My husband and I are in a place in our lives where we feel we have the opportunity to explore and to live somewhere other than Washington for a while. The kids are still young (4 & 2) and aren't starting major school anytime soon. I am completing my degree online, which can be done from any computer. We rent our home and my husband makes his living through the internet and the iPhone, which can also be done anywhere.
So why don't we move? We've talked about it for years and our number one reason we've decided against it has been family and friends. However, we rarely see our friends anymore and we feel like moving may be a great (temporary) experience for all of us. We could get a big enough house for visitors and return home for the holidays, and there is always Facebook. We really started to wonder, why not?
First we would have to decide where. We wanted to stay in the US and we wanted to be somewhere warm and coastal so we narrowed our choices down to Oahu and Orlando. Two opposite sides of America and two very different places. If you are thinking about moving cross-country, this would be the obvious first place to start but most people move for work, we are moving just because.
The second step in your decision would be to start posting around and asking people about the experiences of living and raising kids in the area you are considering. The reception we received from the Hawaii side was less than welcoming and turned us off quite a bit. Hawaii will always be dear to me but will only remain a vacation spot. The people we talked to living in and around Orlando have been incredible and informative and the more we learned the more we liked it.
From there we have begun gathering information about the Orlando area. There are lots of different neighborhoods, so the first place we started was schools. We don't know how long we might be in the area or when we might move so researching schools is always a great idea. It might give you a good idea about the people in the area also. GreatSchools.net is perfect for this.
We searched schools ranked 7 and above and then read parent comments and decided that Windemere, FL is the place for us. Incidentally enough, Windemere is also the place we were seeing a lot of great rentals on Craig's List.
Our research still continues and my husband just bought a ton of books off Amazon about moving to and living in Florida as well as several books about moving with children. Unfortunately, there were none about making cross-country moves so this begins a series of blog postings about our journey, should we choose to accept it.