A recent email prompted me to write today’s blog post- a wonderful reader, we will leave anonymous, wanted to know HOW we are making our dream come true. So I thought it would be fun to look back over our past year, revisit points to help those who are also relocating, and just lay out the foundation that we have built to accomplish our goal. Enjoy!
Make the Decision
You know what your dream is- you have probably had it all your life. It’s that small voice in your head whispering to you- and whether you listen or not will decide the path you take in life. Some of us listen, but don’t act. Some of us act, without really listening- find a healthy balance for your dream and then make the decision on what to do about it. It would be an everyday walk that Hubby and I took, where we both looked at each other, hand in hand, and said “We should move to Florida.” That was 2009- our countdown has been over 600 days. We did have moments where we thought we may have to change the dates, but the goal was always in sight. So the first step in making your dreams come true is MAKING THE DECISION to follow them. What are dreams without action?
The second thing to do after you decide on your dream, in our case relocating to FL, is to research like crazy. We had NO CLUE what city we were going to live in, not up until about a month ago. Why? Because everything has to fit like a puzzle- we had a list of “wants” for our move, and the house we found had to fit most of them. We needed good schools, enough bedrooms and space, close to WDW so we could go whenever we wanted, and a decent rent that was affordable. Now when looking into the cities, we looked about 30 miles or less around Walt Disney World. Every area we found we would then have to look and read up about the schools, the crime rate, and shopping districts. (Food shopping more than anything is key.) Once we found our home, we had to research the suburb, the outlining highways, the cities next to it, etc.. You can NEVER do enough research – and with the timeline given, use any spare time to do so.
SAVE The Minute You Decide
Whether your dream is the next month or in 5 years, start saving money the minute you have made your decision. No matter WHAT the dream is, you will need the funds to make it happen. Don’t rely on others or outside sources- rely on you and your means to make it happen. If something happens, YOU are the only one to blame for it. I can say I wish we would have saved a bit earlier than we did, but I am happy with what we have saved for the big move. If you have years to plan and save, save through means of Christmas Club accounts, save tax refunds, and any bonuses you may get at work. We have an entire blog post on how to save money for your dreams that goes into this in more depth.
Make Your Timeline
For example, in 2009 we planned on moving in 2012. Last summer was when we decided to move it up a year and made it for 2011. Once you have a general timeline, take paper and pen and literally write down what you will need to do in your given time line. Most have to sell a home, get a job in the area they are moving to, finding schools for kids, etc.. Because of the economy in the pooper lately, most homes take much longer to sell, and jobs are harder to find. Make a reasonable timeline that will fit the needs of everyone involved.
Remember, it’s Dreams, not Disasters
Ok, so I am going to get on my soap box here just so we can keep this real. Just because you HAVE a dream, doesn’t mean you should act on it irresponsibly and irrationally. People ask us how we are doing it- here is the plain and simple of it. Carl was blessed with a job last year that allows him to work from home, and anywhere in the Country. Now, I will tell you this, our ORIGINAL plan was to send Carl down in April for a month so he could find and establish a job and home, before the rest of us came to be with him. Here is the problem- I have YET to hear a story that has been a happy and SUCCESSFUL one of those who went down with no money, no jobs, and no home there. I have heard more of those who went and moved back because WDW didn’t pay enough, the jobs were scarce in general, or the jobs people were getting were hourly that only sustains them to live in sub-standard conditions. I am almost positive that no one thinks of WDW and their dream of living in FL as just making it by when they left a comfortable life somewhere else. I would recommend to ANYONE wanting to move to FL that you have a job already lined up in FL or you are bringing one with- do NOT count on finding something here to sustain your lifestyle. It CERTAINLY doesn’t mean you can’t find a job there, it just means the road may e a lot harder and tougher than you expected. If you want to look for work in FL, I would say that have enough money to live on for at least 6 months and an affordable residence. But having a confirmed job with you or waiting for you will give you the peace of mind to move forward with your dreams without getting caught up in the unemployment uglies.
Decide on Housing
Since we don’t own a home, all we have to do is a walk-through with the Landlord in June and we are off to the next rental in Florida. Because many DO own homes, make sure to contact a realtor early so you have enough time to have your house on the market and time to find another where you choose to move to. Decide if you would like to buy right away, or rent. We decided to rent so we could get the lay of the land before committing to buying. But also keep in the mind that it is a buyers market in FL right now, and the houses are cheap. Again, do what is right for your family.
Pack, Purge, or Both
It’s a pretty big decision, what you take with and what meets its demise at the local thrift shop. No matter what the dream, I feel it is quite healthy to let go of the old so you have room for the new. Because the moving costs were just too much for us, it made sense for US to sell it all. We made a great profit from our epic garage sale, and today finally had the thrift shop pick up the rest. I feel so good that all of the boxes of junk and endless “whats its” are gone and out of my life. I am excited to buy new furniture once we get there, and we won’t have to move anything heavy into our new home. Do what is best for you, and remember that you can store items at family and friends homes to retrieve at a later date when visiting.
Make time to things in your current city that maybe you put off because you never had the time or need too. Visit that deli you always wondered about, or call that old friend for a dinner date. Our family visited many places that we loved over the past year for the “last time.” Yes, it can be hard at times, but I am glad we did them so that when I miss them, I can look at pics and remember the people and places that I miss and love so dearly. I also want to give you this advice, don’t put things off. We had a full year of planning, and there are STILL things we just won’t get too. We always think we have all the time in the world, but make it count every day until your move- you will be glad you did.
Be Ready for the Unexpected
Over the past year, we had van problems, wound up having to buy a new vehicle, and then I had health problems. Be ready and willing to accept that it just isn’t always going to go the way you pictured it. Our hope was to not have another vehicle payment, but we do. I never expected to land in the ER a couple of months ago, but I did. Be prepared for anything and you will be ready for everything.
Celebrate the Milestones
Whether your dream has taken years, months, or even days… you must celebrate the milestones along the way. We celebrated our first big savings deposit, once we got into this year, at our 100 day mark we made our countdown chain, and now as we come to the end, we celebrate every day with something small. Family and friends taking me out for dinners, making last moments count- it’s very special.
Make the Journey Count as much as the Destination
Back in 2009, I remember thinking…. 2012 is soooooo far away. It means I have to survive three more WI winters, and wait three more years to realize the dream. Then last year we moved it up to 2011 and I was sooooooo estatic!!! You may think your dreams are so far away, but they really aren’t. Enjoy the time leading up to it, live every moment as if it was your last. I can say without hesitation that this journey has been INCREDIBLE so far… and we are so ready for the next step.
I have learned that nothing, and I mean NOTHING, comes from negativity. I have been there where you just feel like nothing is going right, and the dream seems like it may never happen- I tell you this now- BELIEVE!!! Believe that you can do it, believe that nothing can stop you, and believe that if it is truly what God wants for your life, IT WILL HAPPEN!!! Keeping yourself motivated in sunshine will rub off on others and it will become contagious.
We stuck to everything you have read above, and now we sit 9 days away from accomplishing our dream. We are so excited and even a bit nervous, but we know it’s going to be incredibly worth it.