Used to be at this time of year everyone dispersed for Florida. That’s not to say we don’t continue to have friends and neighbors slapping on the sunblock in Boca Raton or down in the Keys. My old friend, Captain Wharton, spends every year in some godforsaken place called Steinhatchee on the Gulf Coast where the avocado tree in his backyard requires another dozen years before it will send out those scrumptious, expensive green fruits. He also once opined that a bookstore would do well in that town, and that it only needed to carry the St. James Bible, which makes for an easy-to-log inventory. There is also lots of good fishing down there among the alligators and the orchids.

But compared with some of the exotic voyages our fellow Bluff-ers are embarking on this month, Florida is just a step away from our own backyard. Last week marked the takeoff of 20-year-old Sophie Lew, attending Middlebury College but en route to fulfill her junior year in Buenos Aires. She’s determined to improve her Spanish, with the help of three Argentine roommates, and she intends to learn to tango, bringing to it the hip-hop moves acquired in her teens right here on this Island. Everyone asks her if she’s prepared to work with the 11 p.m. dinner schedule, then dancing until lights out at three or four o’clock. “I’m in bed by nine!” she answers with a special Sophie giggle-and-wail. “But I’ll try!”

Then last week over lunch at Slice of Life, I encountered photographer Alan Brigish who is, as we speak, beaching it up in Negril, Westmorland, the westernmost parish in Jamaica. He was accompanied by O.B. harbor master Todd Alexander, who with wife, Cara, is off to oversee the schools the two have set up in Thailand and Cambodia.

Whew! I think those of us who are taking simple head-to-the-pool vacations should do a private Cap & Trade with people like the Alexanders who are putting their travel to eleemosynary (I try to use that word at least once a year in my reporting) efforts. (It means charitable, but you know that).

Speaking of which, just caught up with the doings of Gil Williams and Suzanne Rheault of Lincoln and Oak Bluffs. Susie started out a few years back working long hours in Ethiopia and Kenya with the Clinton Foundation. Last year she and Gil, bivouacking in Tanzania, came across the Precious Orphans Children’s Home, and made it their mission to get the kids supplied with — well, to start, beds, and now everything else they could possibly need short of plasma TV sets (not enough available electricity).

Now Gil and Susie are tucked in for three full months in Nsupu Village in Tanzania and Gil wrote about a special evening with a Masai warrior named Darsh, devoted to the couple’s nighttime protection. One night Gil invited the tall and skinny, stick-carrying guard, clad only in a blanket, to share his meal of rice, beans and pili pili, a hot version of Tabasco sauce. In Gil’s words: “Darsh finishes his food quickly and then I finish . . . he takes both of my hands, leads me to the edge of the veranda and points to the sky . . . nothing but stars . . . in a universal gesture he raises both palms to the heavens and says in Maa, ‘thank you.’ This much I am sure of . . . a meal shared in whatever language is a close connection. A wonderful reminder to pay attention to my impulses. To never forget that we all share a home . . . this world . . . filled with adventure and wonder.

“What will tomorrow bring? More of the same please . . .”

If we do this Cap & Trade travel deal, I’ve got dibs on Gil! I’ll need it next month in California when I catch up on cheap afternoon movies at the nearest cineplex, and sip sangria on my mom’s patio.

Along the same lines of sybaritic pleasures hooked up to the common good, Sharky’s, at both its O.B. and Edgartown cantinas, is hosting Hospice of MV for a dine-to-donate event on Tuesday, March 6. Someone at one’s table should be in the possession of a Sharky’s VIP card. (The program is free and easy to join; stop in to apply). These dine-to-donate events include lunch or dinner on the given day and the meal can be eat-in or take-out.

And there’s more! Friends of OBCOA are hosting a Ham & Bean Supper on Saturday, March 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Senior Center. The cost is $8 for adults, $4 for kids. There will be a raffle and raffle prizes.

And don’t forget the Oak Bluffs Library book club meets for a discussion on Wednesday, Feb. 29 at 10:30 a.m. Copies of Mistress of the Art of Death are available at the desk.

So are we all set for stuff to do if we’re not in Nsupu Village or Steinhatchee?