How was it that we picked "Tennessee"? I hear that question almost daily.
There was no real definitive reason, but plenty of small ones.
We had lived in Hawaii for 20 years, where I had a very successful real estate and property management company/vacation rental business. My husband was building homes for billionaires and representing them from afar-they lived in wherever USA and desired to build a $20M resort~on another $15M piece of land from their primary domicile 2500+ miles away.
We loved Hawaii when we moved there in 2000, however, like everywhere seemingly, it changes slowly, but indeed, it changes. It went from an "Aloha place" to a "California place."
Everyone from "those states" was moving there and buying everything that stood still. I had a joke that if you had a bag of planting soil in the back of your truck at a stoplight, someone would probably start to build on it.
So it became a very different landscape for many reasons (none of which were positive) over almost a 20-year timeframe.
We initially moved to Hawaii because of the ocean (being a diver, a licensed boat captain, and a dive instructor) and my love for swimming with anything in the ocean (see a photo of me and a whale shark off the Kona Coast); the bigger it was, the better I liked it. It was heaven for the first 13-15 years.
So where do we go now? Long story short, we moved to Idaho for many reasons (I won't bore you). Everyone said we were insane, going from one extreme to another. Nope, this was going to be our forever home (ha, so we thought). Yes, cold, and yes, snow, but beautiful (we were located in the upper panhandle). After growing up in Alaska, I felt "no big deal; a little snow and cold"... the part of the equation I forgot to factor in was that I was 45 years younger then (just a minor detail). I could not take a grey grey grey sky in the winter, and more snow, REALLY!!!!???!!! Add in the cold that goes on day after day after day after.........Ok, I give in! We decided we were out of there just after building our dream home. I say all that, so say why did we choose Tennessee? Maybe that is what you're thinking. Tennessee, what's there not to love? It was warmer; it was a bible belt (that was a huge factor). It seemed really beautiful. It was seemingly conservative, had no State taxes, and wasn't isolated (like Hawaii or Idaho, only so many places you could go without getting onto an airplane). It touches 8 other states! Lots to do, lots of places to go. Everyone was talking about what a great place it was. There was nothing keeping us in Idaho.
Ok, let's go check it out.
We flew into Nashville (a fantastic place!) and drove for two weeks.
Like everyone USA, we had been looking at real estate prices (through Zillow, as I was not licensed here yet). We had an idea of what we wanted and what that would cost us. (check out) www.buyrealestateintennessee.com (shameless plug).
We had even considered South Carolina at first, as the prices seemed a bit lower there.
We quickly found we loved the Central portion of Tennessee, but it was too much "Louis Vuitton and Tesla" for us(more like Orange County) and too many people. So we drove throughout East Tennesee and fell In love with her. She had mountains and water (which was lacking in Mid Tennessee). Bodies of water were high on the list of "musts."
We stepped foot in S. Carolina, planning to stay a week, and left the next day.
Tennesee felt very right.
Of course, (personally for us) prayer was a huge part of this decision. Go where He leads...faith is an action...keep moving, one foot in front of the other. He will lead...
I say that to say the clincher was when we got a Hebrew Uber driver in Nashville, and we spent an hour in his cab as a captive audience.
When he told us the name Tennesee means "The Gathering Place," we were sold.
We went home to Idaho and began to finish everything we had to finish in our house (it was a new house but had some unfinished areas), and boom, we were in Tennessee four months later.
Coming next is the entertaining Noah's Arc story of the drive from Idaho with five cats, a sick Great Dane, and a huge McCaw parrot with a "battitude.