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We Need to Talk About Montana

Hill's are Moving to Montana

Last summer, my family and I traveled for two months in our travel trailer. Our goal was to live full time in our RV for as much of the summer as possible.

We traveled from California into Nevada, through Idaho, up into Montana, over into Washington, and then back home to Central California. Just over three weeks of our trip we spent in Montana, and while we were there, we fell in love.

I had been researching Montana for about a year leading up to our trip. Moving there was a frequent topic of conversation between a few of my friends and me. Though none of us had much or any experience with Montana, the idea of it kept sounding better the more we talked about it.
Before this trip, I had never spent much more than two weeks away from my hometown of Modesto, CA. I would vacation for a few weeks from time to time but never long enough to get used to somewhere else. This trip helped me realize what I had been feeling for a long time.

Weirdly, Modesto was comfortable. It was all I knew. It didn’t have much to offer, but what it did offer, I had figured out. Modesto is a few hours from the ocean and the mountains. The weather is decent most of the year, and it has most of the stores one would need for a convenient existence. That had not been enough for me for quite some time. I wanted to explore, and I wanted some space.

I grew up spending a lot of time at my grandparents’ house outside of Escalon, CA. They had a ranch out in the country surrounded by orchards. My brothers and I spent our days roaming the property most of the time on our own. It was nice having that freedom as a child; the freedom we can’t offer our children living in Modesto.

My wife and I have had the goal of being able to offer that kind of space and freedom to our children since we were first married. Our oldest is almost 10-years-old now. We have yet to be able to offer that while living in or near Modesto.

The cost of owning property in California has remained out of our reach. Being self-employed, I have not wanted to restructure my company to qualify for a bigger loan. Operating a small business in California continues to get harder and harder as well. As I got older, the idea of owning property in California has become less desirable.

Everybody will agree that Montana is beautiful. Montana is known for its beautiful lakes and mountains. It’s home to Glacier National Park, and Yellowstone is just south a few hours.

While in Montana, I worked from local coffee shops, we shopped at local grocery stores and played at local parks. We explored the area and went on a lot of hikes. We even found a church we liked and attended their weekend gatherings a few times. The more time we spent there, the less I looked forward to returning home.

After returning to Modesto, all I could think about was Montana. My kids loved it and asked when we could go back. That was when we started discussing what it would look like to move to Montana.

My work is mostly virtual, so that I can work from any location with a good internet connection. The summer trip was a test of that. I originally got into digital marketing so I could have the freedom to travel. I didn’t like the idea of being landlocked in my business. I contacted my clients, and so far, the news has been received well.

With all of that said, the idea of relocation had never been more possible, so we started looking into it. We decided not to make any quick decisions but to spend the 2019/2020 school year looking into it and making plans.
We now have a hard date set to head to Kalispell, Montana, end of next month. We made the decision earlier this year that Montana was going to happen, but figured we would make a move sometime during the summer. With the Covid-19 isolation and school being virtual, we decided to move a bit earlier.

I don’t want to own property in California anymore. We have a lot of good friends we will be putting 20 hours between, but we have to choose space over-familiarity. My entire marriage, my wife and I have discussed moving. Now is the time, or we will have to wait until our kids have graduated high school.

We found a home to rent for the time being, and have signed a lease on it. We will likely have to self-isolate for 14-days once we get there, but we have been isolated in Modesto for over a month now, so we are quite used to it.

I want my kids to be able to play outside and have friends who’s parents are ok with that as well. In Montana, I can afford to own property so we can spread out a bit among the lakes and mountains. Moving is not going to fix everything; Montana is not perfect. There will always be problems and frustrations to endure. It’s time for a change.

We will miss our friends and family in Modesto, but we will have space for visitors in Montana. I look forward to this new chapter and am thankful for technology that will allow us to stay connected from a greater distance.

Blog Personal Development

The Moving Blues


Late last year I found out that I most likely would be forced out of the building I was leasing for my business. Not that I was being strong-armed or anything, but the rate increase combined with the required terms would have been a little bit more than I wanted to take on. I like where I was because I had a lot of space and a shop for my trailer and racecars. It worked out really well when I had a lot of employees but my staff is less than it used to be and I am the only one working from the office now. I decided that now is the perfect time to lower my overhead.

