Hello and welcome to the Key West Perspective podcast!
It's a show about the quirky characters and eccentric celebrations, the understated entrepreneurs who’ve found big success on a small stretch of coral rock in the middle of the Caribbean, and the stories "behind the brochure", diving deep into what makes this one of the most interesting places to visit and certainly a great place to call home.
Join me, host Karrie Bond, as you enjoy a little island living, soak up suggestions from our guests who landed in Key West from many walks of life, and now enjoy their work at a slightly slower pace, and invite a few warm water words of wisdom that you can hopefully learn from as well.
I have a ton of content planned for you. Together, we’re going to explore places like the Mel Fisher’s Maritime Museum, talk to the creative geniuses who build floats for our biggest event of the year, Fantasy Fest; we’ll climb up to a Widow’s Walk just as the wives of the shipwreckers would back when the reef claimed many a passing vessel, we’ll dig into tales of haunted dolls, hilarious cemetery headstones, and Hemingway’s mansion….
we’ll find the best places to cook your catch when you get in off your fishing charter, we’ll talk to boutique owners, art gallery curators, Key Lime pie chefs, Mallory Square street performers, and iconic personalities who just make you chuckle and go “only in Key West”. In addition, I’ll sit down with community leaders who help make all this possible, and who add so much more depth and meaning to the destination than what you find on Duval Street.
To give you a little backstory, I wanted to take this opportunity in this first episode to share MY story, and why I’m excited for this journey. By trade, I’m a photographer, a writer, a creative entrepreneur, and – as you can now tell – a podcaster. It is in my DNA to see the world around me as a story, and as those stories have grown inside my head, I knew I had to get them out and share them with you.
Like many who call this island home, I am not originally FROM Key West. Now, I won’t lie…while there are parts of me that hope my maiden name – which is Porter – has some historical connection to Joseph Yates Porter, born in Key West in 1909, I’ll have to do a little more research to confirm that connection! (if you know much about the geneology of Key West, be sure to leave me a Comment below!)
My entry into Key West came in 2010, and it immediately struck me as somewhere that was different. Having grown up in Central Florida most of my life, with just a short stint in Nashville, Tennessee in college, I was accustomed to the tropical climate, but even though I’m from Florida, Key West might as well be another country. I remember arriving to our 2 bedroom houseboat on Stock Island in February of 2010, and beyond the novelty of now living on a floating house, I was immediately enthralled by the sights and experiences of this very different culture…oh, and the smells too!
To one side of the marina was a processing plant, and to the other side, a boat dock and restaurant where fishermen would gut their catch and the pelicans and tarpon would swoop in to grab the leftovers. That might not be what they put on the glossy brochures, but it struck me then that “this is real, this is what it means to live in paradise”. And it has been since that time that I have lived and worked here, learning as I go more about what makes a place tick, especially a small town with an international appeal.
As time went on, it turned out that having the mixture of both visual, technical, and public speaking skills, that I was hired on to run the Social Media department of a local digital marketing firm, the one that - at the time - just so happened to also admin the largest destination social media following in the Florida Keys, that being the Florida Keys and Key West Monroe County Tourist Development Council. It was in that role that I was asked to give speeches, presentations, and teach seminars to many of the local organizations from the Chamber of Commerce, to Leadership Monroe County, to the Community Foundation, and more.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but the conversations I would get into with business owners and organization leaders would fascinate me, and I would always walk away thinking “why does no one else realize this incredible back story?” As the years passed and I later left that role to focus on my studio full time, it became something that annoyed me more and more, and when I learned about the medium of podcasting, I thought “THIS is how I will share them!”
I’m not a “conch”, as they say of someone who is born and raised here. So it’s like anywhere you go that you’re experiencing with a fresh set of eyes….my perspective is one of assimilation and adaptation, and I hope a means to which you can not only see Key West through the experiences of another, but – I hope – perhaps opens your eyes to the beauty you have in your OWN hometown, a destination YOU call home, where you can take the lessons learned here and infuse a bit of that island lifestyle into your own world back home.