Hey Snowbirds! We Really Don't Care! Rude Tourists and Locals.
Being RV Travelers we meet many people.
OK, I'm walking on some thin ice here, but as my wife tells me, too often by the way, I just can't keep my feet out of my mouth.
First of all, I was born and raised in Virginia, and at one point, I was transferred to a job in North Carolina where I worked for another ten years.
We lived there up until I retired, at which time, we moved to South Carolina.
We lived there for over seven years and we finally moved to Florida.
During our careers, both of our jobs required us to travel extensively around the world where we learned to enjoy the diversity of peoples and cultures that we came in contact with.
And being avid RV travelers for decades; my wife and I have been lucky enough to take our motorhome on trips around the US and while doing so we have met many diverse people from almost every; walk of life, ethnicity, age, and social standing.
Always be Considerate and Understanding of Others
One of the first things that we both learned, decades ago, in our jobs, as well as in our travels, is best described in an old adage, that carries a lot of truth for us all.
That adage is;
Whenever in Rome, do as the Romans Do!
Now, I really don't know where this old saying originated, but it is a solid and valid little piece of social truth that is based on something important to so many people and their relationships with each other, everywhere.
Hats for Snowbirds who visit Florida
Nobody likes to be told that they are doing things wrong.
In our travels, whether in small town or large cities, whether in the highlands or in the lowlands, people might look different or speak differently but they are all consistently considerate and thoughtful people when interacting with their fellow man.
And, we have also found that; People, wherever you go around the world, DO NOT like for strangers, especially strangers from somewhere else, to tell them that they are doing something wrong.
And, to rudely tell someone, anyone, "where I come from we do it this way" is well, just wrong!
What I have learned, is that if you see people doing something differently from how you did it, leave it alone, or wait until you understand them better before criticizing anything!
Wherever you go, there are people that have a different culture, in a different land, in a different climate, etcetera, that for some reason drove them to evolve "their way" of doing certain things.
It doesn't matter if you're talking about something as simple as cooking potatoes, or as complex as the design of their houses local people have their own ways of doing things.
For example, you may visit an area where everyone including their families and local friends who might eat more Beets more often than Potatoes.
Also, two days drive away you may find that; for some reason, the local people there might not eat Beets at all, but may have potatoes or Rice or some other starch as a food staple.
Or, in your travels, you may end up sitting next to someone from an Asian country, who when served a bowl of rice will grab a pair of chopsticks and holding the bowl right under their chin, they will literally shovel the rice into their mouths.
Making fun of the Beet eater, or the Rice eater will not make you a new friend.
Nope, you will have just cultivated a new member of a growing group that thinks you are the crazy person, not them.
You see, if you are not a true local of a community or country, you are the one with strange habits, not the locals. And your criticisms will always be considered crude, rude and socially unacceptable.
Living in a mostly SnowBird community
When we eventually purchased a house here in Central Florida, on the beautiful Gulf Coast, the selection was mostly because the house was in a very active 55+ community.
We saw that it was full of great people, and loaded with many options and activities for those that want to socialize, exercise, learn, dance, travel, and more.
In fact, there is so much to do in our 55+ community, that you can literally wear yourself out, if you are not careful.
We love the community and we love the people, and on our first year as residents we had a great Summer.
But as the Summer went on, I kept hearing about the "Snowbirds" that were coming to spend the Winter in Florida. And my neighbors kept mentioning how things really changed in the community when they showed up.
I just laughed, because, in reality, over the years that I lived in the Carolina's, I had been a Snowbird, by definition, because we had always taken our motorhome to other parts of the South for the Winter, to take advantage of the better climate, among other reasons.
And, I had been called a Snowbird by people in campgrounds from Florida to California.
But, I really had never had a problem, of any sort with the locals, and we got along greatly with everyone we met, regardless of where we were, and who we socialized with.
So, wondering about my neighbors concerned looks, I asked around and soon learned more about just who was called a SnowBird.
What is a Snowbird, anyway.
Simply put there are three major groupings of SnowBirds.
There are the three-month Snowbirds who take a long vacation in the South and then head back to their homes up North.
These vacationers are mostly renters, for the simple reason that it is usually not economically viable to own a place in the South and just use it for three months of vacation time.
You will meet and see these people, for several months, anytime from September through March, and then they disappear until the next warm season.
The Second grouping of Snowbirds are the six month Snowbirds whom are generally Canadians.
Like all people, many of the Canadians enjoy spending the cold winter season in a warmer climate, particularly in Florida.
But the Canadian Snowbirds have a special set of circumstances that dictate their travels to and in the USA.
They have to deal with the Canadian laws, the US laws, and the local State laws that all come together and limit their stay in the US and outside of Canada each year a maximum of six months.
So, even though some of the Canadians will stay in the US for only a few months, most of them, that can afford it, will stay for the full six months they are limited to before they return home.
