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Midnight on Miami Beach

Midnight on Miami Beach

Man with long black hair in a light pink dress standing in front of a hot pink lifeguard tower at night

Mimi Nadia Chenyao | Fake and Basic

Location: Miami, Florida

Night-beaching is an underrated activity.

Going to the beach at night is like having a deep, sober conversation with a friend you usually only party with. It’s unfamiliar and a bit unsettling, but also beautiful in the sense that you’re seeing a side of something that not many people take the time to seek out.

I walked onto the sand with my friend, leaving the neon lights and thumping music of the nightclubs along Ocean Drive further and further behind us. Waves roared in the distance, their exact location unknown. It was chilly, but I couldn’t feel it as I walked around, looking at the lifeguard towers I’d only seen before on the Internet. They were eerily majestic at night, like museum exhibits after closing time. I could still see their bright colors in the darkness.

It was my first time night-beaching since coming back. I was glad for the calm and the silence; lately, I had been relentlessly asking myself two questions that I wasn’t sure how to answer.

What the fuck do you want to do with your life? was the first one.

Are you satisfied yet? was the second.

Those two questions had been in the back of my mind throughout the entire trip. I’m the kind of person who can’t stop thinking about a problem until I’ve solved it in some capacity. This is good when I’m working on a project because it means that I’ll be laser-focused until it’s done, but not so much when I just wanted to have fun and not think about serious things all the time. I’d wanted the trip to Florida to be a deep reset; to close up unfinished business and to get tons of good photos. I’d gotten the last one, but I wasn’t so sure about the first two.

Standing there on Miami Beach at midnight, I felt truly present for the first time in weeks. The questioning would come back, as would the other ostensibly unpleasant aspects of traveling — but for now, everything in the world stood still. I wasn’t thinking about the blog posts I still had to write, or the complicated conversations that would come in the following days. It was just me, the ocean, and a soft sense of calm.

We stayed until I started to feel the cold and the bugs starting to bite. [1] Then my friend and I made the long trek back into the clubs along South Beach, the real world, and the work that lay ahead of us. ♚

Note: This article is part of my January 2019 One Month Project, where I will be traveling around coastal Florida and publishing an essay a day about my experiences there. I’m excited to bring you along on this adventure!


[1] Important: If you’re going to night-beach in Florida, I highly recommend that you douse yourself in some heavy-duty bug repellent. I forgot, and I’m still paying the price now.

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© 2019 by Marty Noel Chenyao. All rights reserved.

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