So I grew up in several cities in Wisconsin, and for the most part I got to know our neighbors. They knew me and my family, and you had a sense of community from these bonds. They were important to have whether it was literally a cup of milk or sugar you needed, someone to babysit the kids, or just a friend who stopped for a chat. It felt good, it felt warm, and it felt safe.
Here in my area of Florida, and I live near Orlando, the feeling of community is lost on several aspects. One, we have an abundant supply of vacation homes. Why is this an issue? Well for one, you have strangers coming and going from your neighborhood all the time. Whether you have high security fences or open walkways, they are there to vacation and hopefully nothing else. This brings on safety issues alone because you don’t know who is staying across the street or right next door. For some this may not be a big deal, but it’s not a comforting feeling to be laying out in my lanai or swimming with my kids and packs of tourists walking by and staring. (Let me say, I don’t like ANYONE stopping to stare lol).
I run and walk a lot in my area, and I have had my fair share of weird encounters, mostly harmless, but no one likes a car driving up next to you to ask for directions to the Parks. At least not this day and age. I am in a constant “Friend or Foe” mode when doing anything in my suburb, and that just gets to be exhausting. I don’t know if that van or car is parked and watching me or waiting to pick up someone from a vacation home.
The sense of community gets lost here because you either have a large percentage of snow birds or a large percentage of tourists, so getting to know your neighbor here has little to no point. (I am sure they are lovely people, but I’m not interested in bonding with someone I know I will never see again) In our area alone we have seen many people come and go, and you start to get the gist of who lives here and who doesn’t, but it seems no one is really opening to making connections because of the revolving door that is Florida.
The entitlement factor. Those in the vacation homes in my area seem to forget that locals live here. So on a beautiful evening where the warm breezes are blowing and you just want to sit and enjoy a drink in your lanai, you are greeted by vacationers who are throwing the biggest party of the century in which blocks of houses can hear it. We have had to actually leave our home and take a drive to get away from them. And let me say, not everyone is like this, but its unfortunate that the ones who do it ruin it for everyone.
Parking and traffic. With vacation homes come the large white passenger vans that carry a basketball team and then some. Again in a normal suburb, you get to know pretty quickly who is parking where every day and it just becomes a thing. These vans will park over sidewalks, the wrong way down the street, or my favorite, lets park one on either side of the street, so they are adjacent to each other. Do you know how unnerving it is to have to pray your car will FIT between two vehicles just to drive down your own road??? By the way, most who are staying in a vacation home have zero clue on the ebb and flow of traffic in your area. I have had everything from people walking down the middle of the street down one of our busy roads, to driving down the wrong side, to those who just stop dead in their tracks because they don’t know where they are going. Pedestrians don’t seem to really care about the drivers so they walk wherever they want, and drivers don’t seem to care that they have to wait for the pedestrians. It’s definitely here…a lack of caring.
Its easy to think to yourself “I can deal with that because I get to play at Disney….” But can you? Trust me, it gets old really fast. What I thought I could put up with here and has grown worse and much more tiresome- it wears on me and has me depressed several times. You think you can handle it. I thought I could handle it. But most days I am making lemons out of lemonade because I can’t control my suburb, the traffic, or the guy who blasts his music. You learn really quickly that dreams aren’t perfect and they come with strings. Even my beloved Disney Parks have become a lot…
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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!