Underwater Florida: There’s a spring with your name on it

A friend of mine moved to Florida recently and has discovered the wonders of Florida’s underwater scene. Actually, he hasn’t made it to any of the places that he’s salivating over whenever he browses the Web site underwaterflorida.com, but he’s planning upcoming outings for whenever he has time off from work.

He showed me the section of the Web site that lists many of Florida’s freshwater springs by region. If you click on each one, there’s a description about what makes a particular spring unique from another. For example, Rainbow Springs is one of the clearest in Florida. Here you can snorkel, canoe and swim. There is also a hiking trail and tropical gardens. As I’m sitting in gray, cold Ohio, tropical gardens sound divine.

DeLeon Springs caught my attention, but it has nothing to do with the fountain of youth. What it does have something to do with is the Civil War. There used to be a sugar mill here that was burned down twice by Confederate soldiers. Now you can canoe and scuba dive.

Hearing my friend talk about the places he’d like to go (he’s up in Ohio for the holidays) reminds me of what is so alluring about moving to a totally new state, country or even a new town. Although, there’s a certain coziness about living in one place for a long enough time that it’s as comfortable as an easy chair, and you’ve been to the same dentist or mechanic so many times that you don’t even have to remember how to get there anymore, there’s an edginess that’s missing.

That crackle of excitement when learning to navigate the unknown and making new discoveries is hard to come by when settled down–which is why travel is as necessary as breathing. Moving to Florida, particularly this time of year, makes sense to me, particularly when there are more than 30 springs listed with directions on how to get there. Of course, moving means packing and that’s another story. Still, Skybus flies to Florida and the next round of cheap seats should be posted soon.