Help me relocate,.... I want to soak up the Sun in the Sunshine State
The spaces we inhabit clearly have an influence on our mood, our behavior, and even the way we move and interact with others. Enter a busy shopping center, and you immediately quicken your steps. Open the heavy door and step into a majestic cathedral, and you lower your voice and automatically look up. Return to your home after a busy and stressful working day, and your body relaxes. All those emotional processes take place subconsciously.
"A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, and loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image."
-- Joan Didion
Plan your move to Florida's West Coast
A move to another place is a major step, and should be taken seriously. You are not just changing a location, you are changing your lifestyle, your whole life. The right move can also free from problems like high living expenses, a dead job market or just a case of location-based boredom, however, it may change everything else as well.
You have chosen the state of Florida to become the new center of your life? That's pretty darn good. Now, what can you expect so far south: The cost of living can vary widely in the Sunshine State depending on the area you have chosen to move to, and, like mentioned before, the style of living will vary , too. You can reside in a community with a mix of rural farmland and horse pastures or you can live in bustling cities with a never ending nightlife... or anything in between, of course. Some places are pretty quiet, maybe too quiet, while others may feel more like an over-sized amusement park.
Florida is also a hub for international trade, mostly with South America, and it is the top destination for travelers from all over the world. The Sunshine State is also the top destination for Americans who want to avoid cold, wet snow and dim, cloud covered days or weeks (or months). The so called "snow birds" still like it up north; they spend only the winter in Florida and let the Floridians suffer through the hot and humid summer months. But more and more people come to Florida for good. Maintaining two homes can be a financial burden and the summer is really not so bad anyway.
Are You Thinking about Relocating to the Sunshine State?
The Sunshine State can be divided into seven different areas: Northwest Florida stretches from Gainsville to Pensacola and makes up the handle part of the so called "Panhandle". It is the only part of Florida which is mostly in a different time zone, and it is also a little different compared to the rest of Florida, because it is more likely considered part of the "true" south. The beautiful 100 mile stretch of sandy beach along the panhandle is also commonly known by the colloquial sobriquet "Redneck Riviera". Emerald Coast would be the proper name, but who cares?
North Central Florida is well known for the two state's college towns Gainsville (University of Florida) and Tallahassee (Florida State University), which is also the state's capital. Ocala, the paradise for horse lovers, is also part of the area.
Northeast Florida, which stretches along the Atlantic Coast, hosts Florida's oldest city. St. Augustine was founded in 1565 and has a rich history. Much of the area has a heavy Spanish influence which can easily be detected while strolling through the town. Another name: Jacksonville is a large city located on the water.
West Central Florida has an interesting mix of communities. The Homosassa/Brooksville areas are basically rural areas, nothing really exciting. The area around Tarpon Springs has a strong Greek influx. Sponge fishing was a big thing in the past, and Greek fishermen were good at that. Today the successors try to survive by running all kinds of tourist traps...and again, they are good at that, too. Plant City is more or less a gigantic strawberry farm while the Clearwater/St.Petersburg/Tampa area is the metropolitan part of West Central Florida. The area is home to Universities, Colleges, big companies and water and amusement parks, like Busch Gardens.
However, the world famous attractions are in Orlando, East Central/Central Florida. Disney World, Epcot, Sea World, Universal Studios and other major amusement parks are attracting millions of visitors from all over the world. Of course, it is busy there, and you hear many different dialects and languages. Further east is another famous spot, called Cape Canaveral. That name should ring a bell. From this space every manned mission into space was launched. You see, East Central Florida is not all about Goofy and Mickey Mouse, that would be a little too simple.
Florida's Southwest Region
Southwest Florida includes popular communities such as Bradenton, Sarasota, Venice and Fort Myers ...and many more cities all the way down to Everglades City. Popular museums, farms, fishing communities, huge wildlife preserves and miles of beautiful beaches are dominating this area. Last but not least, there are the Everglades in the very south, a unique swamp land with a variety of interesting creatures. Not that you would want to live in Pa-ha-okee ("Grassy Water" in Seminole Indian language), but it is always worth a trip if you like Florida's nature.
Southeast Florida has an interesting mix: part swamp, part island communities and part city. Miami and Fort Lauderdale offer everything to satisfy urban dwellers. International boutiques, huge shopping malls, international cuisine and a vivid nightlife are the attributes of this area. The historical roots of Southeast Florida a clearly visible wherever you go. The whole area is heavily influenced by Spanish cultures. Spanish and art deco-inspired architecture, Spanish art, Spanish food and the Spanish language are almost dominant in that region. Many celebrities made Miami their permanent home because of the interesting multicultural flair.
However, Southern Florida doesn't end at the city limits of Miami. South of Miami is a series of islands, connected by numerous bridges, referred to as "The Keys". A relatively short and picturesque drive south on US-1 leads to Key West, the southernmost location in the continental USA. Visitors from all over the world love the southern charm and Caribbean flavor of this island nation, referred to as "Conch Republic". The famous City of Key West is a unique place with an interesting historical background, but be prepared, with limited space and thousands of tourists strolling through the street you will never feel lonely.