By Philip Sheldon
During that time of year when we stop to give thanks for our blessings, I’d like to offer my gratitude to Key West and the people who have made it so special for me.
After 21 years of living in Key West – fully one-third of my life – I’ve just moved to join our HE Travel West office in Salt Lake City. It’s an odd feeling to leave behind so much of my familiar world. But this isn’t a farewell as much as it is a graduation from a place which has nurtured me and given me a safe space, with close friendships that will transcend the locations where we each may live.
Living at the end of a very long road over 100 miles from the mainland has felt quite remote during hurricanes, but can also be comforting. That very remoteness breeds a unique self-reliance and commitment to looking out for each other.
I’ll miss my many personal connections. These include my long-standing dentist, doctor, accountant, insurance agent, banker and other professionals, all of whom I count as personal friends beyond our business relationships. Key West is a special kind of place that nurtures such ties.
I’ll miss the myriad of good restaurants that have provided nourishment over the years, along with providing the tables across which I’ve had uncountable conversations – sometimes solving the problems of the world (or our own worlds) and more than once looking across the table at someone and realizing how grateful I was that they were part of my life.
I’ll likely never again live in a place where I personally know nearly every public official, the leaders of our arts organizations, and the movers and shakers of our rich social justice tapestry.
But for each of these keystones of Key West life, it is precisely because I know that they remain in good hands that I feel confident taking my gifts and passions to a new community. I will always maintain the Key West spirit reflected in our city motto, One Human Family!
Key West (and my Key West friends and clients), thank you and Godspeed! I’ll be back for a visit when I need to thaw out or just chill out. And our Key West East HQ team will still be on the island to serve your travel needs.
Salt Lake City, here I am with lots of enthusiasm to explore the vibrant (and unexpectedly progressive) city, to hike the majestic mountain trails, to spend more time with my Western HE Travel family, and to make friends who will enrich my life in new ways.
I’m excited to see what unfolds next!
And to our HE Travel clients and friends, I wish you happy trails in 2018, wherever they may lead!