It's a Big Picture
Living in Florida
It's axiomatic that most folks you talk to who do not live in Florida
wonder what the heck you are thinking of moving there. What,
haven't you heard about all the hurricanes they have? It's insane,
like booking a voyage on the Titanic. Or perhaps you aren't aware
of how hot and humid it is? My god, the bugs alone are the
size of Pontiacs and will carry you away at night back to their
lairs. And so forth.
Of course, when pressed they will admit the place they live now does
have problems. Like earthquakes. Or fires. Or freezing
winters and rattlesnakes and scorpions or volcanoes or tornados or
whatever the heck it is that makes life less than perfect nearly
everywhere. The fact remains that most folks, by and large, are
living where they want to live, and thinking about living anywhere else
fills them with quease and unrest.
That's okay -- we aren't trying to sell anyone on moving with
us. But here are the reasons we want to live there.
5. We can afford it. While there are certainly nice places to
live in California and Hawaii is a dream land we can't afford a home in
either of those places. Heck, we can't even afford a home in
Nevada -- I wouldn't have been able to make the house payments on what
we sold our house for.
For the immediate future home prices in Florida are extremely
reasonable. That will change, no doubt, but at the moment I can
actually afford to get something far nicer than we had. The tax
base is low, there is no state income tax, and the cost of living is
around 10% cheaper than where we currently live. There are
certainly cheaper (or as cheap) places to live but none of them offer
the rest of what Florida does.
4. We can have a pool. All our lives Annie and I have wanted
our own pool. There are few areas in the country that a pool can
be used year around and those we can't afford (see above). Putting
a pool in Nevada, for example, would allow only a four month or so
use. In Florida we'll swim everyday.
3. It's green. Anyone who's lived in the desert for a long
time, as I have, might forget just how green other places are. In
Florida you can actually plant and have things grow.
Amazing. People don't even water their lawns most of the time, as
it just rains enough. I'm really tired of living in a place where
artificial plants die on you.
2. There are tons of things to do. Carson City is a fine place
to raise a family, but unless you're just really into outdoor stuff
there isn't much to do in Northern Nevada.
We'll live an hour from the gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic ocean, so
we have a choice of beaches. Less than 90 minutes from Cape
Kennedy, heck, even Miami's only a few hours away. And there are a
myriad of tourist spots to keep us busy for years and years to come.
We drove around the Leesburg area and found some delightful places
within miles of where we'll be living, including a bakery that I'll
visit every week. Look for me to be up around 300lbs by the time
1. Disney. Need we say it? Obviously this was a huge
factor for us. I fell in love with Epcot and Disney World 20 years
ago when I first visited, and it was love at first site for Annie as
well. The novelty of being able to get in the car and visit the
various parks whenever we want will undoubtedly wear off in a while, but
our basic love and desire to be at the parks will never fade.
The nice thing about Disney is they are always innovating, always
changing. So I doubt whether we will ever get bored. Legacy
is about 40 minutes away from the best time you can have with all your
Momma didn't raise no fool
We would be remiss if we didn't address some of the downsides that
folks throw up in our faces. Once again -- we aren't trying to
sell anyone here. People can live where they want and, quite
frankly, there are quite enough folks retiring to Florida to suit us
just fine. But here's a list of others' objections we just don't
5. Boy is it hot! Is Florida humid? Sure, in exactly the
same way Nevada is not. And both issues are bothersome.
In Nevada you get dry eyes, static will drive you crazy, and your
sinuses will bleed. Nothing will grow for long and, if it does,
you had darn well better keep it well watered or it will die within
days. When the wind blows the dust and dirt come with it, and
you've never known chapped lips until you've lived in a desert. I
once had skin that wasn't the texture of saddlebags.
In Nevada's winter you'll freeze and feel like staying inside all the
time, except it's still cold and drafty in even the best homes. It
doesn't snow often in Carson -- just often enough to make you miserable.
In Florida things don't dry within an hour, but neither Annie nor I
feel "sticky" as so many people complain. We've been there in
late June and while not the hottest month of the year we had no issues
at all with being too warm. Perhaps old age makes your blood thin
and need the warmth, but we've never been uncomfortable.
Do you need air conditioning? Absolutely, but you do in Carson
as well. In the hottest summer months you stay inside, just like
folks in colder climates do during winter. Or you go out in the
early morning or late at night, something winter folks can't do.
I personally think the whole "not the heat the humidity"
thing is vastly overblown, but that's me. Give me moisture every time.
Yes, there have been some of these, and the four that just hit have
made folks more aware than ever. But we are living in Central
Florida, and not one of these damaged any of the homes in the retirement
community we will be living in. They didn't even lose power.
Anywhere you live there are natural disasters. If it's not
earthquakes it's floods, or fires, or tornados or volcanoes or
whatever. At least with a hurricane you have a lot more warning
than most natural disasters.
3. The beauty of the West
There is no doubt we currently live in one of the most beautiful
areas of the country. With the high sierras showing snow, the
ice-blue lake of Tahoe is perhaps one of the most spectacular sights
around. On the west coast you have the greatest shoreline
available, with crashing waves against majestic rocks, and anyone who's
visited Zion National Park wants to return.
We'll be living in a state where the maximum elevation is 900
feet. We used to live 500 feet above the Carson valley floor, so comparatively
speaking we were living in the mountains when it comes to Florida.
There is no denying the beauty of the everglades and other Florida
areas, but for landscapes nothing matches where we are right now.
been photographing the area for years now and will miss it
greatly. No place is perfect, but if you like the outdoors the
west is just about the best.
2. Bugs, bugs, bugs!
Yes, there are indeed insects in Florida. However, there are
insects everywhere, and you've never lived until you've seen black
widows infest your garage like they have here in Nevada.
And there are
alligators -- but four weeks ago I was chased by a six foot long
rattlesnake off my back porch. Let's face it, every place has its
share of critters, and they can be managed. Raise your hand if
you're the dominant species. (All those reptiles and amphibians in
the back room can put their hands down, now).
Many folks in Florida
simply hire a pest control person who comes out once a month and takes
care of things. We may do this, if we find a need.
1. Losing Friends and Family
By far the biggest drawback to moving across country is being away
from all our friends and family. This breaks our heart.
F & F are the only reason for living. Things can be
replaced, memories live forever, but people are what makes the world go
around. We are moving to an area where we know literally no one,
and the closest relative is at least a two hour plane flight away.
the world has changed since the nuclear family, and people just don't
live out their entire lives within 20 miles of where they were born
anymore. My mom's kids all live in different states (or countries
-- my brother lives in China). She couldn't stay with the family
if she tried. And while it will be tough not seeing our
grandchildren grow up, as soon as they are grown they will also scatter
to the four winds.
We hope people will come and visit, but we also
realize it's a lot to ask. On the other hand, the place we are
living is not exactly some place people try and avoid. Then again, not
very many of our friends are retired, and their own lives are so busy we
rarely see them now, so tt's even possible we may see more of certain
people due to where we live. Who knows? One of my close
friends just the other day said he was considering, very soon, moving
One thing is for sure -- you need to live life for yourself and
your spouse and friends and family only can have so much impact on where
you live. We'll make new friends, because that's the kind of
people we are, and it's more likely those friendships will last since
not very many of them will ever move again. If times were
different... but that doesn't mean we won't miss everyone a lot.
even though we knew we wanted to live in Florida we still had to choose
a place to live.