Tina and I decided that we needed a change to shake things up a bit. We had been tossing around the idea of moving out of Texas for a little while, but it was always a fleeting discussion. Let’s face it, moving sucks! The process is stressful and the comfort of living and working in a familiar area turns into chaos of a new area, selling a house and finding another one. Worst of all we’d have to say good bye to all the good friends we made. But as I mentioned, we needed a change. So as of mid June 2016, we walked out of our familiar Houston home for the last time and drove to Orlando to start a new adventure.
For obvious reasons moving to Florida was a positive step to get more active in diving but our reasons for moving were multifacited. Since arriving in Houston around 2012, both Tina and I have had some pretty tough commutes in arguably some of the worst traffic in the U.S. It was our fault because wanted to live out of the city enough to get some breathing room but this meant that we had to drive a lot on a daily basis. We both underestimated the toll just the commutes would take on our daily lives. Tina was teaching at a community college on the south side of Houston and her commute was 1hr and 10 min with good traffic each way. When the traffic would kick off it could be as long as 3 hours to get home. We found ourselves in an endless loop of getting up very early in the morning so she could leave the house by 4:30am just to beat rush hour on the south side. This had been our lives for 3 and a half years and it was exhausting.
The weekends would come and we just didn’t want to even get in the car. So our diving was limited to the Blue Lagoon in Huntsville because it was close. And when we could get the energy we would drive to spring lake near Austin, which was a very long day in the car; if we didn’t want to spend the night near the lake. I know I speak for both of us when I say It just wasn’t working and it became more and more apparent as we neared 2016. We wanted to continue training and diving because it’s our escape from the mundane but we got so bored with not having many options for local diving. Don’t get me wrong. Houston, Austin and Dallas have a wonderfully active and passionate diving community but we just could’t get out as much as we wanted. Vacations to Mexico or Florida just seemed like it wasn’t enough and we could never find the time to get a vacation scheduled. We needed to be in an area where we could do weekend trips and dive some really spectacular places. It was a crazy idea really. We felt that there was no way that it would work.
We ended up setting our sights on Orlando for a few reasons. Most notably, is the fact that, of all the places we scouted, Orlando had the most opportunity for Tina to teach and myself to work for an engineering company (either in Aerospace or energy since i have a background in both). It also was a place that had most of the technology industries surrounding the universities, so there was a high chance we would’t be working on opposite sides of the city like we were in Houston. We looked at Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, and many other cities with close proximity to good recreation, but Orlando had the best balance of everything. Our search criteria was mainly focused on getting a better work life balance of diving, hiking and other outdoor fun, while being close to our jobs. It would also mean we’d likely sacrifice some of the comforts of living out of the city that we had been accustomed to. It was a sacrifice we were both willing to make. Around the first of January, a job opportunity came up for Tina, at a major university in Orlando. She didn’t really have anything to lose so, she applied for it. Orlando suddenly became a perfect storm of opportunity but it felt like it would vanish in an instant.
The roller coaster that followed for the next 6 months was possibly one of the most stressful periods in our lives. The actual selling of the house and moving was nothing compared to waiting to find out if we could do it. I’m not going to go into all the details because obviously we moved to Orlando, however there were many long weeks of pure anxiety. But, In the end, Tina got the job and I was able to find a great job right near campus too. We did have to downsize quite a bit. I spent most of the first and second quarter unloading stuff on Ebay and Facebook garage sale type pages. I was selling anything I didn’t need just to get extra cash and lighten our load. We still have quite a bit of crap but it felt amazing to reduce that amount of physical stuff we were responsible for.
Finally it’s been a few weeks since we moved and I can finally sit down to write a blog on how the heck we ended up in Orlando. Interestingly enough, actually having time to blog is really nice luxury at the moment. Since we arrived here we have been very active, exploring. This should mean that I can detail more of our adventures for posterity or at least for my own amusement.