Ben's place

Me in Kyoto

I am Ben Stearns, a Journalism Master's student at the University of Florida. I received my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from the University of Miami in 2006, and after bouncing between a law clerking job and seeing the world, I decided it was time to take some strides towards a real career.

Which is not to say that I got nothing of value from my time away from school. For one, I managed to steal my girlfriend from the law firm I worked at and bring her up to Central Florida with me.

After spending a couple of months in an awful apartment in Gainesville, we settled in a little, old house in Micanopy. Frankly, before our search for a home, I would have thought Micanopy would be one of the last places on earth I'd ever live, simply because all I knew of the town was what I had seen from the highway on my way into Gainesville. The Micanopy exit off I-75 has the dubious distinction of being home to what is likely Alachua County's most famous (and seediest) strip club as well as a rundown fireworks emporium.

Drive passed those two gems and the highway-side gas stations and into the actual town, and you'll discover a book whose character is completely misrepresented by that cover. The town may be tiny (approx. pop. 700), but it is packed with character. Settled in 1821, it is the oldest established inland municipality in all of Florida. Walking around town, it is easy to imagine that you are back in the 19th century. Cholokka Boulevard, the town's main street, has retained several buildings that date back several decades, if not more than a century. The town cemetery is beautiful and contains a number of headstones dating back more than a hundred years. This little oasis of history can be particularly refreshing in Florida, a state chock full of new construction and big box stores, but often little that gives a sense of the passage of time.

A few of my most recent interests include hiking, bicycling, and coaching little league soccer, each of which I sort of owe to my residence in Micanopy. Continue on to my Hobbies page to learn more, or to my Travel page to see some information about some of the other places in the world that I have visited.