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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Making the Move Decision

It is interesting how complex the moving decision can be. Thinking about moving can create as much churning in your life as tropical storm Hanna recently did to these waters off of Emerald Isle, NC. Most people worry about the same things. Can we make friends in a new area and will it be the right thing for us? If you throw in schools,jobs, and different preferences for climate, then you can easily see how the decision to move can be as stressful as any in your life. Perhaps the most challenging of all moves is the one that you do not have to make. It is really easy to not move if nothing is pushing you. Yet there are things that can nag you into a move. We often see people who can no longer endure cold, snowy, dark winters. They hope a move to the Carolina coast can bring a new perspective to their life during the winter. The good news is that it usually does.
The winter climate along the North Carolina coast is mild enough that outdoor activity is possible during all months and much of the time in the winter coats are optional and snow is nearly unheard of among local residents. Yet it is cool enough that we do not get bored wit the climate.

The worry about making friends is a little more complex. To make friends, you have to be willing to get out and put yourself in situations where you will meet other people. That is highly possible along the Crystal Coast where we live, but there is nothing magic in the air here that will turn a hermit into a social butterfly.

Our own move is a good example of how to make friends. One of the first things we did was join a local church. We like going to church and have always found it a great way to meet good people. We were lucky that our church, Cape Carteret Presbyterian, has pot luck meals after service once a month except during the summer. It is a great way to get to know some new faces.

We also bought a home in a well designed subdivision, Bluewater Cove, which continues to have community focused events where you can get to know your neighbors. A few hamburgers and beers can make for good fellowship. Last Saturday night, we had an end of summer Lobster Fest with hot dogs and hamburgers for those already filled up with Lobster.

The small towns of the Crystal Coast present a number of opportunities to take part in community events of all sizes. We greatly enjoyed the Lobster Festival being held last weekend, September 13, at the Swansboro's St. Peter's Episcopal Church. We had as much fun meeting people as we did eating lobsters.

As with any move, lots of unanswered questions put you in touch with locals who can help with the situation. We have managed to meet some great folks in getting settled in our new home. Some have become friends.

Before we moved we had also made the decision that we were going to become boaters so we could really enjoy the pristine waters of Bogue Sound. Learning all the ins and outs of boating has introduced us to a new world of people who are very knowledgeable about being safe and having fun on the water. Boaters are also very friendly people.

We made one other important decision before we moved. For most of my professional career, my job has driven my life. In this move we made sure that my life would drive my job.

I really enjoy real estate and want to be successful at helping my clients, but this is not the time in my life to give up everything for my job.

We have continued to take time off so we could maintain our friendships and visit our old hometome of Roanoke, VA. With the technology that is available today, my office is wherever I am. I think it has worked out well. The balance that we have achieved is certainly sustainable.

Still I have managed to make some good friends in the office where I work, and for me that was a change since my most of my professional career was spent in a home office situation where there were no co-workers.

While my wife might have a slightly different scorecard, I can say that the change which came with our move has been very positive. I love living here on the coast.

It is a dream come true being able to hop on my bike and go for a bike ride. That's something that I could not do at our mountaintop home in Roanoke.

Being able to slide my kayak in the water for a quick paddle after work is also a bonus that was unavailable in Roanoke. I had a kayak there for a few years, but I had to put it on top of a car and drive twenty minutes to get a place where I could kayak.

I am also not complaining about having the community swimming pool just across the cul de sac from our home. There's nothing as relaxing as swimming a few laps after a bike ride.

One of the great pluses for me in the move is finally having that boat which I can drop in the water with the push of a button. In a couple of minutes I can be on the river or in less than ten minutes I can be in Swansboro on the Intracoastal Waterway. The ocean is only another ten minutes away.

Having a small skiff like ours just opens up a number of wonderful recreational opportunities. Last week we took a couple of new friends fishing. We actually caught fish and enjoyed the amazing scenery of Bogue Sound for a whole afternoon.

A year ago, I would have been nervous about being responsible for others on the water. Lots of time on the water and plenty of boating with others more experienced than me have given me the confidence and skills that I need to be safe when taking others out. It's now a lot of fun, and I think even my wife is starting to relax and enjoy it.

In the end, any move is a gamble, but I believe the risks are minimal if you do your research up front and go into it with a positive attitude.

If you are convinced that you are already living in paradise on earth, do everyone a favor and stay there. No one enjoys hearing negative comparisons of where they are living with where you decided you did not want to live.

Yet if you are to the point where the change which a move introduces into your life could be positive, do not let a few worries hold you back. You could end up having some wonderful memories like we have from this past Labor Day.

I do not miss the ice and snow of winter. Almost all of our good friends have made the trek to our new home. We have actually been able to spend more quality time with them here than we did at our other home. The new friends that we have made here are ones that will likely stay with us through the rest of our lives.

The bright blue skies of Carteret County are wonderful to wake up to in the winter. The fact that I can go for a hike on the beach or on one of the area's trails without freezing on a winter afternoon is just one more reason why I am happy that we took the risk and made the move to the coast here on the Southern Outer Banks.

If I can just catch that big Red Drum this fall, I will be one very happy resident.

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