Pandemic Moving: Our year-long relocation

Because my last several posts have been monthly progress updates to catch up from my hiatus, I am postponing an annual review. Instead, today’s article will include more details about our move. This relocation was highly unusual for us and somewhat unexpected. I will introduce what led to the decision to relocate and highlight the major steps in our process. Finally, I’ll share where we are as of this writing.

When we first decided to aggressively save in the hope that we could retire years earlier than the standard retirement age, I believed we would continue on in much the same way. I did not contemplate new jobs or moving. We had dialed in our living expenses pretty well and I knew we could work towards reductions while increasing our savings with the surplus (and regular wage increases). I thought I would likely stay at my current firm and make partner within a few years. Then an opportunity to move to a much larger firm arose. That job change in late 2018 resulted in a significant wage increase and brought me over six figures for the first time. I also became the breadwinner for our household.

The real power of that job change, was the new doors that a large firm opened for my career. One of my career strategies has been to always understand the marketplace for my skills. What jobs might be a good fit and what are those employers willing to pay? Around this time, I realized that I had developed a highly marketable and in-demand skill set. So I kicked the tires on several openings from corporate work to other firms, some in larger cities. Thus, we introduced the idea of relocating for the right fit. 

Amid an emerging pandemic last spring, I found the right fit. It required relocation to a metro area where we’d previously lived. It is near the grad school I attended and near Mr. Vine’s undergraduate alma mater. But with everyone, including me, working remotely, I dragged my feet on the relocation. Last summer, Mr. Vine took a job in what would become our new metro area, relying on family and friends for housing during the week while I stayed behind with our pets. We ultimately decided to purchase a home and found one relatively quickly, putting in an offer in mid-July. 

That’s where the quick progress ended. Our chosen home had a foundation issue discovered during the inspection. That delayed our closing while we performed additional due diligence to decide whether this house was even worth it. Eventually we proceeded to closing and then had included a month of post closing possession to the seller. Finally, in October we received keys to the house and could begin executing the extensive renovation plans we had. 

I could write an entire new blog on the misadventures we’ve had with contractors. The delays and the contractors’ excuses for why our project is behind schedule seem infinite. I continued to stay in our home and Mr. Vine continued to commute. This lifestyle was getting old quickly and was costing us in fuel and food costs. 

Eventually, we lucked into a great tenant for our existing condo. We could begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel on the renovation. In late January, Mr. Vine found a pet friendly hotel and encouraged me to try bringing our cats for a visit to see how they’d handle a temporary place. It went surprisingly well, so well that our planned four night stay turned into eight nights. We were able to spend Mr. Vine’s birthday together as a family–albeit in a much less exciting place than last year

After I returned from the hotel stay and our little work-cation, we made plans for my permanent relocation, which would require temporary lodging while our renovation project finished. We found a great little Airbnb with a solid monthly pricing deal in the heart of downtown, near my grad school campus. We arranged to finish packing our condo and move its contents into a storage unit close to the new house so it would be ready to move in. I’m currently on a second, longer term work-cation. We’re both anxious to get settled into the new home. 

In the coming weeks, in lieu of posts sharing our travel adventures, which have been in short supply over the last year, I will talk about these major steps in our relocation. This was a new realm for me as we’ve never before traveled with our cats! The ability to work remotely has been a gift during this time and what we did would not have been possible without my amazing employer. We are constantly thankful for this privilege and are amazed that despite the relocation detour and the pandemic, we are in a better financial position than we were a year ago. 

I want to hear from you in the comments! Have you relocated for a job? What are your tips? Have you traveled during the pandemic? Was it work related or not? Have you ever traveled with pets? 

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