Garry and Christine Welsh were having lunch along the River Wensum in their hometown of Norwich, England, when the sea of their indecision parted.
They watched as a boat moved slowly past and were struck by the name emblazoned on the stern Orlando.
I pride myself on being a very decisive individual, said Garry, 49. But when it came to moving to the States we kept wondering, when's the right time? So that sort of said to us maybe that's a sign.
In some ways, the groundwork for the change had already been laid. The Welshes and their four children had been vacationing in Orlando for years. Along the way they bought a vacation home near Kissimmee. But moving here permanently was far different from visiting.
Garry was a successful executive at Barclays, a global bank. He had just been offered a big promotion opportunity. Christine, now 53, had gone back to school and was nearing completion of a business degree.
So why do it? They had no family here, very few friends and no job. Three of their adult children were choosing to stay in England. Only their youngest son, Christopher, then 16, would be coming with them.
They simply wanted to test themselves, leap into a new environment and push their boundaries.
We loved our experiences in the U.S., and I thought there was more in me to offer businesswise, said Garry, then 42. At the time I looked at my resume, and it said to me that I'd been successful in the UK. But I needed to know if we could succeed in another country. More specifically in the U.S.
Not every decision we make has to be as monumental as moving to another country. Taking up a relaxing hobby, patching up a relationship with a loved one or deciding to get out of a dead-end job can be just as rewarding. The goal is to move out of your comfort zone, to find new and interesting ways to challenge yourself.
Setting and achieving new objectives, finding personal satisfaction, is one way to live healthier, happier and longer.
Through a series of blogs, I will share more about Garry and Christine and what they have done with their lives since arriving here with their green card in 2006.
The Windermere couple have faced challenges. Christine was diagnosed with lung cancer last year, and Garry has devoted himself to raising money for lung cancer research. He is training for his first Ironman triathlon, which he hopes will raise more than $140,000 for the AdventHealth Cancer Institute.
Looking back at that day on July 2, 2006, when the Welshes and their dog Sabre, who cost more to fly over here than the three of us, left England, Christine has no misgivings:
I think we always felt that if we didn't try it we would live to regret it.
What are you doing to push yourself outside your comfort zone?