Have you ever met someone and felt an instant connection? The conversation is effortless and the commonalities uncanny? The feeling that, perhaps, you’d known them before in some wildly previous lifetime or that they were, quite possibly, your long lost twin, separated at birth, that, somehow, your parents just forgot to mention existed? What amazes me is how, on the rare chance this type of meeting does occur, it usually happens in the most synchronistic of ways and, at least for me, generally far from home. I was fortunate enough to have this experience on my second SOULo trip to Key West in March of 2015, when I met my Soul Sister, Sara.
To begin, let’s back this story up just a few years. It was summer of 2013 and I was basking in the sun on the beautiful sands of Sugar Beach on Grand Traverse Bay in Traverse City, Michigan (what I’ve come to call the “Caribbean North”; if you Southerners are ever looking to “sunbird” North to escape the steaming hot summers in your neck of the woods, I highly recommend it!). As I watched the serene paddleboarders and the brave parasailers pass by from my beach lounger, a woman sat next to me and we began to chat. Little did I know at the time, but this was Sara and my fairy Godmother. Her name was Helen and she was much like the previous people I have mentioned in my “Angels Among Us” article that I tend to meet on my travels. Before we knew it, we were sharing life stories and my love for Key West became a topic. At this point, I was still somewhere in the mid 5 year range that it took me to get back to Key West and plunge into my SOULo travel scene, but Helen, “coincidentally” (I always use this term lightly!), had a friend who had just moved there and she had assured me that, if I went back, I needed to meet a girl named Sara—that we were very much alike and that she would need a new friend since she and her husband, Joe, had just been relocated from Greece to Key West as part of his job with the US Navy. Not thinking too much of it at the time, Helen and I parted ways after over an hour of heartfelt conversation and each of us with a new Facebook friend connection.
Next, we fast forward, a year and a half later, to December 2014. When I finally decided I couldn’t wait any longer to get back to Key West, and had announced my decision to take the trip on my own via social media, Helen sent me a message reminding me of Sara and that I just had to connect with her in some way. Unfortunately, I had no other details about Sara except that she was a realtor who worked for Royal Palms Realty. Sara and I never met on this trip and I found out, later on, that she was up in Fort Myers with family for Christmas while Helen was sending her messages telling her she had to meet me. My three-night getaway was chalk full of adventures, so the timing, more than likely, wouldn’t have proved to work in our favor anyway. Until…
…three months later, March 2015. After my December trip, I knew Key West was etched in my soul and that I would be returning as often as possible. This trip came with a longer stay AND more detailed contact information, from Helen, and Sara and I connected on Facebook before I left. Now I have to say, it can be a brave move to add someone on Facebook who is literally a stranger, but I trusted Helen, and know now, she certainly knew what she was doing. Sara and I definitely had a lot in common.
Between Sara’s busy schedule, and my fun-filled plans for the week, we managed to catch lunch at the Half Shell Raw Bar. We greeted each other with a hug, ordered the same meal (go figure!), and, in that short lunch break, walked away knowing we had both met a kindred spirit. We felt like we had been friends forever! The rest of the week we spent lunches (aka fish tacos) sharing our philosophies on life, teaching stories (Sara had been a teacher before arriving in Key West), our love for our pets and, of course, mermaids. By the end of the week, I was touring properties with Sara for the summer adventure that I had been dreaming of for the past five years. How magical was it that the Universe had “somehow” placed this person in my life?
When I returned last July to live my island life dream for one full month, Sara and, not to forget, her husband Joe (this friendship came as an awesome packaged deal!), were a big part of what made me want to stay. The kindness and generosity they extended really made me feel a part of life in Key West. We went on fish taco frenzies at Garbo’s Grill, Andy’s Cabana and Turtle Kraals, enjoyed chocolate covered key lime pie on a stick from Kermit’s, trudged through the backstreets in the summer rains of the island looking for offstreet parking on a Sunday for one of her clients (this girl is dedicated and didn’t earn her title from the Key West Association of Realtors as 2015’s “Rookie of the Year” for nothin’!), and, my personal favorite, partook in the “Running of the Bulls” during all of the excitement of Hemingway Days!
Sara and I haven’t seen one another since the end of July, but we stay in touch lots. She surprises me with thoughtful snail mail and we eagerly entertain our dreams via text to someday be island neighbors and run our own mermaid business. I’m not sure what life will bring next for our friendship, but I know my KWBFF is never far from heart and that Sara inspires me in ways she may not even know. I’m quite certain, though, our reunion will involve fish tacos and, if we’re lucky, maybe even some “rumming” through the streets in red scarves!