Paradise Farms

Homestead, Florida is located in such an ideal location: 20 minutes from the Everglades, 20 minutes from Biscayne National Park, 30 minutes from the Florida Keys, and 45 minutes from Miami. Granted, Homestead does have the highest crime rates in the entire country - we were in an oasis.

A tropical paradise with a starfruit orchard, longan orchard, avocados, papaya, coconut, sapodilla, black sapote, canistel… So much fruit, it was incredible. Plus fresh organic produce? YES! Everyday was full of fruit and guacamole. I mean, I literally ate guac for lunch most days.

Over half of the fruit on the farm I had never heard of or tried before.

During our time at Paradise, many adventures took place and friendships blossomed. Spontaneous day trips to Miami meant our first ever experience on a nude beach (which we loved!).

Exploring the Everglades included waste-deep hikes in the swamp water, bike rides that ended in complete water submersion (a truly comical memory), scouting for anacondas and boas (sadly not successful), and skin dotted with mosquito bites.


Although the success rates of finding invasive snakes were 0, we did see alligators, tegus, and plenty of iguana species and other lizard friends to sort of make up for it (in the Everglades, Paradise, and other places!).
This BEAUTY deserved a picture just of himself. SO COOL.

After multiple trips to Key Largo to snorkel, we made a weekend trip to Key West and had a ball getting stung by jellyfish (well, only D, lucky for me), watching our first drag show, and hanging out with disabled sea turtles at a sea turtle rehabilitation center. Coming back home to our little bungalow after the weekend was very sweet for us.

Our sweet bungalow home.

We were able to explore Biscayne National Park on a volunteer beach clean up day! We collected hundreds of pounds of garbage on an obscure island and also acquired hundreds of no-see-em bites in the process (worth it).
And to think there was SO MUCH trash we had to leave behind.

But truly, even with all the adventures we had outside of the farm, the most fun we had was inside Paradise. We weathered a class 4 hurricane in our little bungalow, hung out with iguanas, played hide and go seek, ate delicious vegan food, swam in the natural aquifer waters, attempted to make a traditional Senegalese dish for Thanksgiving, and laughed so much sometimes it hurt.

Our feeble attempt at Thieboudienne (usually just called cheb) – it was way over oiled thanks to me and SADLY we couldn’t find palm oil.

Not to mention our *almost* grounds-keeper jobs at a billionaires estate. D ended up working for some extra cash across the road from Paradise at a little plant nursery. The lady that ran it told D about a billionaire she was friends with who was looking for someone to do grounds-keeping work for him, and thus, live in his estate. D told him he was living with his girlfriend (me), and she said great, I could go work there too. The tour of the estate was one of the more interesting experiences of our time there – it was huge, well put together, and full of exotic birds, a gigantic pool with a nearly 2-story artificial waterfall, and a mansion that made me uncomfortable with how huge and vast it was on the inside (complete with a theatre and bowling alley, I should mention). I mean, you can see the mansion on Google images…

To say the least, the guy never called us hippies back 🙂

And yet, as odd as it seems, there were still hard times there. So hard in fact, that my mind wandered off to other ideas, until one day, in a wave of impulse, I applied to volunteer at Campanario, a biological research station in the Osa Peninsula of Costa Rica, and I should mention, I did this without telling D, or even remembering to care that we had previously said we would make decisions as a team.

I decided not to tell him until I heard back from Campanario… That ended up being the next day. And so, I told him, and to my great surprise, he was so supportive. He wanted me to go and was happy for me – how amazing is that?


And so it ended up that a few days before Christmas, D and I exchanged teary-eyed hugs as he dropped me off at the airport in Miami.


With Love and Light,

– LIZARD

Every little bit of change helps! Lizard started this blog to help enable her to continue traveling (although, it does simply feel good to just share her story), and if you’re able and it feels good to do so, please contribute to her continued life path here:

  • Paypal: buttramelizabeth@gmail.com
  • Cashapp: $elizabethbuttram
  • Venmo: @elizabeth-buttram-1

Published by roaminglizard

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