. Today I stopped everything to take pictures of the first monsoon of the season. I was on my way to the store, and it started hailing, so back in the garage I drove and just stood inside the garage and watched it. We are so blessed to have the freedom here to enjoy retirement.

    I just hope that our ease is not causing others harm. We had some packages delivered for our new venture – an Air B & B in Scottsdale. The USPS driver delivered one load at 7:00 pm and another load at 10:00 pm. They are so short-handed and so many people have started ordering more online since COVID.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marsha,
      As soon as you posted the topic, this past post came to mind. Just think – this was the third beach walk! As you know, I end each walk with music – so I take the selection seriously because I want the song to have a certain feel – mainly relaxation. Good luck with your R&B venture.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.