Hi friends! I normally don’t start off my blog posts like this but this is a very personal one for you. On a poll on my Insta-story I asked you all if you’d like a blog post on why I moved to Alabama, my thoughts/advice, what I like/dislike and what I miss about California. To my surprise 92% of you wonderful people voted yes! So here it is, all my thoughts about my big move… pouring my heart and soul out haha.
Here is my story.
It’s been about 5 years since I moved from Southern California to Southern Alabama which seems like forever ago for me now. There were so many reasons why I decided to take the big move and follow my heart. But first let me start from the very beginning.
I was about 13 years old when my Dad took my Mom, me and my nieces on a cross country road trip. He wanted us to see as much as possible of the United States, so we started our journey from Southern California and made it all the way to Washington, D.C. and back. Along our month-long road trip, we stopped in every state along the way sight-seeing and doing all the touristy things for each location.
We drove through the southern part of the country through Texas and up to the Carolinas with our last stop in D.C. As we were making our way to Destin, Florida for some sunshine we drove through this cute little city of Mobile, Alabama (pronounced: “Mo-beel” not “Mo-bull”). We honest to goodness fell in love. I couldn’t believe how cute this little city was. From the historic districts, to the downtown life and being right by the gulf it was like one of those “moment” type feelings, if that makes sense. May sound silly but we felt a connection with the town and everything about it. But we continued on our road trip with that place always in the back of our minds.
Fast forward a few years later I was in the middle of high school I believe, my parents were working and we were living our California life as per usual. However, it wasn’t long until we all found ourselves constantly researching the town we stubbled upon and looking at Zillow home search etc. We were being dreamers for sure haha! I knew that if I ever left California I had to live somewhere just as close to the beach as I did in SoCal. Mobile, Alabama was literally checking all the boxes for me and my parents. It’s got that southern charm about it that’s very appealing but also very coastal and hip with lots of up and coming entertainment, attractions and restaurants to keep you busy. Check out the cities travel website, here, and follow the hashtag #VisitMobile to see more.
I was deciding on colleges at the time and I kept leaning towards the south. I always had an interest in the south whether that be from watching Sweet Home Alabama, Steel Magnolias or Gone with the Wind way too many times as a kid, but my heart always felt connected to the south in some way. We visited New Orleans, Florida and the rest of the southern region very often as a kid so we were always around the area. Also, I never really felt like a California girl. Sure, I was born and raised there but I always had other plans for myself. Not to mention my Dads side of the family comes from the south and my Dad went to college in Texas at Texas A&M University so you could say it does run in our family a bit haha.
We took another, shorter, trip around the southern region so I can tour colleges and get a feel for where I’d like to go. We also stayed in Mobile for a week or so to get a real feel for the area since we were already thinking about moving. Among the colleges I toured two stood out the most to me. The University of South Alabama and The University of Alabama. As you may already know (from previous posts) I chose to go to The University of Alabama and that my friends, is when everything changed!
We were all so excited about my acceptance and me moving that my parents and I kept thinking about Mobile. After all, it was only 3 hours away from my new school, had the most charming homes, great price range, cost of living so much cheaper than California, close to the beach, great weather, my dads job had an office there etc. I mean everything was coming together it felt like fate was in the works.
I was ready to leave California. I wanted a new adventure, new beginning, new scenery and I found that in Alabama. There wasn’t just one reason why I moved and it’s not like I hated California or anything. I just needed a change and like I said before I felt I belonged here more. Looking back on it now it was more of a group decision between my parents and I. It was just us three living together after all, since my siblings all moved out already and starting their own lives with their growing families.
So, after a few weekends of my parents flying back and forth from California to Mobile to visit me and house hunt… they found a house!
With the move, there were so many things I had to start getting use to. The food, the accents, the dialogue, etiquette, sweet tea all the time (haha not complaining) etc. Everyone said “yes ma’am”, “no sir”, “y’all” or “bless your heart”. One thing I absolutely loved about moving to Alabama was the non-existent traffic and all the delicious southern cuisine. As you can imagine what a difference it was from California. Also, the weather was so different! We hardly ever got rain in California so that first summer when we moved and we would have rainstorms we LOVED it. Also, I love living in a town with so much character left behind preserved by the historical society. Not just the homes but the churches, the office buildings, the restaurants etc. all had character and charm that I absolutely loved. Everyone was so friendly and we actually know and love our neighbors. I always felt that California was so chaotic in the sense that everyone was always on the go go go! No time to slow down and stop to enjoy life.
There are so many great things about living out here. I should probably do another post just on that alone. But I will say I have enjoyed the new cuisine, the friendly people, the beautiful Alabama scenery and gulf coast. However, with any new place you move to there will always be things you miss about your old home. For starters I have yet to find a really good authentic Italian restaurant out here but that’s understandable since it is the south. I also have noticed the big difference in retail. In California we had malls on pretty much every freeway exit whereas in Alabama the closest Nordstrom is in Birmingham. Nonetheless these are all just minor things that I have already gotten use to.
My only advice to those of you reading this with similar predicaments on moving is to go for it! You’ll never know until you try and if you don’t like your new location after a year you can always move back. There is nothing stopping you from following your heart, as cliche as that may sound. After 5 years, I am so happy I made the move. My life has changed for the better in so many ways and I love my new, sweet home Alabama. ❤️
Love always, Nickole
Thanks for reading!