Two days of driving down, and generally speaking, it has gone pretty well so far. First day was rainy until I got to Montana (fitting, since that's how Washington greeted us two years ago), and Big Sky Country was just beautiful. Hotel wasn't great in Billings, but tonight's in Sioux Falls is lovely and very comfortable. Cats are mostly OK, though I'm scratched up from the morning pilling efforts. The 75 mph speed limits ding the fuel economy, averaging around 46 mpg, but it makes a huge difference in overall time. It was not particularly useful through the mountains.
Needless to say, you do a lot of thinking when you have ten to twelve hours to yourself, with minimal human contact. It's mentally exhausting. Plus, I'm missing Diana and Simon like crazy. The enormity of what we're doing is settling in, and it scares me a bit. The part about missing what we're leaving is starting to take a back seat to what our future looks like.
On the surface, one might suggest that this move is a safe and easy move. From a social standpoint, that's probably true. However, social risk hasn't really been on the radar for me since adulthood. This move includes a lot of professional risk, and shifts financial risk.
The professional risk has more to do with Cleveland not being Seattle than anything else. There's just SO much work available in Seattle, and Cleveland is harder to peg in the long term. I found a job so fast that I feel like it looks good, but even then, I have to take it on faith that everything is as it seems in terms of company culture and what not. I have no reason to think otherwise, but you just never know. I'll likely be more at ease after a week or two.
Financial risk has largely been shifted. My overall housing expense is more than cut in half, with the expected pay cut for the regional adjustment keeping me slightly ahead on a cash flow basis. More importantly, I don't have to blow cash on a negative equity sale. The risk here essentially doesn't change in real terms, but considering I left Cleveland with almost $30k in credit card debt and two unsold houses, I view the world in far more conservative financial terms than I used to. I realize that financial freedom ins't about being rich, it's about having as little expense as possible.
What am I really scared of? Change, of course. It's hard for me to admit it after the massive volume of change that all came in the span of a year starting April, 2009. I'd like to think I came through that fairly well, and the volume of learning that came out of it matched the enormity of the change.
This change comes more on my own terms, and the more we talk, the more we sketch out future changes. I think control, or the illusion of control, over change is what makes it easier. It's kind of exciting to think about. I'd like to think that I've dealt with so much crap and stuff not going my way, that I can deal with anything, but living without that fear would be arrogant and stupid.