They are everywhere! The roads, the beaches, the stores! Tourists! Living and working in Destin, Florida brings its challenges. Locals gather at the workplace lamenting about traffic on Highway 98, Scenic Gulf Drive and 30A, and how much more the roads can bear. Vacationers seem to have found a permanent home in our environs on the Emerald Coast. It used to be just high season from the Spring to Fall, but in the past year, there are more people in town than I’ve ever seen.
Getting from the Mid-Bay Bridge to Sandestin used to be an easy 15 minutes on Highway 98. Now, there are bottlenecks due to construction and it’s more like 30. Try for a shortcut on Scenic Highway 98, and it’s not any better. Try getting to the beach from Driftwood Road, where my real estate office is, and you’ll have to dodge people walking four-by-four down the middle of the street, carrying beach bags, umbrellas and sunburns. There is no avoiding it, and them.
Of course, we love our tourists in Destin, Florida. They are the economic strength behind our coastal area. They support the restaurants, hotels, condos, beach rentals and shops. That is all good. But instead of using logic and reasoning to override the typical mental snap of “Don’t they know how to drive?”, “Why are they so slow crossing the street?” “How many people does it take to buy chips in the grocery store?” “Is that golf cart licensed to be on the road?”, there are a few mind tricks I’ve learned to put me more in the “Om” moment with tourists.
Here they are:
- Patience. My mantra is “We are tourists, too.” When we locals visit another tourist place, like Cape Cod, Nashville, or Florence, Italy, we are “them”! We don’t know where we are going. We crowd attractions. We are slow. We are aimless. Yes, we drive the locals crazy there. So, they are “us”. Be patient with them.
- Kindness. Instead of criticizing the family leaving the beach, walking on the hot pavement in their bare feet, really “see” them. Look at the cute little girl and her brother, with their sun hats and kid glasses, following their father and mother like ducklings. They are adorable! Smile!
- Have a “Vacation Mind”. This is the greatest trick. Tourists aren’t just getting from point A to point B, from work to appointment to grocery store to home. They are in awe of our Destin area. They notice things we don’t have the time for (isn’t it true anywhere you live?). They appreciate the blazing white sand. They are enraptured by the blue-green Gulf of Mexico waters. They soak in our steamy climate. They love Destin Harbor, the local fish, the cuisine, the trendy shopping.
Tourists remind us to appreciate what’s all around us. Who has time for that? Maybe we should make time.
It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Email Wendy: [email protected]
Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.