So you’re thinking of making the leap. Your dream of pulling up stakes and heading way down south to Dixie is starting to feel less like a pipe dream and more like a real possibility.
And, if you’ve got southern skies on your mind, you’re not alone. In fact, in 2018, more than one million Americans moved to the south, with Florida and Texas topping the list of new transplants, especially from major metropolitan areas like New York City and Chicago.
It’s really not hard to see why. When it comes to the south, there’s a whole lot to love. But southern living isn’t likely to look much like a Designing Women episode. Your own southern saga will probably be nothing like a Tennessee Williams play.
But when you separate fact from fiction, you’ll find the south, with its beautiful landscapes, thriving economy, and vibrant cultures, to be a region unlike any other. Here’s what you should know before you embark on your own Dixie destiny.
The Weather: Good, Bad, and Ugly
Yes, in most cases, southern weather really does live up to the hype. If you’re a snow bunny, or if you have some particular affinity for shoveling your body weight in snow in subzero temperatures, then southern living may not be for you.
But living below the Mason-Dixon line doesn’t necessarily mean renouncing snow altogether. Some areas, especially in the Appalachian mountains of the mid-south, such as in Tennessee and North Carolina, still get fairly substantial amounts of snow each winter — just nothing like the paralyzing snows of the great white north. Even when you head further south, you can still expect to get at least a taste of snow each winter — just enough to be charming, to satisfy the winter itch, before you go back to savoring the mild temperatures of late January.
Unfortunately, though, there are some drawbacks to the south’s storied weather. Summers are hot. Really hot. And humid. Really humid. And unless you’re trying to clear your karma of some unspeakable sin, you better make sure you have great air conditioning.
But that’s not all. Because you also need to be prepared for the temperamentality of weather in the south, which is as changeful as a young girl’s fancies (and if you’re moving to the south, you better get used to colorful phrasing with lots of metaphors while you’re at it). A pristine summer day and a cloudless azure sky can easily give way within a matter of minutes to a monsoon-like rain or, worse, a powerful tornado.
So no matter where you go or what the forecasts may say, when you live southerly, you must be prepared for any weather — and to take these southern storms seriously.
More Bang for Your Buck
One of the best things about living in the south is that you’re going to have a lot of professional opportunities combined with a lower cost of living than you would find in other parts of the US. In fact, the south is an unlikely — but rapidly growing — hotspot in the tech industry.
So when you’re preparing to relocate, make sure you give that resume a good going over. As more and more northerners flock to the south, you’re going to face more significant competition, even in the region’s lively job market. Nevertheless, punching up your resume to showcase the skills that only you can offer is the perfect way to land your dream job under these warm southern skies.
And once you’ve landed that dream job, you might well capitalize on the lower cost of living to build your own dream home. While the cost of surveying and clearing land for building may be significant, you’re likely to find it’s worth every penny to land your own piece of prime southern real estate. Depending on where you move in the south, you can pretty much have your choice of landscape, from oceanfront to lakeside, from mountainscape to valley view. Wherever you end up settling down, just be prepared for company, and lots of it.
Southern Hospitality is Real
There’s much to love about the south. But perhaps the best thing is the culture. Its history. Its hospitality. Its food. Its music.
The simple truth is that the south is a beautiful land with beautiful people. You will eat better, laugh more, and feel more welcome than perhaps you ever have in your life.
Because, when you come down to it, the south is far more than a place. It’s a feeling, a way of life. And once you’ve had a taste of southern living, you can never go back. No matter where life may take you, you will carry the south with you in your heart, bones, and blood.
The south isn’t a region. It’s a state of mind. But if you’re thinking of moving down home, there are some things you should know about this extraordinary place, with its flourishing economy, rich culture, and profound sense of community. So do your homework and then come on down. We’ll be proud to welcome you!