Interview with a Relocator…. Meet Carrie Catalano
1. What is your name and where did you move from?
Carrie Catalano. My family moved from Las Vegas, NV where we lived for the past 5 1/2 years, and prior to that, Sacramento, CA. I moved with my husband, our 9 1/2 year old son, 2 cats and 1 dog.\
2. Why did you want to move to Florida?
We really wanted to live somewhere with kid-friendly activities and things to do. Las Vegas is great for those vacationing there, but outside of the strip, there is little to do. There are no pro sports teams, there are no theme parks, and up until a month ago, there wasn’t even a waterpark. We were spending so much time and money driving 5 hours to get out of Las Vegas as often as we could, just so we had something to do as a family. We have traveled to Florida for vacation and loved it and after a ton of research, knew we wanted to move here for sports, beaches, theme parks, and the different vacations and weekend trips we could take to places we had never traveled before.
3. When did you start planning?
We daydreamed about the idea for quite awhile. When we vacationed here in January/February of 2012, we started to finally look at houses and neighborhoods and really research what it would be like to live in Florida. When we got home, I was missing the Disney magic, and started thinking about planning another trip. But after a lot of discussion and soul searching, we decided to put off another trip and instead just take a leap and move. We knew there was no way we were going to be able to save and coordinate the move by that summer, and we didn’t want to pull our son out of school mid school year, so we planned on moving as soon as school got out in 2013. We had everything all tenatively planned out by March 2012 and started a savings plan of action to save the money we would need to move.
4. How did you decide on where to move to?
I relied a lot on the areas we saw while we driving around and a lot on home prices. We knew we wanted to rent for at least a year, as we didn’t want to buy and commit to a house without truly knowing the various areas. But we also wanted to rent in an area we could afford to buy in when we are ready to buy a home. We didn’t want to rent in an area we couldn’t afford to live in if we truly fell in love with it. Ideally, we would like to buy close to the area we are in now, but that may change as we learn more about various areas and such. We also wanted to be close to Disney, but far away enough to not drive our pets crazy hearing fireworks nightly and close to restaurants and shops.
5. What resources did you use to help your move?
The Relocated Tourist, of course. I learned so much by reading posts on the blog and asking questions on the Facebook page. I also knew someone already living in Kissimmee, so I picked her brain as much as I could. I researched home prices and rental prices on Craigslist, just for a rough idea, and then I used Google and Google Earth to find out whatever else I needed to know.
6. When and where did you move to in FL?
My husband moved on May 28th, while our Son and I moved on June 12th.
7. How do you feel about your neighborhood and city?
So far I really like it. We are in the Four Corners area, and live in a quiet development. From our house, we can literally walk to a gas station, sandwich shop (Subway I think…) Italian restaurant, hair cutting place and liquor store. We are about a mile to Cagan Crossing, so we have a Walmart, Lowes, Taco Bell, bank, library and Farmers Market right down the road. We’re also about 8 miles from Disney, but we have to go through the tourist area to get there, so it takes about 15 or so minutes to get there. All in all though, it isn’t so bad and I don’t mind living by the tourist area, as there are so many restaurants and stores close by. When we were in Vegas, we lived in an area where construction stopped due to the economy, so we had about a 15 minute drive just to get to a grocery store and a couple restaurants, so it’s nice to know that we have so much within the same length of drive we had before just to go grocery shopping or run to the bank.
8. Can you tell us the pros and cons of YOUR personal relocation?
Arriving in Florida. Seriously, there is nothing like knowing you have survived the move and made it home.
Our Vehicle Shipping and the Movers we Had-I was stressed about hiring a vehicle transport company and using movers for the first time. The vehicle shipping company was great and our vehicle arrived safe and sound. The movers we had were great, arrived on time and were so helpful. We haven’t rec’d our items yet (our pod is due to arrive next Friday) but I’m not worried about it a bit.
My mother was so supportive of our move and I had a couple of close friends who were supportive. They let me vent, they listened to me cry, and they reassured me that this is what I wanted and that it would be hard to get there, but in the end, it would be well worth it. They never questioned our decision, they never made a snide comment and they were always loving and supportive.
Traveling With Pets-This was the most stressful part of our move. I’m writing a blog post on this later so I’ll give more details, but I will never be flying with one of my cats again.
Having My Husband Move Before Us- My husband moved a couple of weeks before my son and I. Having to work, finish up packing, have my son finish up school and care for him all by myself was hard. We had no family in Vegas, which may have made things more bearable, but this is not something we will ever entertain doing again if we ever decide to move far away again.
People- Obviously, this does not mean all people. I’m talking about all the people who said, why are you moving to Florida. Oh, you won’t like it there or oh, you’ll be back to Vegas soon. And even now, I have people who say, you’re already at Disney, aren’t you sick of Disney, don’t you slow down, don’t you have to work, etc. I took days off after the move to get settled in and enjoy Disney a few times. Yes, I work, yes, I take care of my family, and yes, we are going to Disney again and again and again. I understand not everyone likes Disney or lives their lives the way we do, but I’m unhappy with some people’s negativity. I’m an emotional person and my husband says I should just let things roll of my back, but we heard a lot of negativity from so called “friends” and even some family members in the months leading up into our move, and even now, so it is hard to hear and take in, especially when you’re sensitive like me.
Stress- The stress of moving was very intense and hard. Like I said, I’m an emotional person to begin with and get frustrated easily. There were times where I really wanted to back out of the move and not deal with the stress anymore, there were times where I really wanted to pull a Tangled move and beat my husband upside the head with a frying pan, and there were times when I literally cried myself to sleep. There were many things that were stressful and many times I wondered if moving to FL was right for us. I knew it was a great decision for us and felt confident in our decision to move, it just took a lot to get there, and that took a lot out of me. I wanted to be in FL, but didn’t want to deal with the saving, planning, packing. 🙂
9. What would you do differently, now living here and knowing what you know?
In hindsight, I would never have let my husband move before us. It was a lot to handle on my own. I would also have saved a bit more money. I thought we saved enough, but there were many things I forgot about or things that ended up costing us more than I originally planned. $50 here and $100 there adds up quickly.
10. Give us one tip that you learned that you want to share to help future relocators.
Declutter and plan as early as possible. We knew for well over a year that we were going to be moving and decluttered rooms over and over again. When it came time to start packing, we still had more stuff to get rid of and declutter. I just can’t imagine how much work it would have been to do it all at once.
And my second tip is to save more money than you think you will need. Like I said, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on what things would cost. I budgeted for a moving pod, auto shipping, pet travel, Disney annual passes (of course!), auto registration and our plane tickets, etc. However, I forgot to account for a lot of the smaller things that go into a move. I never accounted for the mover’s tips, or the sedatives for the pets for when the pets were flying, or the cost of the carriers we had to buy for the pets when we flew, or even the cost of eating out because you are simply too tired to cook after packing, decluttering or moving. And then there were things that I underestimated, such as the cost of packing supplies (we needed way more bubble wrap than I thought) and the cost of plane tickets was a bit higher than we had ever paid in the past. All in all, we went over our moving budget by probably close to $1500. It thankfully isn’t anything that has left us broke or stressed out over, but I do wish that I would have saved a bit more to cover these extras along the way and had a bit more in my moving budget, instead of having to “borrow it” from our regular savings account. And the worst case scenario is that you end up with more money than you need, and then you can have fun blowing it on fun stuff for your new home, and/or treating yourself to a nice massage or dinner out after the move.
Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!