The more that life seems to offer us, the more disappointed we seem to be with most of it. We have instant access to almost anything we could want at our fingertips, but that only leaves many of us craving more: we want faster, bigger, brighter, etc. By constantly being in this state of "go, go, go," we never get a chance to truly relax and take care of ourselves. Wouldn't it be nice if there was someplace we could go that would remind us of the simple pleasures of little things, and how we might enjoy them again? There is, and it is Key West, Florida.
To be sure, there is a lot to do in Key West for those who like to stay active. With the Gulf of Mexico on one side, the Caribbean Ocean on the other and the only barrier reef in North America in the middle, there are many different options of getting out on the water. There are several daily charters offering snorkel and SCUBA trips to the reef, jet skiing for the speed junkies and parasailing for those who seek an adrenaline rush.
If you need a mental stimulation instead of a physical one, Key West is rich with over five centuries of history to explore. There are classic antique houses, museums exploring the rich times and dangerous past of the island, as well as dozens of art galleries, three live performance theaters and a multi-screen independent movie theater.
It takes nourishment to sustain a person through all these activities. Luckily, there are more than 300 Key West restaurants to choose from. It does not matter what type of mood you are in, from a quick lunch on the docks to the casual elegance of an outdoor dinner on a patio, there is a perfect restaurant for you.
None of this, however, compares to what Key West is best known for. That is for slowing down and relaxing, and the perfect example of how important that is to the island's culture can be seen in the nightly sun set celebration. Held at historic Mallory Square, this carnival like atmosphere - with jugglers, sword swallowers and even trained cats - takes a break when the sun hits the water. Even other places on the island all stop what they are doing and revel in the simple celebration of having spent another day in paradise.
A person comes back from a visit to Key West with a different perspective on life. It may be impossible to change a life completely while still running the rat race, but it is possible to find little ways to appreciate the simpler things. It may not look the same setting over the suburbs as it does the sea, but you can still have your own Key West sunset wherever you go.
Jack Terry is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer who lived in Key West for several years. http://www.rooftopcafekeywest.com