A Path Less Traveled
Although Lakeland’s draw is immeasurable, Stacy’s embarked on many a trip elsewhere. His first time on a plane was to Costa Rica to attend the International Orchid Show. For background, there’s about 70 species of orchid that grow in Florida. In Costa Rica, 70 species of orchid can be found on one tree alone.
Since that first trip, Stacy’s visited Petra (the “Lost City” from the Indiana Jones franchise), the Philippines, South Africa, and even San Luis Potosí, a sparsely visited city located in Central Mexico. He doesn’t always travel to find rare plants and fauna, but it’s guaranteed that he’s got an eye on the horizon (and the ground) for whatever he may find.
Stacy follows the traveler’s code, taking nothing but photos and leaving nothing but footprints, yet his words, memories, and knowledge traverse every border he’s crossed – even that of time.
“Maybe I’m just a storyteller,” Stacy said. “When I was traveling back in the day, I would see these amazing things, but how do you come back and get someone to understand that? You have to explain it to them.”
In Lakeland, his expertise on telling our town’s story is much more than just appreciated. This year, the Lake Mirror Historic Tour is already fully booked through the month of June.
“There’s nothing awesome about me. There just isn’t, sorry,” Stacy shared with a laugh. “It’s mind-boggling to me. [The tour’s] been going on for almost 8 years now and they’re always packed.”
It’s the high standard that Stacy holds himself and his tours to that sets our town apart. In his current role as a city foreman, Stacy travels the city breathing new life into areas of our town that need it most. Although his passion for plants is persistent, it’s his storytelling nature that ultimately brings our community closer together.
“I like people to understand me,” Stacy said. “And I think that’s why I tell stories.”