My ultimate concierge and I live six months of each year in our primary home ‘in the sky’ in Chicago and the other six months in our Feng Shui vacation home we built in Rancho Mirage, California. According to The National Association of Realtors, millions of Americans have second homes.
How can you make wise decisions when contemplating a home away from home?
Take My Advice
It is somewhat difficult for women — like me — to split our time between two locations. Uprooting our daily lives and our belongings is no easy task. Yes, we are the picker-uppers. It is the woman of the house, the organizer, the homemaker, who packs up his and her clothes that will travel from one closet to another.
Some months later she repacks the same clothes, shoes, handbags, perfumes, pooches, and husband’s ‘everything’ and returns them back… to their first closet!
Our papers leave one desk for another, our pets, our perfume, his aftershave, our photos and everything in between are packed for our vacation home and then repacked for our primary residence.
We cancel the manicurist, the work out sessions and have our teeth cleaned! We leave one life for another life.
Being an adaptable woman, an appreciative woman, and an organized woman helps. The most important part of the equation is loving the location and the lifestyle.
My Life is One Big Adventure
If anyone had told me when I was growing up in Kankakee by the Sea that my life would be a great adventure, I would have said, “I know.” Why? Simply put, I felt it. I did not know what was in store, but I knew it would be exciting because I felt my heart go pitter-patter when I envisioned my life as a grown-up.
I recall when I was around 11 years old, I rode my bike to my friend, Charlotte’s, house because I wanted to make a play date for the weekend. She told me she was going to Paris for the weekend! I said with wide eyes as I straddled my two-wheeler, “You’re going to Paris, France?”
She replied, “No, I am going to Paris, Illinois.”
We said our farewells, and as I rode my bike home with my arms in the air at the young age of 11, I yelled to the world, “One day, I am going to Paris, France!”
It never dawned on me to say, “One day I am going to Rancho Mirage, California!
How To Pick The Best “Second” Community For YOU!
Darlings, the key to making your task of packing and traveling a manageable event, and trust me, it is an event, is to be wise with your choice of location.
Nothing good happens by accident so be studious, darlings. I suggest you ask yourself the following questions when contemplating this critical and life-changing decision:
- Do I love the desert or the sea? Which do I prefer, skiing or surfing?
- Do I prefer living in a vibrant or laid-back community?
- Would I feel safer living in a gated community?
- Do I want to rent or buy a home?
- Is there a University, a community center, theatre and museums that will serve my needs?
- Are the medical facilities A+?
- Do I want to live in two communities or would I prefer to travel or ‘just stay home?’
- Would I prefer living in a hotel and being catered to?
- Do I have the type of personality that doesn’t mind being uprooted? Am I adaptable?
My Personal Snowbird History
I was in my 40s when we moved to Rancho Mirage. I did not ask myself those crucial questions. My heart told me not to live in Rancho Mirage. I made the mistake of not following it. My decision to say yes when I should have said no was because… my heart exploded with love for my ultimate concierge. I adored my husband. He loved the lifestyle of Rancho Mirage. I capitulated. I was wrong.
But, in all honesty, I have led a glorious life in Rancho Mirage, and I am grateful that together we built a delicious home. What a wonderful experience! I was 100% involved in landscape decisions, as I enjoyed learning about the foliage, as well as how to lay out a landscape. Now, I have lovely friends from across the USA. I love to entertain and like to open our home to friends. And, this winter in Rancho Mirage, I will have a new pooch to take my daily walks with.
What do I miss? I miss the sea. The beach. The seashells. The smell of the ocean. The orchids.
In Rancho Mirage, I lost the energy of a dynamic community in a city close by. You darlings will probably think to yourself, that is not a lot to lose in the big scheme of things. But to me, it was almost everything.
Therefore, darlings, take nothing for granted when you are splitting a significant amount of your time between two communities. Cross your T’s and dot your I’s. Listen to your heart and always follow YOUR arrow, wherever it goes.
Which Direction Are You Headed?
I would love to hear about which “direction” you are headed. Are you a snowbird with two homes? How do you survive and thrive? Do tell! Please share your thoughts with me via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram or in the comments section below.
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