Until about a year ago, I had visited more of Central Asia than the cities in my state 50 miles north of me. I just assumed that “God’s waiting room,” extended from Ft. Lauderdale north to the Georgia border. I’m always one to challenge preconceived notions and starting last year, I’ve made a point of thoroughly exploring my state of 16 years now. To tell you the truth, the East Coast really is “God’s waiting room,” not that there’s anything wrong with that. But you discover things as you explore. Each city has a different vibe, a different demographic and different draw besides just the beach. You have ritzy Jupiter where I saw my first 2 wild flamingos in Florida. You have Vero Beach where literally nothing happens compared to the Space Coast which is young and lively. You have Saint Augustine, which is the oldest settlement in the Americas and full of history. There’s more than just the beach as you head north.
Going up the West Coast, you have a very different vibe. Whereas the East Coast of Florida is mostly populated with transplanted folk from the North-East, the west coast is mostly mid-Westerners. It’s less populated, less dense and more mellow. It’s also a whole lot more unique. There are the party cities of Ft. Myers Beach but also hidden gems like Anna Maria or Cedar Key. Meanwhile, the middle of the state feels like the Old South. Cities like DeLand and Mount Dora don’t feel like Florida at all.
I just spent 3 weeks meandering around the Florida Panhandle, a part of the state that is more akin to the bayous of Louisiana and the coast of Georgia than Florida. The Panhandle is literally forgotten by most Floridians, which is part of the charm. Whereas Miami has been in lockdown for months, the beaches of the Panhandle are open. More importantly, there are few COVID-19 restrictions still in force and they are mostly ignored anyway. I hardly even saw anyone bother with a mask. There are no riots or tension. People are happy to drink a beer and enjoy the sun. It was great to get away and enjoy life as it used to exist only a few short months ago, especially after a harrowing few months in the stock market.
As I write this to you, I’ve just stayed over at a 140-year old historic hotel in Mount Dora in Central Florida on the way home to South Beach. I told myself I’d stay away from new positions in the markets until something happened. Well, in the past three days, America went full-on Mad Max 2020. I certainly need to be in front of my screens for that.
I don’t control the news, but I try to front-run it. For the past few days, I’ve been joking with friends about my LOOT ETF which is a basket that benefits from riots. As we devolve into a bankrupt Banana Republic, it only seems natural that both parties will mobilize the poor to battle it out in the streets. Unfortunately, the riots are only starting. They’ll calm a bit and flare up again over time. That’s what happens as nations go broke and the pie stops growing. With this as the starting point, here are some longer-term themes I am considering;
I’m sure there are many more trends that were already in motion that will now hasten. However, that really shouldn’t be the story here. A few days ago, I had planned to write a story about how unique each part of Florida is and how 2020 ought to be the year when people take a break from vacationing overseas and instead travel around their own country. Honestly, I didn’t even realize how great my own state was until I started exploring. Then, a bunch of assholes started burning everything down. Which is yet another reminder that if you don’t go and see things now, you may never get to. With that in mind, I want to implore everyone to pack up their cars and go exploring. Staying at home listening to the echo chamber seems to have warped people’s minds. Go out, connect, grab a friendly beer with someone who sees things differently from you, find out about a part of your country you knew nothing about. I bet there would be a lot less stupidity right now if everyone did that a few times a year. Besides, you never know if Antifa terrorists will destroy your potential tourist destination next…
Disclosure: Funds that I control are long shares of various personal safety companies and inflation assets.
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