Earlier this week, Atlanta was rocked by one of those ‘perfect storms’ that had the entire city paralyzed for days on end.  We make fun of people for making a run on the grocery stores before these things hit, but in this case it probably wasn’t the worst idea, actually.  On day 3 of the icy mess, I decided I’d had enough and needed to get moving.  I was tired of being isolated, and I wasn’t feeling very productive.  A change of scenery was in order.

Several options were bouncing around in my head, including Montego Bay, Aruba, Cancun, Los Angeles, etc, but suddenly I remembered that my friend Judi has a beach house on the Gulf, and it all clicked in that instant.

For the past month or so, I’ve been discussing Spirit of the Gulf Coast with the expedition team and with other people that have been supportive of the initiative.  We’ve been talking about a return visit to the coast to check on the communities that we visited back in August, and there has been some interest in our photo exhibit lately as well.  GulfScapes magazine is running a photo essay on our project in their new issue that comes out tomorrow, Jan. 15.  All the pieces seemed to be falling into place.  I called Judi and she said the townhouse was available if I wanted to use it.  I thought about it for about 2 seconds and decided to jump on it! At noon, I was walking out the door and heading for the coast.

Navarre Beach Sunset 1.12.11
I got here in time to watch the sunset over the Gulf, and woke up early to catch the sunrise the next morning.  That ended up being a very productive day, and I put some focus on a few things that had been on the back burner for a while, including the redesign of my blog.  Coincidentally, Judi is the one that is redesigning the blog for me.  Interesting how it’s all connected, isn’t it?

Changing our surroundings is one way to light a fire under our asses, and I’ve found it to be an effective way to move beyond some blockage that had been holding me back earlier in the week.  I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Navarre, Fl. as I write this, and enjoying seeing the locals come in and interact with each other.  I could just as easily be in the coffee shop down the street from my loft to emulate the effect of changing my surroundings.  The point is that for some of us, we need to keep moving as Chris Guillebeau recently wrote about.

Some people are cool working from random locations such as coffee shops.  I tend to be easily distracted in those situations, so I minimize these visits.  But I’m a big fan of uprooting on occasion and getting out of my routine as often as possible.  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that I’m no stranger to road trips, especially the spontaneous kind.  Some of my biggest breakthroughs have occurred during these trips.  It feels like this trip has all the ingredients of another big breakthrough.

One thing is clear to me – it is unlikely that I would be as ramped up on the Spirit work had I not come down here to be in this community.  Looking out the window at ice-covered roads and sidewalks was not exactly inspiring me to think about life along the Gulf coast.  5 1/2 hours later, I was walking on the beach at sunset and recalling all the things that we experienced last Summer.

Sunrise at Navarre Beach Pier 1.13.11

There are a lot of items on the agenda for today, but I’m inspired to make them happen. While Atlanta thaws out, I am reconnecting with one of the initiatives that I’m most passionate about.  It’s amazing how something as simple as a change of scenery can be for increased productivity.

What about you?  How do changes of scenery affect your life?  Do you find them productive or a distraction?

Special thanks to Judi Knight for the opportunity to spend this time on the Gulf.  If you’re looking for a place to escape to, I can’t say enough positive things about this beautiful beachfront townhome!

Photos: Navarre Beach, Florida 1.12.11 – 1.13.11