Place Where You Live:

Gainesville, Florida

Spiderwort (Tradescantia ohiensis) taken at Sweetwater Nature Preserve

As the bright illuminating sun shines down across a dewy horizon, filling the air with an electric breeze, all I can think to myself is “freedom.” To me, Gainesville Florida ultimately represents just that: freedom. Here is a place to try your luck at being independent, go to college, reap the benefits of seeds sown in youth. A place where self-discovery paves the way to enlightenment. A place to make mistakes, challenge yourself, learn and grow. The true transformative power of Gainesville comes through the culmination of diverse beings living here, creating a foundation of brilliantly marvelous innovation.

There is always something new to discover in Gainesville. Whether that be the rejuvenating crystal clear water of the springs, an adventurous dive into a mysterious blue hole, a contemplative walk through the lush jungle like wilderness, a thrilling bike ride along the Gainesville-Hawthrone rail trail or an enriching stroll through downtown, there is something for everyone in this wondrously uncanny city.

What struck me most, when I first arrived, was the Spanish Moss that hangs down from almost every tree, giving way to a feeling of wildness and intrigue. Walking down many of the streets feels like being enveloped in a swampy tropical rainforest. The climate is almost always perfect, allowing for a considerable amount of time to be spent outside, soaking up the riches of the Gainesville environment.

Finding a place with balance between nature and human construct, playtime and work, academics and social events, can be challenging to say the least. However, Gainesville is the one place where I have lived that integrates all of these areas into a beautiful balance full of compelling vivacity. A flower blooming in the hearts of many, Gainesville, Florida will always be a place that I am proud to call home.