Then there are the six-plus month US SnowBirds. As a group, they are mostly from the Northeast portion of the US, although you will see license plates from all over the US during the Winter months in Florida.
And, they typically have or had the resources, to purchase a second home in Florida while keeping their original home in the northern or other parts of the US.
They still live in their original homes and they use their homes, campers or condos in the South, just for running away from the Winter cold up North.
I have met many people, over the years that fit into these categories, and as a group, they are all great people to know and socialize with.
But, there are some, not many, but some, that project a feeling of arrogant disdain for the local people and their lifestyle, their habits and their ways of living.
These few "bad Apples" are the ones who have driven so many of the native people of the South, as well as many transplants, to use the term SNOWBIRDS with an accompanying sneer on their lips.
Snow Birds, Guess What? We Don't Care!
You See, after years of listening to the snide comments, hearing the constant complaints about the food, observing the smaller than deserved tips being doled out, and seeing so many hard working people being constantly ridiculed, I have to say this:
WE DON'T CARE!
We don't care How you did it up North!
If you did it so damned well there, then go back up North.
We don't care if your Italian Spaghetti Sauce is better than our Italian Spaghetti Sauce.
If you don't like ours, don't keep ordering it and complaining about it. Get something else.
We don't care if you can't find your favorite "Good Italian Bread" down here!
Try some good Cuban Bread, or handmade Mexican Tacos, or Southern style Biscuits. They are all great, so you could try to expand your tastes.
We don't care if you can't find any good Italian or Polish, or whatever, sausages and prepared meats down here!
Again, try some of the great Cajun, or Southern-style, or Cuban or Mexican, or other Latino sausages and meats, many of which are considered, around the world to be unique and savory, and often even talked about as being delicacies.
We don't care if you don't like our Southern Accents!
We think you sound funny too, but we were generally speaking raised to be polite and not make fun of your strange accents and colloquial phrases.
We call this Southern Courtesy. You know, being polite to strangers rather than laughing at them. I know you've heard of it, even if you don't practice it.
Don't make fun of how we drive!
If you look closely, most of the crappy drivers, in Florida especially, are actually the transplanted Northerners, not native Southerners.
When you are served a good meal, give a good Tip!
The people serving you down here, in the South, just like the ones that serve you up North, get next to nothing as a base salary. They live on their Tips and they deserve the appropriate size tip for their service.
Just because you are trying to "pinch your pennies" while vacationing, if you cannot afford to tip more than a single dollar for a meal for two, then you must not be able afford to eat out so often.
The list goes on and on, and here are some more examples.
We don't care if your roads are better up North!
We don't care if your auto service is better up North!
We don't care if your restaurants are better up North!
We don't care if your hotels are better up North!
We don't care if you have better clothes in your stores up North!
And On,and On, and ON, ad nauseam!
WE JUST DON'T CARE!
What we DO KNOW about up North!
Well, we do know about a few things that are different up North, and also why you are spending so much time down here among us Slow Stupid Southerners:
We know that you hate the Cold Winters up North! And, you will spend almost anything to get away from them,
We know that your Property taxes are astronomical up North!
We know that your Home Prices are very High up North!
We know that your Fuel and Heating costs are very High up North!
We know, that you know, that Property taxes, Sales taxes, and Income taxes are much lower in the South than in the North!
We know, that you know, that Housing Costs are very low in the South, relative to those in the North.
We Know, that You Know, that Labor costs are much lower in the south than in the North.
We know, that You know, that Fresh Food costs are much cheaper down here and they are available longer during the year, than up North!
You see, we might be a little slow as I have heard some of you say about us, but We Are Not Stupid!
We know that you wish you could live year-round in an area where it is warm in the Winter, food costs are extremely low, and fresh fruits and vegetables are available year round.
But, for whatever reason you don't move here, you just visit and complain incessantly about any and everything that you can, and damn whoever's feelings you might hurt.
But, Come on Down! Anyway!
A very, very long time ago, when I was serving in the Navy, I was stationed at a Naval Base in Brunswick Georgia.
Several times, while there, some friends and I hopped in a car and drove the short distance into Florida and down to Jacksonville for a weekend on the beach.
Back then, when you crossed the state line into Florida, there was sign on the side of the highway. It stated another simple truth that can make you a luttle more welcome when you come down to Florida. it said;
WELCOME TO FLORIDA!
HELP KEEP FLORIDA GREEN!
It stated a simple truth back then, and of course it's just not politically correct to have such a sign on a roadside anymore.
So, whether you are one of the many nice people from up North, somewhere, or even if you are one of those rare and insensitive ones ........ Come on Down!
Come on Down and have a Good Time while you're here, but please remember that old saying I mentioned earlier, about being in ROME!
Try to live with us, and our idiosyncrasies, and we will try to understand and live with yours.
Then, we can all have a good time and enjoy each others company in our great climate!
But .......don't forget...... Bring Money!
What is a Florida Snowbird
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.