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  • Writer's pictureAlicia Winzeler

Our Move to North Carolina 💙

Updated: Mar 19

As many of you already know - we made a huge change in our lives back in June of 2023 when we announced our big move to North Carolina! After years of vacationing between both North & South Carolina - we knew it was time to call one of them home. However, since the announcement of the move and us finally moving - I've been asked frequently "What lead you to move there?" so I figured I'd break it down the very best I could on what lead us to make the jump!

How it all started.....

When I was 15 years old, I picked up a book at the school library - 'Message In A Bottle' by Nicholas Sparks & I didn't know it at the time - but that first book was the start of an invisible string pulling me along to the journey of what would be my life. I fell in love with the book, the authors work, the description of how beautiful North Carolina was and of course read any and every book I could by Nicholas Sparks from that point on. I read so much of his work, I felt like in some way I already knew North Carolina despite having not seen it for myself. I knew at a young age - if I ever went to North Carolina - I'd fall in love with it. During that time growing up, I had always dreamed of moving to NYC & working in fashion, but deep down knew that NC might be the better pace of life that I needed. Lol obviously moving to NYC & working in fashion didn't happen. 😅

Flash forward ....

College, work and life didn't take me as far as I thought it would, but it led me back to my hometown where I met my husband and we began our love story. We both pondered the whole idea of moving out of Michigan a lot. And after going on our honeymoon to Charleston, SC - we almost made the attempt to move back then. However, life happened - we both got promoted at our jobs, bought a house and basically it wasn't our time. We made the little fixer upper we purchased into ours the best we could and were pretty happy for awhile...

Years later...

We finally took a vacation to my dream town for our 5 year wedding anniversary - Wilmington, North Carolina. The very place a lot of Nicholas Sparks' novels are based & some movies were even filmed out of! I knew I was gonna love visiting, but I wasn't prepared for how much I would love it. We visited everything in and around Wilmington, NC! It was then where we found ourselves exploring Southport, NC - a small coastal fishing town outside of Wilmington and north of Myrtle Beach - my heart and my soul felt completely at home - so much so that I cried. I'm not a very emotional person either! It was the picturesque coastal town that I had always envisioned in my head when reading a book by Nicholas Sparks. Which I should have anticipated because the movie Safe Haven - based off of the Nicholas Sparks novel is my absolute favorite and of course it's filmed in Southport. (Fun Fact: Safe Haven was the 1st movie my hubby & I saw in theaters together when we were dating! 🥰) I confessed to my husband that I couldn't deny my connection to this place and that I needed to find a way to get down here for good. We both agreed it was time to reach for a much bigger goal & to pursue that fresh start we talked about so long ago that we had put away.

From that day forward - we made it a mission to dedicate everything we had to make this vision of our dream life happen! But we had to get real with ourselves because when we had that revelation of needing a massive change - we both were was massively overweight, emotionally eating, binge drinking excessively, overspending & just doing zero self work. We both decided if we were going to make the biggest change of our lives & enter a new chapter - that we too would need to change. A new place wouldn't do us any good if we were still the same people with the same issues. If this was going to be a fresh start - we were going to be different people to allow for that to happen. We spent 2 years - changing our eating habits, repairing of finances, fixing up our house, exercising, going to therapy, working on our marriage, taking time to enjoy where we were for the moment while working towards our goal & taking pleasure in simple things. We put in more work than many would ever know & it's something we reflect on often. It's amazing to look back and see just to how far we've come!

We reached the point in our growth period where we realized the work we put in was reaching it's course in our environment. The healthy lifestyle we wanted, the home we wanted, the better weather, the roots we wanted - were no longer achievable where we were at. We wanted more sunshine to keep us motivated, warmer weather to thaw my severe seasonal depression, a newer home in a place we wanted to live & roots in a place we were proud to call home. The next step in our growth that we needed had reached it's limit in the place we were. No disrespect to where we're from - we just realized it was no longer serving us & what we wanted for ourselves. It was time for the big change.

While we worked together on our goals - we also set individual ones & I had made it a personal goal of mine to move to North Carolina by the time I turned 30 & my husband agreed it was a good goal for us both to work towards. Once I turned 29 in November of 2022 - I was feeling the pressure of getting things in gear, but also feeling the defeat that it may not happen in the timeframe I wanted it to. We still had to keep improving our finances, there was a ton to be done on the house, jobs to figure out - how the hell would this all happen within a year? Flashforward to April of 2023 - I went to Daytona Beach, Florida for a family trip & heavy talks of the move were in the works, but it still seemed like a long shot. Daytona was my escape from the Michigan winter that kept dragging on even into April. Suffering from seasonal depression - the weather is really hard on me. I'm not sure if it was the Florida sun or the ocean water, but something in me shifted because as soon as I got back - my husband & I spoke & we said fuck it - lets really do this. Lets quit talking about it & finally be about it. I called a realtor that day to discuss selling the house - she came out that week - told us what we needed to do to get it ready to list. I spoke with my employer who graciously agreed to let me go fully remote & my husband got his resume on Indeed to start applying for jobs. A week later he had an interview & two weeks later he was made an offer. Our home repairs took us a little longer than expected, but we got them done finally - we listed our home on a Thursday evening & accepted an offer on our house by the following Monday. The universe & God himself were helping this all come together - there was no other way to explain how it all fell into place so perfectly well.

Once my husband had his signed and accepted offer for his job - the countdown began & we were officially moving to North Carolina! We sold a ton of our stuff, got a moving company through my husbands company, signed a short term lease for an apartment in Wilmington while we shopped for a house & started to get the big move in progress!

Don't get me wrong - this wasn't exactly simple, but it wasn't as complicated as I had told myself it would be either though! I was letting fear tell me it was going to be harder than it was & I guess what I really was scared of was just a little hard work. Once we both decided to go for it - it all fell into place. But we also trusted that it wasn't going to be completely perfect & that we'd be completely okay with that as long the end goal remained - we'd be in North Carolina by the end of the year.

This by no means is a short post - so if you made it here - God bless you lol 🤣. Just like this blog post though - our journey was long to get to our dream life! It was a messy road at times with curves, stopping points, yellow lights & points of almost giving up - it was by no means perfect. But we weathered through & looking back it's crazy to think how different our lives were just less than a year ago compared to now!

If you're looking for a sign to go chase your dream life - let this be it. That dream is planted in your head for a reason. Somewhere around you there are invisible strings tying you to that dream - you just gotta open your eyes to see it! Don't be afraid of the time & hard work it's going to take - the reward will be worth it. As someone on the other side of that hard work - I truly promise you - the reward is so much greater than you can ever begin to imagine. Thanks for being here to witness my journey. 💙

Photos by Amanda Pike Photography


Mrs. Northern Belle



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