I have never been a big fan of moving. It’s a lot of work to move, especially if you’ve been there for a while. I wanted to take this opportunity to go through everything that I have accumulated over the years for different jobs and clear out some things. This meant that the job of packing up and moving would most likely be a job I will do alone. Going through everything meticulously meant revisiting a lot of memories. There were a lot of items that I purchased for specific jobs, mainly photography or video production related. I have been lucky enough to get to do a lot of fun things for work that I enjoy.

As I went through everything I decided that I needed to downsize. There’re a lot of things that I may potentially need again but without knowing that for sure, I can’t just keep things assuming that I might need them again one day. My grandfather has a large shop and saves just about everything. He’s not a hoarder or anything like that, but he does hang onto a lot of things assuming that he may need them again one day. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that because there have been times where I’ve gotten rid of something only to realize that I should’ve kept it. The problem with hanging on to everything is that you end up spending more money to store it than you would to just buy it again later on when you again have a need for it. This move is forcing me to make a lot of decisions on whether or not to keep things.

The sad thing about getting rid of your stuff is that you have memories attached to them. I have worked for myself since my early 20s and have accumulated a lot of things over the years for a variety of different tasks. I’m not talking about a stapler that I’m emotionally attached to, I’m talking about photography gear, computer parts, and other technology that I just generally enjoy regardless of its use in my work life.

In my mid-20s, I closed down a business that I had built for the previous five years. I was completely changing industries and almost none of what I had would be useful as I transitioned what I was doing for a living. I remember being sad at that time because I had spent a lot of time building this business only to shut it down. There were a lot of memories tied to equipment I had and even some of the leftover product I had to get rid of. I also wanted to do things better this time around, which meant getting rid of stuff I had that was not up to the level I wanted to be at myself.

When I make a decision I don’t often dwell on the past. I want to move on and focus on what’s in front of me, not what’s behind me. I also want to improve, and you can’t improve if you bring everything with you.

Storage Rack

As I was packing up everything, I was deciding what to keep and what to sell. I found myself just wanting to get rid of some of it fast. There were some more valuable things that I listed on eBay, but the smaller things I wanted to just throw away. I just wanted to get that out of my mind so I can move forward. Even as I write this I have three large boxes of stuff and some furniture that I need to get rid of. I don’t even like the idea of having to deal with it. I am mostly moved into my new office location and everything I plan to get rid of is sitting in a corner at the old office waiting for me to do something with it.

About five years ago I had decided to open a co-working space. I had the business completely set up and ready to open, but I decided not to go through with it. I had all of this furniture just sitting there. I knew that I could list all of this brand-new furniture on craigslist and sell it off piece by piece, but the idea of having to deal with that required more mental energy than I wanted to give it. So I donated all of it to a new startup church.

As I’ve grown further into my adult years I have become more aware of the way I deal with things. I also recognize that I need to optimize my time and spending it dwelling on the past, or dealing with the things of the past, often cause me more stress than just letting it all go. Now obviously this is not a healthy thing to practice in all facets of life, but when it comes time to move on, I have no problem doing so.

I guess the reason that I’m writing this is just to publicly declare that I get sad and emotional about things sometimes that may or may not make sense to others. Early on in this move, I wanted to put a sign on the front door that says “Free” like my Business was some old couch I was trying to giveaway on the side of the road. Sometimes it’s just easier to start fresh then it is to move everything. I always want to improve, so maybe that has something to do with it, or maybe not. My new office is a lot smaller than the office before, but it’s going to add to my bottom line, which is having more freedom. Lower overhead means less worry about ongoing monthly costs. My new office is even closer to home and today, I longboarded home for lunch.

I’m looking forward to the next chapter at my new location. I still have a lot of work to do to be setup here, but I enjoy that part.

How do you feel about moving? Do you pack up every last little item you own, or get rid of a lot and start new? Let me know in the comments below.

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