Photo of a valley in Glacier National Park by Tony Reid

So, We’re Moving to Montana

Yeah, you read that right. As of next week, we’ll officially be living in Montana!

Four years ago, I made a series of bold decisions that were super out of character for me: I quit my job, sold my car, moved into a nicer apartment with my partner and became a bicycling commuter. Although these decisions were completely necessary, they felt totally overwhelming at the time. I don’t handle change well. Three years of therapy and medication to help my anxiety haven’t totally “fixed” that part of me — but they’ve certainly made it possible for me to accept that it’s okay to be both terrified of and excited about the future, especially when I’m about to turn my life upside-down.

In just a few days, we’ll pack up all of our belongings and jump into the front of a U-Haul with our two cats for a days-long road trip that will land us in our new abode. In spite of how nerve-wracking it is to make such a huge move, I’m mostly just excited. Montana is beautiful and I really can’t wait to explore, both in our new town and outside of it.

When I tell people where we’re headed, I get one of two reactions: an excited gasp and a proclamation of how much they love Montana, or a furrowed brow and a question of why we’d ever go there. There are practical reasons for making this big move, but also personal ones. If you’re hoping for a treatise detailing every element of why we’re heading west, then I’m sorry to say you won’t find it here. Unless you know me in real life, it’s unlikely I’ll share more than the bare minimum.

The point is, we’re moving. I’m excited. I’m nervous. And I’m really, really, really looking forward to being done with the moving process, even though my partner has handled the packing (in exchange for me handling the driving).

Aside from a few days I spent in the state last month, this will be a wholly new experience for both of us. I flew to Montana in April to go apartment-hunting and when I stepped out of the airport, I was instantly struck by just how similar it felt to being in my hometown.

There’s something about standing in a valley, surrounded by mountains, knowing it will snow soon that strikes a very specific chord. I grew up in the Sierra Mountains in California, so I’m no stranger to snow. When people ask where I’m from, I often make a quip about the Donner Party — which either elicits a laugh or a concerned expression. Sometimes both! The existence of the museum seems to worry people most, especially since we went on a field trip there when I was in elementary school.


It snows in Rhode Island, too. It certainly snowed in New Hampshire when I lived there. But snow in the Sierras is worlds away from snow in New England. It’s fluffier, for one. New England snow is wet. It’s heavy. In the decade since I left California, I’ve learned a lot about the destructive powers of ice. I’ve also realized that, despite my constant insistence that I wanted to grow up and live in the big city someday, I’m not really a city girl. I honestly miss the mountains.

So, I’m excited to be in a valley again. To see real, good snow again. Much like four years ago, this move is also preceded by a new job, which makes it feel a bit like déjà vu, only more intense thanks to the move being cross-country instead of cross-town. My partner is starting a new chapter and our cats are going to experience their first big move. It’s a lot of change, all at once, and for a woman who hates change… I certainly do like to dive right into it, don’t I?

Here’s what I’m most looking forward to about moving to Montana:

  • Hiking, camping, and checking out some of the national parks!
  • Mountain water, which is hands down the best water for drinking.
  • Getting the heck out of the city.
  • Getting to spend time with current friends and (hopefully) meet new ones.
  • Our apartment’s perfect location — finding fave local spots and forming new routines will be a breeze.

2019 has led to some really significant changes so far and this move might be the most significant yet. If you’re the type to send good vibes or pray or what have you, we’d appreciate anything you want to send our way. This is going to be a very, very big adventure. Wish us luck!


  • Hi, I moved here to Montana 2 yrs ago this month. Have had it on my heart since I was 17. I’m now 65. My dog ” Biddy ” and I truly love it and are grateful for the place we landed. Best wishes to you and may God Bless… Paula

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