Expectations Vs. The Reality of Moving to Orlando

What does the ‘Jersey Boy’ do when he crosses the road (or in this case, the Eastern Sea-Board)? He FREAKS out! So, maybe that’s a little over-dramatic. Regardless, my experience of moving from NJ to Orlando went a little differently than I expected.

First, a short back story. One summer, My Husband Sean and I had made the ‘soft’ decision to take a risk in life and move to Florida. This followed a few major life events (something that a therapist would probably tell you not to do, haha). The risk was worth it to us as we didn’t have any major obligations or ties (except friends, of course) in NJ. We craved change, and I personally craved a career shift (We both worked 60-70 hour weeks in EMS as EMT’s). Typical late 20’s kind of thoughts.

Fast forward 6 months later, cards started to fall into place in that weird ‘life’s giving you something here’ kind of way. A conversation with my Uncle, a new adventure into Real Estate, and many hours of work ahead of us – we had a plan.

  1. Work as MANY hours as possible and sock-away a moving and contingency fund.
  2. Master Real Estate – (Contact me for any help with Moving to Orlando at Josh@movingtoorlando.com).
  3. Make the move!

Oh, how naïve this thought process was. “It will be that simple!” my husband and I said to ourselves every day! Boy, were we wrong.

Getting to the Juicy Parts

First, my expectations for this move were underestimated. Yes, the plan was accurate. To an extent, though. There were a lot of other moving pieces that needed to be put in place. From January post ‘The Summer of Rediscovery’ we’ll call it – until late August, we worked very hard. The expectation was originally whimsical. We’re moving to the Sunshine State, and it’s going to be great! We will be near the Happiest Place on Earth – Disney! No more cold winters! But geographical changes don’t make everything great. The reality was hitting.

We were a month away from the move and had to start the moving process – which involved delving into the research of how to ‘Literally’ move. (If you need information on this, head over to (Literally) Moving to Orlando. It describes what we found during our research of the various ways to move ‘interstate’). We had to find a place in Orlando where I would be working in Real Estate (and near Hospitals my husband could work at). The thought was that this was going to be easy – but again…reality.

We ended up finding a place and making the move-plan. Originally my husband was going to move along with me. Instead, he would move us but stay behind in NJ to continue making an income & job searching (hopefully for 2-months max.). Jobs are not easy to come by sometimes, even in the medical field.

When looking for a place, we had to find a pet friendly & reasonably priced rental, which was definitely challenging. Within that month, we were able to find a Condo in Orlando that worked for us. With the move, we opted for a rental truck to save on time (U-Haul). We also hired movers to unload at our destination (Do it, you won’t regret it – we used Sunrise Moving, LLC).

The Move, Itself

Captains log October 13th, 11:00 pm. With the truck packed, our beloved feline daughter loaded into the car with her necessities, we hit the road—joy and Happiness in both of us for our plan to be coming to fruition!

We said our goodbyes to our Jersey people, cried it out, and left the Garden State. First stop, Virginia (for two hours to rest and visit a friend). This was the easiest part of our journey. Wait until we get to the part where I break-down…mentally (haha).

After this stop, we were off to our longest leg (7 am the 14th) with 10 hours ahead of us to Georgia. We were off to a great start. I trailed behind the car in the rental truck. We stopped a few times and made it about 7 hours before reality REALLY started to hit me. Driving 70 down I-95, I went from smiles and slight fatigue to hysterically crying and ready to call it quits.

“What am I doing? We’re making a mistake! Moving our whole life from NJ to Orlando, Fl – we must be crazy. What if I fail? What if we hate the area? It’s going to be SO different!”

All of this – irrational, of course, and probably caused by exhaustion. But, was there a kernel of truth? Yes! Fear is a natural part of the change, and I definitely had it. The expectation I had was this was going to go so smoothly. Reality: Speed Bumps (and being pulled over once in SC for not having EXACTLY 7 truck lengths between my husband and me lol)

Calming Down, and Carrying On

We made it to our stop in Georgia. I told my husband some of my fears, and he calmed them. He shared some of his, and we slept off our exhaustion (So did Pepper the Cat).

Pepper – Tired and Resting at a Pet Friendly Hotel in Georgia

The next day, we woke up feeling much better. Exhausted still, yes – but we were headed off to make our last leg (3-hours from Georgia to the Condo). The lease signing, move-in, and getting settled – all ahead of us – and this process actually went smoother than expected. The drive was fast, movers were great, and the signing was quick. We did it! Even the cat was happy (meow).

The First Week, Reality, and Final Advice…

The first week was definitely an experience. No matter how much research and advice you get – you never truly know an area until you live there. We did a lot of exploring, and working in Real Estate definitely gave me an edge on finding some of the hidden gems in the area. The reality was actually meshing with some of the expectations. We are fairly close to Disney (about 20 minutes or so), live in the beautiful sunshine state, and no more cold winters! It has helped us to fully embraced the experience as it was meant to be – change. Leaning heavily on exploration and enjoying this new experience. Of course, none of this would have happened without a lot of help from our families. We also have some suggestions that may apply to you if you’re looking to make a move like this:

  1. Most important – Do what’s right for you. Personally, I would tell my friends, “Do it! You will NOT regret it!”
  2. If you are driving down with a rental truck, break up your drive more than we did. It may save you a mental breakdown (haha).
  3. All animals are different. If you’re wondering, our cat did great! She embraced the move and probably handled it better than us.
  4. On embracing – do just that. Embrace the move, go with the flow, and experience it all! You might fall into a lull if you don’t.

Hopefully, our experience can help you make the decision – let us know if it does and how it went for you! If you need any help with Moving to Orlando – please feel free to contact me or anyone on The Moving to Orlando Team.

[DISCLAIMER: The Service Providers listed above do not represent a professional relationship or endorsement of MovingtoOrlando.com or any associated entities.]

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