Our Montana Dream Begins…

Several years ago, I took Heidi on a fly fishing trip to Missoula, MT.  I’ve always loved fly fishing and ever since I read Norman Maclean’s classic novella, A River Runs Through It, I have wanted to go to Missoula and fish the great trout rivers there.  But, oddly enough, it was Heidi that fell head over heels in love with Montana.  Impressed by the beautiful pine forests, the confluence of three beautiful rivers and the small town feel, she fell hard for their charms.  We returned the following year only to confirm our initial perceptions.

We began dreaming about one day moving there.  But, I knew that without a job in Montana or financial freedom, you just don’t up and move there.  Three years ago, my job situation changed and we are now in a position to realize the dream.

It was Heidi that pushed for the change.  I was reluctant at first, preferring to take it slow to get finances more in order.  But, in March of this year we decided to take the kids and go to Montana over spring break to look at properties.  Once again, Montana impressed and I began to really consider it and to seriously start looking at properties.  I spent hours in the evenings after work looking at properties online.  Then, a couple of weeks ago, Heidi and I went back to seriously consider some properties.  The goal was to see what was there and if we found something to pull the trigger, and if not we would wait until next spring.  We had a carefully laid out plan to really consider a broad range of options.

We found our dream on the very first property we visited.  So much for carefully laid out plans.

So, just like that, in the space of two weeks, we have agreed to a price on the Montana land and have our house in Utah up for sale.  Funny what a difference a couple of weeks can make.

Now we are facing complete uncertainty about where we will live for the next however long it takes to build a house.  We’ve even considered buying a travel trailer and living on the property through the winter.  Who knows?  It is an adventure waiting to happen.

When we moved back to Utah 11 years ago, I swore that we would never move again.  We had moved eight times over the course of nine years.  But, over the past 6 months I have felt strongly that a change is needed.  I don’t know the reason, but I am confident it is the right thing for our family.

So, why Montana?  Everybody asks me that.  I have a few reasons and I’m sure Heidi has hers.  First of all, I’ve just had it with he unchecked growth in Utah County and Utah in general and the free-for-all building of the little city we’ve called home these past 11 years.  It is out of control.  Montana is one of the last frontiers of the west and I like the rural feel.  It has not yet succumbed to the building frenzy that has plagued other parts of the west like Las Vegas and Phoenix.  There is a wildness about the state.  It has a frontier feel to it and I like the good, decent, hard-working, down-to-earth people there.  My travels allow me to have a taste of the big city, but retreat to the calm of the country so Montana seems like a good fit.  It doesn’t hurt that western Montana is so beautiful and the outdoor possibilities are endless.  Being so close to nature is really appealing to me and to be able to commune with God through his creations on a daily basis calls to me!

I love my Mormon faith, but I’ve had enough of the bubble.   Utah is just a hard place to be Mormon and have some individuality.  I look forward to enjoying the tenets of my faith without the inevitable bubble mentality that exists when everyone on your street shares the same faith.  I’m looking forward to some diversity of thought and people.

I am excited for my children because they can actually attend a school where they will get some individualized attention.  Madison’s High School graduating class would have around 1,200 kids if she were to stay in Utah.  That’s insane!  I want her to have opportunities to play sports, to participate in drama and dance without having to compete with a thousand other kids.  Student to teacher ratios are 9:1 in Montana compared to the 30:1 in Utah.  Madison will probably have around 110 kids in her high school class.  That’s a better number!

The hard part will be leaving family and friends.  This is by far the biggest negative with moving.  When you have stayed in a place for 11 years, you forge some amazing friendships.  I love our little neighborhood and will greatly miss the fabulous people there.  For this reason, I am happy for the social networks of the modern age that allows us to stay close to people that have touched our lives. And our Montana door will always be open to our friends and family!  Just visit at your own risk – Montana has a way of stealing your heart.

Both my mother and mother-in-law are not happy with us.  My mom has all her kids in one general area and now I’m ruining that.  But, my circumstances will allow us to visit often, so I’m not too worried about this.  That’s the good thing about mothers – that they love you anyway.

So, keep checking back.  I’ll keep you posted on our progress.