Christmas in Florida

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Christmas Day view, featuring a local Sandhill crane.

How bout that Florida sunshine?

It’s my first day back at my desk in Toronto after a 4-day jaunt over Christmas to sunny Sarasota, Florida. My parents are retired and have been doing the snowbird thing in Sarasota for the last decade, spending winters at a condo on an in-land golf course. Neither of them golf but they like the scenery and low maintenance of a condo. Winters in Sarasota are usually sunny and mild, and the local wildlife is charming, as you can see from the pic of the pond just outside their door. My parents even claim to know the crane pictured.

A highlight of the trip was enjoying a few hours lying in the sun by the community pool. There I noticed several small anole lizards, like the one below, sunning themselves on the dark metal bars of the fence surrounding the pool area. SAME, lizards. Same.

© Hans Hillewaert

I see it, I want it

Perhaps it goes without saying that witnessing my parents flying south every winter has inspired my quest to become a millennial snowbird. But as retirees they’re living off their savings and my dad’s pension. My version will be a little trickier as I risk disrupting an established career and will need to create alternative sources of income.

Should I bring my cats to Sarasota next winter?

Assuming I get the leave request approved by my employer, it has occurred to me that the lowest hanging fruit for a 6-month leave of absence next winter would be to take my cats to my parents’ condo in Sarasota and park it there until spring. I’m not wild about the idea though.


  • Low/no rent
  • Access to a car
  • Mild or warm in winter


  • There’s nothing within walking distance (besides a pool and a golf course) and transit options are bad, so I’d have to drive to do almost anything
  • Social life would be limited in this retirement community
  • Risk of alligators harming my cats if they managed to slip outside
  • There’s no sun around the condo from about 2pm onward