Fort Walton is not just a vacation destination. It's not just some place in Florida. It is childhood. It is memories. It is family.
This year, my entire family will be heading down there, together. My siblings, their spouses, and I went two years ago together, but I have not been with my parents since I was 16. That's 10 years overdue for a trip. And all of us haven't been on a vacation together in over 10 years. This trip is needed, and it's going to be amazing.
Fort Walton is a place of love. It is where my parents first met. It is where my brother in law proposed to my sister. It is where my brother and sister in law took their honeymoon. It is where Laurence and I bonded, it is where friendships have been built. It is happiness.
It is beautiful. The sun shining, toes deep in the white sand, palm trees swaying in the wind, ocean waves coming in, a sunset so bright you can hardly believe it.
It is fun. Building sandcastles on the beach, playing in the pool, shopping on the strip, bingo with the locals, Goofy Gall tournaments.
It is delicious. Raw Oysters, shrimp sandwiches, grilled fish, Waffle Houses galore, gourmet chocolate chip pancakes.
It is my happy place. It is the place I love the most in this world. And soon, I will be there again.
To my family, I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am to spend a week with you in our most special place. I love you all so much and to be together here will mean so much. Let's all vow to let go of worries, to hold back from anger and fear and to just soak it up. Who knows when we will all be together again here. We should cherish it while we can. See you in 10 days, 17 hours, and 24 minutes.