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Kayaking in the Florida Everglades

My experience growing up in the Florida Keys – By Johnny Keever

As a child, I grew up in the Keys. For me it’s the place I call home, it’s shaped and molded me into the ocean-loving, fun in the sun kind of guy I am today. Without having grown up there, I don’t know who I would be today.
My experience growing up in the Florida Keys involved days of sailing, kayaking, and snorkeling. Sailing every other day was my escape, it allowed me the silence and peace of mind away from the busy bustle of school and work, and allowed me time to reflect on my life. With the wind in my sails and no particular destination ahead of me I knew that the next few hours would be filled with peace, quiet, and the ability to think about the big questions; what do I want to do in the next five years? What are the things I need to accomplish to get where I want to go? These times sailing and getting away from it all we’re invaluable to helping me shape my future.
Johnny and Paul sailing in the Keys
In addition to sailing, snorkeling was my next favorite hobby. Not just snorkeling but free diving in particular. This hobby gave me an appreciation and understanding of the world around me that affects my decision to this day. Freediving was an amazing experience, you gain an ability and understanding of life underwater as you would never understand otherwise. For example, I am a scuba diver as well as a freediver, the experience between free diving and scuba diving is very different. It’s different because since you’re not making noise, wildlife responds to your presence with much more curiosity. A freediver has no air bubbles, no sounds are made when breathing because, well, you’re not breathing. The lack of respiration invites the sea life around you to come by and be less cautious of you, and also it allows for you to hear and experience the sounds of the ocean around you in a way you wouldn’t otherwise be able to experience with a traditional diving tank.
These facts about free diving gave me a similar experience to sailing; when I’m underwater, everything is quiet. Everything is surreal, the school of fish swimming around me, the stingray that just flew by me, the Goliath grouper that decided to slowly idle by. These moments are precious to me, they have shaped me and molded me into a person with a deep understanding of the beauty that this world has to offer. All these moments made me think; what other beautiful and amazing moments does this world that we live in has to offer?

The Florida Keys has given me the insight into myself and the world around me that I would never be able to experience having grown up somewhere else. Growing up there was filled with days of snorkeling, diving, sailing, and other fun activities that involved the water. It’s given me an appreciation for the ocean and has also shown me just how beautiful the world around us can be. As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed that many people have yet to experience the beauty in the world, the possibilities that evolution and life have created. Going and visiting the keys is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that can change the way an individual views the world forever. It is a truly magical experience that can shape a child’s life in a way that no other place can.

By |2021-09-03T02:34:47-05:00September 3rd, 2021|BLOG|

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