AKA, "Why Georgia?"
If I had a dollar for every time I've been asked this question, I would probably have enough for a couple tanks of moving truck gas.
A few years ago, we were really seriously considering moving to Florida. I think we'll still look at that in the future, or at least buying a little condo so I can do art shows there in the winter, but all of this really sprouted from a strong desire to not be in Montana anymore.
The winters here are killers. I underwent back surgery a long time ago, and parts of my spine are fused and/or held together with hardware. Of course from this I have arthritis in what remains of my actual functional spine, since it absorbs all the shock and wear and tear of the entire back. I've tried a lot of things, but the reality is simply that unless the weather is cold my back doesn't really hurt much. Unfortunately, it's cold off and on all year in Montana, and pretty solidly for 8 or 9 months of the year. This past winter was the worst, and my wintertime back pain didn't ease up at all until May. I knew this had to be my last winter here. It kept me from sleeping and working and made me pretty miserable in general, and I'm not sure how many repeats of that I could handle before I crammed some art supplies in a suitcase and ran away.
Meanwhile, while my back pain was still borderline unbearable well into spring, it was 60-80 degrees in Georgia. Urf.
Sometimes people will conspiratorially whisper to me, "but the South is so racist!", and I can't really help but laugh. Okay, first of all, a geographical location can't be racist. Secondly, racism is everywhere. There isn't a corner of the country that has a monopoly on it, trust me.
"But it's so humid!" and Montana is so cold, yet I still lived there, and millions of people live in humid locales all the time. I will just wear less clothing than I'm used to wearing in Montana. Problem solved!
Really, Georgia is beautiful, lush, and green, and the high humidity is obviously part of the reason for that. You could never run out of things to do in Georgia, and if you get sick of the heat, the mountains are just a little car trip away. There are galleries and museums everywhere, and multiple art fairs and festivals every weekend all summer long. We'll be close to my husband's big family, and homes are very affordable. Schools aren't as crowded there as they tend to be here. The climate is perfect for me to finally garden my little brains out. The list goes on and on, but most importantly: I love Georgia. I don't mind the humidity, I don't mind the heat. I love listening to the deafening chorus of cicadas at night, visiting Savannah, driving the highway out to Tybee Island, the ivy-covered trees, the Antebellum mansions, the ghost stories, the history, the people are friendly, the forests are beyond compare, the winters are mild and short, but it still gets all four seasons.
I'm really excited to move, finally, after trying to figure out how to get away from Montana for 3 or more years. I'm looking forward to new adventures, good and bad, in a new place, with new opportunities, and new and old friends.
It's time for me to finish this cup of coffee and get back to packing up my art studio. I have a lot to do today, since we leave in six days!