My Visit to the South After Spending Almost Two Years on the West


by Veronica Castillo

I write a lot about my journey on the road; leaving home, Ohio at the time, for the road in 2018. I traveled from the Midwest to the west and from there- the south. I went back west for almost 2 years before leaving that side of the country, to visit home. which happens to be the south, Florida to be exact.

Florida isn’t really the south” some say; but, isn’t it? So south that it’s almost down there in the Caribbean? I mean- part of it is down there, right?

I argue that it is the most southern of the south- though Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi….  most of- the southern states give Florida a run for their money I guess, but my point is; Florida is definitely the south. Generally, people think Florida and think: theme parks, beaches, and lit spring breaks. Florida does have its seasons where depending on the city, you could forget that you are in one of the reddest states ever.

I do like to separate Miami Dade County from that a bit, what I call “the united Caribbean’, the city where I was born and partly raised. I grew up in North Miami, running around barefooted, talking to my chickens who I thought were pets- until I realized that they were actually our meals (it’s no wonder I’m vegan), and watching the coconuts, papayas, pigeon peas, cilantro, and whatever other plant my mom wanted, grow tall, healthy, and green. 

That city is quite the melting pot- though- there are differences in culture on the gulf coast side of Florida, and the Atlantic coast side of Florida. 

My little southern country Caribbean life came to a halt when we moved 15 minutes north to Broward County. And that my friends is the start of the most southern of the south; Broward County. The county that sued Uncle Luke for making grown folk music that made grown folk dance. 

Somethings changed; like Cannabis being legal for medicinal consumption. Somethings haven’t changed; like; people turning up their noses at you for having the audacity to consume Cannabis. Things like; getting strange looks and “the devil’s lettuce” push back when you advocate for the plant. Like; being in a state where Cannabis is medically legal, and fearing an encounter with the police that could end your life. 

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