What Happens When You Move to The South?

For the next two months, I will be living in Jacksonville, Florida with my friend Linzy, her two dogs and Calypso (my plant).  

Because…why not?!

Given the recent life change of leaving corporate life to create art and freelance one of the biggest perks has been the ability to travel and explore without the confines of walking into the same office every day from 7-6 pm, because everyone that works in corporate life knows “9-5” is actually 7 am – 6 pm. I digress…

While preparing for this adventure, a litany of questions have made their way into my curious mind.  Here are the 10 top questions I hope to answer during this journey.  

1. Will I replace Calypso (my plant) for a pet alligator?

From what I can tell Florida is filled with alligators, and I imagine them roaming the streets like squirrels in a park. Hopes are high that one will walk up onto our porch one morning and want to be mine.

I am betting that keeping an alligator alive will be easier than caring for a plant. They hunt for themselves and don’t seem to need to much TLC.

2. Will southern men be my “type”?

Dating on the west coast has primarily consisted of a guy texting you randomly to ask: “wanna kick it? bout to swing by your neighborhood” which is followed by them meeting you somewhere (not in your neighborhood) for a quick cup of coffee before asking to watch Netflix at your house later…Yes, I have lived through this.

Is this the same in the south?  I am dying to understand whether southern men hold up to their stereotype of being gentlemen. Due to this curiosity, I have convinced Linzy that we must both commit to going on at least one date (for research purposes). That is, if we can convince two southern men to spend an evening with us…

3. How do people dress in the south?

I packed my daily uniform: leggings, sports bras, and frumpy old lady sweaters.  

Whether this is acceptable or not, I don’t really care.  But, I am curious to see what trends live in Jacksonville and which ones I will want to adopt.

4. What do southerners think about people from Southern California?

I imagine people assume girls from southern California are beachy, blonde, materialistic and have an uptick valley girl voice.  Combined, Linzy and I may meet the majority of this stereotype. However, we are more than that, and I hope to be a solid representation of the possibilities that Caligirls can be.

I plan to walk around downtown Jacksonville blasting California Gurls to see how heads turn in distaste or love.

5. How humid is it, really?

I hate talking about the weather, it is the definition of a conversation dying. Nonetheless, I am curious about this…

6. How expensive is living in Florida?

California is one of the most expensive states to live in, and having been a resident since I turned 18 it is really the only cost of living I know. In the past, when I would travel to Asian countries I felt like a rich millionaire. I am curious to see if this feeling of riches will be the same here.

Prices I plan to compare:


A gallon of milk:

Martini at a bar:

Movie ticket:

Studio apartment rent:

7. Am I going to like Jacksonville and would I recommend it for people in the future? 

As I type this question Linzy has informed me Jacksonville is nicknamed, The Redneck Riviera. Well, I love red things (like my hair) and I love Rivier’s…like the French Riviera that Linzy and I visited two years ago where we almost got stranded on an uninhabited island.  

The redneck riviera has some pretty large shoes to fill after that trip. So, let’s hope Jacksonville has some big feet.

8. What do people do for fun?

Most days in California are spent surfing, dancing on the beach and going to concerts…I’m not sure how accessible any of this is in Jacksonville so entertainment may require adaptation of new hobbies and activities.

Will we party in swamplands?  Will we watch alligators fight with the gator version of Mike Vick?  Will we swim with sharks on the coast? 

9. What will be our favorite Floridian Food?

I am probably the least, “foodie” person on the planet.  If I could take a pill and get sustenance all day long…i would prefer that over sitting down to eat.  

Regardless, food is a large cultural experience and contribution to a geographic identity.  We are ditching the acai bowls, avocado toast and California burritos for….???

10. Who will get killed first?

a. Kirsten (will Linzy stab her after one too many “out of it” statements)

b. Linzy (will her road rage land her in a car derby fight in the swamplands)

c. Woody (will an alligator eat him in one bite)

d. Willy (will his anxiety cause him to collapse)

e. Calypso (will she freeze to death on the drive across the country in a Uhaul)

If you have any answers or insights to guide our journey, please share!

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