In late 2002, I decided I was going to move to Montana. Someday. Maybe in five to ten years.
Previously, in the early- to mid-90s, I started thinking, ‘someday I’m going to move from California.’ The Golden State had been my home since 1981. But it didn’t feel like the place I wanted to be as I started the second half of my life.
Here are the three reasons I wanted to move from California:
- Too crowded. CA (i.e. The Bay Area) was one big massive suburbia. Seven million people live in the greater SF Bay Area. The freeways and roads are gridlock – especially during the three- to four-hour, morning and evening rush hours.
- Values and Politics. I was a fish out of water living in the Bay Area. Almost every candidate and voter referendum that I voted did not win. My conservative way of thinking was out of step with the majority. I wanted to live somewhere where people shared more similar values and beliefs about how society should be governed and operate.
- Changing career. My 15-year run with Bubba Gump Shrimp was beginning to wind down. I knew my next career move would be starting some type of new business. With that realization, I understood the potential to start my new business anywhere I wanted was possible.
During my heyday years of opening 22 USA location Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurants, I had the opportunity to visit some wonderful cities and various regions of the country. Florida. Southern California. New York City. Chicago. Denver. Charleston, SC. New Orleans. With each trip and visit, I’d ask myself, “Is this the type of place I’d like to live?” And since I spent the first 22 years of my life in suburban Philadelphia – and still have family from that region – rural Pennsylvania was another considered possibility.
I even had the opportunity to visit Hong Kong five times and get to know several expatriates – Did I want to live overseas?
To make a long story short, in 2002 I decided that I would move to Montana some day. Later that year, I purchased my first Montana property (which is where I live today) with the intention of moving there in the next five to ten years.
By the spring of 2006 – just 3-1/2 years later – I could no longer wait. I decided to make the move. I shifted my work status with Bubba Gump from full-time to part-time. I maintained an apartment in CA while making Montana my primary residence for the next two-plus years. I did the due diligence for my next career choice eventually deciding to become a professional speaker / conference host.
For the next several years, I had one foot in my old life and one foot in my new life. It wasn’t an ideal situation, but it felt like the best option at the time.
With 20/20 hindsight, here are the primary reasons I moved to Montana.
- A chance to make a dramatic shift as I was beginning the final productive third of my life.
- A fresh start. From a business perspective, I was launching a major new career. And – as it turns out – I was to begin the most prolific business phase of my entire career.
- The mountains. I’m inspired seeing the mountains on a daily basis. I do not get tired of looking at them every day.
- Small town and country living. I live in the countryside seven miles outside of the small town of Hamilton. This feels like home.
- World headquarters. When your business requires you work anywhere in the world, you can live wherever you want. My business takes me all over the US and beyond – and since we all have to live somewhere – living in the country-side, seeing the mountains, and being part of a small town is an ideal place to headquarter my worldwide business.
- Balancing extroversion and introversion. My job requires a lot of socializing, putting myself out there, being front and center, and being 100% engaged for intense periods of time. The good news is I’m good at it, I love doing it, and being intensely extroverted energizes me. But I need recovery time. Montana provides me with the space and place to recoup, recharge, and fulfill my need for regenerative introversion. Montana provides my balance.
In the course of one’s lifetime, we all make many decisions and choices. Some big. Some small. Some life-altering. Some inconsequential.
Moving to Montana was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life. The decision to move to Montana set in motion all the good (and challenging) things that have come my way the past ten-plus years. Would you care to visit? If yes, you’re welcome.
What big choice have you made that has altered the course of your career and life?
What big choice is still waiting to be made?
What are you waiting for?