Florida Life: Why So Many are Moving to Live It

February 9, 2018

 

 

Somewhere, there's a place where the cost of living is below average and the experiences exceed average. The sun shines almost year round and the temperatures never plummet. You can live at the beach, in the city, or the country. You can find acres of land to build your dream home, small or large. You can bask in nature or you can live the night life. You can swim, bike, surf or boat. Drive your car to desirable destinations or watch the pros drive theirs around the NASCAR track. People from all over the world flock there. They save up for months or years to bring their family, but you... you get a resident discount because you live here. Or do you? Nothing is impossible. Florida is a land of fun, sun, and opportunity. Not matter who you are. 

 

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Over ten years ago, I first visited this lush, warm, laid back locale of the sunshine state. I was coming to see my grandparents. They're "snowbirds," from Michigan. Every year, they would make the 15 plus hour drive, that took them three whole days, in order to escape the cold northern winters.  I remember the first year they invited me to stay with them. I had never been to Florida before. I had seen glimpses in movies and other media, but never experienced it. Images of people having fun in the sun, relaxing, and taking sub-tropical adventures.  So of course, I said yes. I figured it would be some semblance of what I had seen on TV, but I didn’t think it would be just as fantastic as Hollywood had made it seem.

 

 

But to my pleasant surprise, it was precisely what I had envisioned. The water was warm and so were the people. Why? Because the environment makes it so. When you find yourself in paradise, all of your anxieties seem to fade away. People are there to forget their worries, responsibilities, and daily encumbrances. And it’s easy to do this when the sun is shining such comforting warmth on your skin and the waves wash everything away from your mind. Just the sound of the undulating water gives your brain a soothing rhythm to focus on. Children are all smiles as they play in the sand while their parents lay back and enjoy a special kind of peace. Couples walk the beach, focusing on one another and the beauty of the sea. Runners speed by barefoot, breathing in the fresh ocean air. You don’t even have to enter the water to enjoy it. It provides a serene surrounding that only nature can provide. This is the life. I thought. But there has to be a catch, right?

 

 

Each year that I returned, I never found that catch. My cynical outlook had been thwarted. I knew that this was the place I wanted to be. This was the place where I could live and flourish. I knew there was no permanent escape from our daily obligations, but living in a place that was only a short walk or drive to many a vacation destination, it was a no brainer. So, I made a plan. I did some research. I saved some money. It took me a little while to see it through, but finally, I made the move from the desert of Albuquerque, New Mexico to the growing city of Jacksonville, Florida.

 

Coming from Albuquerque, I thought surely Florida, being such a gem, would be costly compared to the living expenses I had previously encountered. But to my surprise, it ended up being very comparable. And in fact, Florida’s cost of living is among the lowest in the nation! This offered me the financial freedom to experience so many things. And with Jacksonville’s exponential growth, more and more people were beginning to see the same value that I did. Over the past five years since moving here, job opportunities flourished. More and more companies sought to make Jacksonville their home and grow along with the city. In 2017, Forbes Magazine named numerous Florida cities as the top five states in terms of positive employment outlook. They had also named Jacksonville, FL and Tampa, FL among the top five cities in the country people are moving to! ​ They ranked nine Florida cities among the fastest growing cities in the United States. This only confirmed what I already knew. I had found a paradise to call my own. And I felt proud to call it my home.

 

 

When the work day or week ends, it’s so easy just to hop in your car and get to the beach. But the beach isn’t the only get away that this region has to offer. From my home, it only takes a couple of hours to get to such rich historical places like Savannah, Georgia or Charleston, South Carolina. Atlanta is only a five hour drive and a cheap 45 minute flight.  Charlotte, North Carolina has such a lively and fun downtown experience within four hours of here. In thirty minutes, I can have dinner in the oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine, Florida. I can venture to their many sights and excursions whenever I please.  Key West is a few hours south, delivering a grand getaway that most people save months or years for. And these are only a few of the incredible opportunities that Florida can provide.

 

I have many friends that I have made over the years. They have shared with me their unique experiences growing up Florida style. A longtime friend of my father’s spent most of his life on and in the water, hunting under the seas for lobsters and clamming in the marshlands. Setting up camp and floating down the Santa Fe river in Ginnie springs and snorkeling in the fresh water springs filled with fish and crystal clear water provided them and their families such beautiful and genuine experiences that they will always remember. Fishing, surfing, shelling, snorkeling, yoga on the beach, football and baseball games, concerts, and more. The experiences are limitless.

 

 

Even within the city limits, you get these types of experiences. In the five years I have been here, I have watched dolphins swim by in the St. Johns river as I ate steak at Ruth’s Chris steakhouse, and watched falcons and cranes swoop from the clouds to catch their meal. On my way home from Orlando, I saw a manatee giving birth. Cars were stopped on the side of the road and people captured the miracle with their phones on their way home. All of this and more reside within the city limits. Whether it’s Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa, wherever, there are so many things to see and do. Unique restaurants with mouth watering food and desirable ambiance. Theme parks and museums. Art markets and local talent flourish. A diverse mix of people and cultures offers an infinite amount of recreation if you take advantage of it. All of this with a low cost of living price tag are worth its weight in life experience gold as well as financial security.  And as a Florida resident, many of the hotels and parks offer resident pricing. Many of times, this ends up being fifty percent less than what an “out of towner” would pay. And in the “dead season” when the tourists have gone home, many of these places offer discounted rates that make a weekend vacation feasible for Florida residents.

 

 

It’s no secret that many people retire in Florida. People see the value in what Florida life has to offer. But why wait until you retire? I know I didn’t.  And that is because I didn’t have to. And in reality, none of us need to. With the low cost of living and the plethora of opportunities, a Florida life can provide a full family life. Or even a life of adventure for the single individual. There are plenty of great colleges and Universities. The housing market is exploding and the investment in a Florida home has become very lucrative. So if you are one of those people who has even considered a Florida life, come down and see everything it has to offer.  There are plenty who are willing to be your guide.  I promise, you won’t regret it.

 

START YOUR FLORIDA HOME SEARCH TODAY

DISCOVER MORE ABOUT FLORIDA & WHAT IT HAS TO OFFER

www.MyFLLife.com

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FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR AT 

www.RJJojola.com

 

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