Jan 232023

Several blog readers have asked why we suddenly decided to leave the central Florida coast to move to rural Alabama and if we are ready to cope with such a dramatic change in our lifestyle.

First of all, this wasn’t a “sudden decision” based on impulse. For quite some time now we had become more and more disillusioned with living in Florida. While it is a great place to go for a vacation, living there proved to be very different for us. Rising insurance rates on our home and cars, even though we never had a claim, were becoming intolerable. The constant development without regard to the infrastructure to support it has resulted in traffic nightmares, crowded schools, flooding with every storm because there is nowhere for the water to go, and higher crime rates. I am allergic to the noseeums, and they ate me alive every time I stepped outside. And while Alabama is also a very red state, Florida’s politics and attitude toward anyone who is not white, straight, and wealthy were something we just could not agree with. So we had been thinking about leaving for a while now, and when this home and acreage became available, we jumped on it. An added advantage is being able to be so close to our son and his wife, who are only fifteen minutes away.

In terms of real estate, the value for the dollar here is so much more than in Florida. Our son and his wife bought a beautiful three-bedroom two bath home on nine acres for the same price that our neighbor in Florida just paid for a new doublewide mobile home on a very small lot.

As for the lifestyle, Terry and I have both lived in cities, small towns, and out in the country. I’ll take a view like this out my back window on a foggy morning over seeing my neighbor’s place just a few feet away. Not to mention the peacefulness. It’s so quiet that we notice when a car goes past our place a few times a day. And when they do, the neighbor always takes the time to wave or beep their horn if they see you outside. As I said in yesterday’s blog, we had neighbors stopping over to help us unload our U-Haul truck and trailer, and others have come by just to introduce themselves and welcome us to the neighborhood.

While we are “out in the country” in terms of rural ambiance, and the small town of Gordo doesn’t have much more than a dollar store, a small Piggly Wiggly grocery, a Subway sandwich shop, a post office, and a garage, we are only twenty minutes away from Northport, which has a Lowes, a Super Walmart, Publix, all kinds of restaurants and services, and it abuts Tuscaloosa. With all of the traffic in Florida, it took us that long to drive to the nearest Walmart. Tuscaloosa has just about every kind of retail store and medical service one could ever need, and if you can’t find it there, Birmingham is an hour away.

And best of all, when our running around is done, we get to come home to this welcoming sight. So yes, while it is a lifestyle change, it is a tradeoff we are happy to make.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – One of the happiest moments in life is when you make the decision to let go of what you cannot change.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  11 Responses to “A Different Way Of Life”

  1. All you need is a Chinese buffet place and you will be all set!

  2. Another benefit which you didn’t mention is the low property taxes in rural Alabama, you are probably paying several hundred dollars a year less on that 8 acre estate than you did on your your modular home in Florida. Looks like you have lots of room for your boondocking friends!

    Ray Herron

  3. I’m curious, do you have a tornado shelter? Or basement?

  4. As a person a bit older than you (76) and experienced the growing up of an area near Houston, Texas it is my worthless opinion that you have made a very correct choice to go into southern Alabama. My son and family live in north Alabama and I am finding the Huntsville and surrounding area to be attractive if I have to give up full time RV life. Have tooooo much fun.

  5. Yup, got to love the country life here. We only have 4 acres but surrounded by forest and fields. Our neighbors are armadillos, deer, fox, rabbits, squirrels, and the like. The town of Cullman is 10 miles away but growing fast. Our hope is that it slows down. I read where between 2010 and 2020 it grew 20%.

    Our house is NJ was on only 2 acres. Property taxes when we left in 2010 were over 5,000 a year. That is SOUTH Jersey. Would have been much higher in the northern part of the state. Here we pay under 260. a year. I can imagine you see quite a difference also coming from Florida to Alabama.

    Yes it is a red state. I have found everyone to be kind and welcoming. And like you, when we were moving in folks in the Neiborhood stopped to say hello. They have been helpful through the 6 years we’ve been here.

    One who stopped on the first week we were here, said she had to ask a question before we could be friends. Are we Alabama or Auburn. LOL

  6. Sally, We are scheduled to have a tornado shelter installed in two weeks.

  7. It sounds like you and Terry made the best choice to move to AL. I hope you are both feeling better. Good luck getting settled. There’s no rush. It will all wait for you. Take care of yourselves first!

  8. How about medical services such as hospital, doctors, the VA, etc? The older we get, the more important they become. Sound like a great move you made. Bob

  9. The prejudice we encountered in social settings while we lived 9 years in Cape Coral and the previous 8 winters on the Seminole Indian reservation (Seminole Campground) from the fellow campers and neighbors was shocking to this Indiana boy from the farmland.
    We tolerated it but were never able to buy in to the intolerance and abject hostility to anything that wasn’t white and well off. Our move back to Indiana (also ultra conservative but not quite so obviously racist) was a great move for us and for so many of the same reasons you enumerate.
    Enjoy the hell out of how your able to put in words things we think but struggle to put in words. It’s why we still follow you.
    Have a ball and enjoy the birds chirping and coyotes howling in your slice of heaven. Be well.

  10. nick’in’dem’sticks-

    get a 50# bag of corn – scatter it a bit here and there – and at least 2 hunting camera’s -you will have fun watching the wildlife -!

  11. Well that sounds wonderful! Best wishes on your new chapter. I have followed you guys for years and I appreciate and thank you for sharing your life and your adventures.

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