We recently vacationed "down south." Nature is a bit different down there. It's wilder and bigger than this midwest-raised girl experienced, that's for sure. The swampland brings about its own wildlife with palms and Spanish moss and creatures all of its own. Having lived about 6 years in Tampa-area (many years ago), I first learned that there. Exotic and large birds like herons and egrets were common... as were larger turtles and alligators and snakes I wasn't used to. They all felt so prehistoric in comparison to the wildlife I was used to from my childhood.
A lot of bike riding this trip brought about a lot of opportunities to check out nature. My sightings this trip reiterated that wild and wonderful (and slightly still-startling) sense of nature included:
- Blue heron
- Baby gator
- Sand dollars ("feet-plucked" from the sand while in the ocean)
- Pelicans & other seabirds fishing in the ocean (another thing you don't find in Middle America)
It was a good reminder of how important it is to travel and see new things. Even just a handful of states away, the wildlife is different. The culture is different. The tastes of local food, the customs, and vernacular and more.... Wandering around and getting lost was a great way to soak it all in, and unplug along the way. Opening your eyes and mind to new experiences should always be welcome!