From the City to the Mountains
There's an undeniable hustle to city life. Everything in a city becomes entertainment; the speed at which everything moves guarantees it.
Like watching television, city living means constantly being bombarded by information. Buildings display the information that people in other buildings decide will convince them to buy their products, even as those people have been convinced by someone else that putting ads up on a building is still the right way to earn clients.
Even cities filled with greenery, like Portland, maintain strong energy. It's not an energy that everyone can handle. But it's hard to identify that when you've been in one your whole life. Whatever feelings you might realize you don't miss upon leaving it are feelings that you can only identify after you've done so.
"Why Montana?” Friends and family would ask before I'd even moved there as if testing my ability to make up an answer on the spot. As if everyone has a good reason for doing everything they do before they do it. As if everyone isn't just looking for ways to justify the decisions they've made after they've made them. I'm not even sure how I answered them then, but I know how I answer them now.
Montana gets into your bones. It made me appreciate and even crave a slower life, high up in the mountains. It helped me recognize the feelings I didn't even know resulted from growing up in a city as fleeting. We are not entirely where we grow up any more than we are how we grew up. Those things shape us; they do not define us.
If you've never visited Big Sky country, I encourage it. There is nothing more appealing than escaping yourself in the mountains, especially if you've grown up in a city.
I've lived in Portland all my life. I grew up there with my family, and honestly never considered leaving. There was enough to do. The people were fine. There were hikes and concerts and coffee shops.
But there was also the understanding that the life I built there wasn't entirely mine. Something wasn’t right, but of course, I didn't question it. I was a kid. Portland felt like where I was “supposed to be,” because when you're a kid, 99% of the time, where you are is where you're supposed to be.
Maybe at the time, sure. Portland raised me. But Montana feels like home. I am where I'm supposed to be: Big Sky Country. The opportunities are limitless. Whether you ski, fish, snowboard, hike, or consider yourself an “outdoor enthusiast,” Montana allows you to experience it all. There are no boundaries. Your canvas is blank.
Yeah, winters are cold. Some may despise it. They don't have to live here, but they're welcome any time. They'll see why I, along with most residents of the state, love it. Or they won't, and they'll leave. But I promise, after visiting this state one time, the beauty of the mountains surrounding you and the endless opportunities may make one second guess themselves when the thought of leaving enters their mind.
Something about living in this town, though, is unique. And I don't think it's enough to say it's the first place I've lived that I didn't grow up in; I can't guarantee it, but I don't think I'd feel like this in a $3,700/month flat in San Francisco.
Portland is where I grew up. I will always appreciate it. But for now, Montana is home. And I don’t plan on making a change to that any time soon.
Grace Ware, Marketing Intern Engel & Völkers