- Amy Morin is a psychotherapist, licensed clinical social worker, mental strength coach, and international bestselling author.
- In 2016, she and her husband moved from Maine to Florida to live in a sailboat off the Florida Keys; she says it’s the best decision they have ever made.
- Besides saving money on state income tax, Morin says living in Florida has allowed her to exercise more, enjoy the outdoors year-round, and spend more quality time with friends and family.
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In 2016 I was living in Maine, and one day in February the snow outside was up to the windows. I remember thinking how nice it would be to live in a warm climate “someday.”
I was working part-time as a therapist and writing was my side hustle. I had one book on the market and was hoping to write another one “someday.”
In that moment, it clicked with me. If I’d learned anything from my journey (losing my mum, my first husband and my father-in-law), it was that “someday” wasn’t promised. We should just take the leap and make the move while we still could.
I quit my job as a therapist and committed to making my writing side hustle a career. And we started making plans for the move.
Within a few months, my husband and I packed up the Fiat with our dog, our cat, a laptop, some clothes, and drove south. The plan was to move onto a sailboat in the Florida Keys.
I had no idea whether I’d like living on a sailboat so we agreed to try it for six months before making a permanent decision. It’s been five years now and we haven’t looked back. Moving to Florida to work from home was the best decision ever.
Being my own boss set me free
I spent the vast majority of my adult life working for a boss. As a therapist, I had little control over my workday. I worked in a sterile looking office owned by someone else. A receptionist filled my schedule. And I had to ask for permission to decorate my office.
Don’t get me wrong. Working for a company had plenty of amazing benefits â€” including a steady paycheck. But the policies were stifling at times.
Making the leap from full-time therapist to full-time author (yes, it’s possible to make a good living as a writer in today’s world), set me free. I choose where, when, and how I work.
I no longer pay state taxes
Before moving to Florida, I’d always paid state income taxes. Of course, a huge benefit of becoming a Floridian means I no longer have to file state income tax.
Keeping more of my hard-earned money feels amazing. When I look at how much I’ve saved over the years, I realise what a great financial move it was to come to Florida.
The weather gave me more ‘life’ back
Maine is cold and dark for over half the year. While I tried to embrace the winter months by skiing, snowmobiling, and even doing a little ice skating, those winter sports aren’t always an option.
The last few years I lived there it was cold but there wasn’t much snow, which made it enjoy winter activities. In December, it gets dark by 4:30 p.m. and it’s tough to feel energised without much sunlight.
Moving to the Florida Keys allows me to spend a lot more time outdoors year-round. Literally living on the water means I can step outside and look at manatees and the occasional dolphin any time of year.
The days are also longer, which means I spend more time in nature. I get more exercise and I feel healthier. Rather than waiting for winter to pass, I’m able to enjoy the weather all year long.
I get more quality time with my loved ones
Although I live far away from my closest friends and family members now, I actually get to spend more quality time with them.
My sister and my nieces come to visit every year (well, pre-pandemic anyway). They vacation here for about 10 days and we do fun things together, like swim in the ocean, play games, and try out new restaurants.
When we lived in Maine, we never took a big chunk of time like that to just hang out together. We’re creating way more memories this way as compared to the regular two-hour visits we had when we lived closer. I’m able to do the same things when my friends visit me for a week at a time.
Of course, life in Florida isn’t perfect. I miss seeing my friends and family more often and life on a sailboat poses a few challenges (like the day an octopus clogged my air-conditioning filter). But I still feel like moving to Florida to work from home was one of the best decisions I ever made.