FL to TN – Why We Are Trading in Palm Trees for Smoky Mountains

florida, tennessee, CircaWanderlust, Circa Wanderlust, Ess Mckn, Stephanie Hames, Stephanie McKenna, Stephanie Hames McKenna, Tim McKenna

So, we’re moving…. and we are super stoked! My awesome job aside, we had been looking to move out of the Sunshine State (Or Satan’s Hot Breath as I like to call it in the Summer when your seat belt is so hot it sears your skin and you can’t fully hold the steering wheel). We had narrowed it down to moving wherever one of us got a decent job and the toss up was between: California, PNW, New England, or Tennessee/Carolinas.

Well, life happened to work out so that I got a job before Tim as a social media manager. Keep in mind that Tennessee was a top choice for me, but not Tim. I grew up vacationing in the Smoky Mountains so it has always felt like a second home to. As my interview went from one to two to a Skype call with the VP I kept making sure Tim would be okay with the move. Yeah, it would be a bad ass career move and I would be working literally my dream job in my dream town, but none of that would matter if Tim wasn’t happy. Or as he likes to say “get depressed and get shingles” (happened to my mom’s dad, #truestory).

This is where you keep in mind that Tim has lived in Florida his whole life. He might have been born in Germany but for 27 years he has been near the beach and under the sunshine. To him, the most amazing and vast wonder was the ocean. Until this past weekend, when we went to try to find a house, and he saw the Smokys for the fist time.

We have always dreamed of being more out doorsy – camping, hiking, going kayaking, and being surrounded by nature, something that is easier said than done with the average summer heat is 100 degrees and you have a French bulldog that overheats like a cheap car with too many miles on it. There is also something to be said about camping and not feeling like your tent has turned into a sauna. Having lived in various places and climates, I knew the places we wanted to move could give us that life we were looking for. So taking my bad ass job out of the equation (though a big factor) we were still looking to get out of Florida.

As we trade in our beach days (which haven’t happened in like 3 years) for weekend hikes we are beyond excited for a new adventure. We went up to look for a place to live recently, which was harder than expected due to last year’s fires in the National Park. But that weekend gave us a chance to really see what our lives would look like up there.

As we drove from Florida to Tennessee each mile that we got closer felt like we were slowly making our way to something that just felt right. It all started right near the Cherokee Visitor Center, where Tim got his first glimpse of Elk, a species they are trying to reintroduce into the park. That was followed by a Passport to the National Park System (Trail of Tears Stamp, Blue Ridge Parkway Stamp, and Great Smoky Mountains National Park Stamp) and some side road detours of pre-civil war mills, streams, rivers, and chipmunks! We bough hiking boots, set the GPS to “location” so we could find our way back and just explored one day.

I have been in love with the Smokies for oh so long and being able to start his new chapter with Tim is super exciting! It is a big shift for us, moving from Sarasota’s high dollar donor galas and the million dollar beach homes to a small mountain town with a touch of southern charm. But it all seems worth it to us as so much of our new life aligns with that we have always wanted and our core values.

Sure, the Gatlinburg/Pigeon Forge area is very touristy in season (so is Florida), but we will be 15 mins from the most visited National Park in the Country! Our blog will still have the same awesome content you’ve come to love and expect but you might notice a shift: less tropical more over landing. Our new goal is to visit as many National Parks as we can! So needless to say there were be some great new posts on camping, over landing, Jeep Wrangler life, National Parks, road trips and what to do! As we adventure through life we will always keep you updated! And I promise that you will be the first to know when we finally spot a real black bear in the wild, as that is Tim’s new mission.

As I type this I am flying over south LA en route to Loreto, Mexico for a FAM trip to represent The Fairytale Traveler on a luxury food and wine trip which I am stoked for! After spending a few days in Baja Sur sipping wine and soaking up the sunshine we will head on our great new adventure. Our house is packed, the Uhaul is rented, and within a week we will be Tennessee residents.

 

3 Comments

  1. Hi. We are doing the same in eight days…leaving FL after 25 years and moving to Knoxville. We both were raised in TN and it feels like coming home. Loved your blog entry and image. Hope your dream job is going well.

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    1. I say this with the all the love for Florida buuuut you will not regret it! As everyone back home melts away I am enjoying 78 degree weather ❤

      Like

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