Chasing Summer - Part 4! My Adventures As A Snowbird!
After months of planning and packing, and then days of driving, we finally made it to our snowbird home in North Myrtle Beach!
If you haven't been following my blog, let me catch you up. Back in early September, my husband and I decided that the prospect of spending a cold winter stuck at home was not very appealing. We both hate winter generally, and with COVID-19 totally out of control and more and more things shutting down, we just needed to get away.
Plus, for two people that take at least 2 or 3 big vacations a year, with a lot of smaller trips in between, the fact that we hadn't really left our house for over 8 months was wearing on us.
So, we came across a friend of a friend who owned a condo on the beach in North Myrtle Beach and was willing to rent it out to use for four months.
Since we made this decision, I've been documenting the snowbird process on my blog. The idea was not only to share my adventure, but to give some tips to others who might be thinking about the same process. So now that we're here, is it everything we hoped for? Keep reading to find out!
On The Road Again And Again And Again!
Once we got through the work of packing, we had to make our way down to South Carolina. We decided to take both cars, so we could have the flexibility to have both of our cars here and because we had enough stuff that we needed two cars.
Because we both had to drive and couldn't split driving duties, we decided to break the drive up. That meant planning out the trip and staying in hotels. The great part of this was it gave us a chance to stop in a few places along the way. We did a quick, socially distanced visit with family. It also meant that we were able to spend a couple of days in Charlottesville, VA, which is a city we really love.
Tip #1: Traveling can be a little intimidating right now. Every state has different rules. It's a little scary to stay in hotels. We stuck to big hotel chains like Hilton, Holiday Inn and Best Western for our stays. The larger hotel chains seem to be doing a great job keeping things clean and keeping people safe. Be sure to carefully check out any hotel you plan to stay in and understand their safety protocol. And travel with disinfectant wipes so you can wipe down the room when you arrive.
I See The Ocean!
We scheduled our last overnight stop in Smithfield, NC, knowing that we would only be a couple of hours from our condo. The plan was to arrive early afternoon so we would have enough time to unload the cars and move everything in.
As we pulled into North Myrtle Beach before turning left on Ocean Drive, we basically hit a dead end into the ocean. I'm not ashamed to say that I got tears in my eyes! This is what we had worked so hard for all of our lives - the ability to spend a portion of our year in a place like this.
While it was a lot of work to get here - including a lot of hours to unpack and settle in - it was so worth it.
Tip #2: I am working while we are here. I'm lucky that my job allows me to be fully remote. I decided to take an extra day off after we arrived, and I'm glad I did. While we got unpacked that first afternoon, it was so nice to have a day after to just relax and adjust. Make sure to give yourself some extra time and a chance to do that.
Getting Used To Life In A Condo
We've lived in our house for more than 20 years. While it's not huge, it is a nice sized house with different floors and a big backyard with a deck. When two people are stuck at home together during a pandemic, there are places we could go to "escape" each other.
While our condo is big - 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms - it's still a condo and there really aren't a lot of places to go to "get away". I spend a lot of time walking on the beach or working on the balcony. My husband is planning on doing a lot of golfing. But there are simple things - like in the evenings we are kind of stuck on the couch watching the same show on t.v. (which my husband painfully discovered the other night involves me watching Christmas shows) - is a little challenging.
Still, the condo is great. We are so happy with it! It's very well equipped. In fact, the kitchen is nicer than what we have at home.
Tip #3: We brought a lot of things with us to get us started for a bit - everything from toilet paper to laundry detergent to my favorite tea. That gave us some time to scope out the area and just get settled before rushing out to buy essentials.
So Now What?
Like everything in life, we had a little bump in the road within weeks of the start of our adventure. My father-in-law unexpectedly passed away right before Christmas, and we had to go back to Ohio for 10 days to have the funeral and help with things. But, we're back at the condo now and in full beach mode!
My plan over the next few months is pretty simple. Wake up every morning and watch the sunrise. Take lots of walks on the beach. Have a glass of wine each night on the balcony. Sleep with the bedroom patio door open a crack to hear the waves at night. Read lots of books on the beach.
We also plan to explore the area, although that can be challenging right now. The good thing is we've discovered lots of great restaurants that have outdoor seating, so we just put on a sweatshirt and enjoy that it's not too cold. We've also discovered that the off-season is pretty quiet here, so the beach is practically empty and some of the outdoor attractions and shops are empty too.
One month in I can tell you that this was 100% the right decision for us! Stay tuned for more blog posts about our adventures, and make sure you follow me on social media for some great sunrise pictures!
Are you a snowbird? I'd love to hear about your experiences! Comment below or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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