Moving from California to Montana

Who’d a thunk it? Lifelong Californians moving out of the state - now there’s a shocker. I’m only being mildly sarcastic. As it turns out this journey started a long long time ago.

I first came to Montana as a young teenager and fell in love with the Madison Valley in Southwestern Montana and the little town of Ennis. That is a much longer story that I can dive into in an upcoming post but for now let’s stick to the here and now.

Amy and I decided a few years ago that California was getting too crowded, too exhausting, too expensive and quite frankly too mean spirited. So we put in motion a plan that if we could we would move leave our home state.

This plan actually hatched way back in 1993 when our first daughter was born. I was on sabbatical from Apple and we took a driving trip around the western US with the hope that we would find a great place to possibly move one day. We loved Denver, Seattle, Northern California and so many places along the way. As luck would have it before my sabbatical was over I got fired - laid off, downsized, rightsized, re-orged - whatever you want to call it - I was out of a job with a brand new baby and another one on the way. Oops, now I’m getting into the weeds. So here’s the shortcut and fast forward about 3 years. I was employed, started a new company, took our first round of venture funding and we decide to move from Los Angeles to Northern California for our family health and so our company could prosper with other like minded software companies. So with now with 2 daughters - Paige, 2 years and Lily 4 years, we moved to Orinda, bought a great house that we could barely afford and raised our two daughters.

Here are some milestone events that play into all of this.

October 2010 we have the very privileged opportunity to buy a home and some small acreage in the Madison Valley. There is a great back story here but not in this post.

2012 - Paige starts college at Montana State University

2014 - Lily graduates from California College of the Arts and moves to LA to work at Sony Pictures Animation as a character designer

2014 - I leave my job of 12.5 years as a corporate puke and decided to do something radically different rather than just being an employee wearing my body and brain down to a nub. Do I sound like I was burned out - yeah, maybe just a bit… I become a consultant and step into some pretty cool roles - very rewarding work actually.

2016 - Paige graduates from MSU and oh, yeah, she’s engaged to Drew Billings (Montana boy)

2017 - Paige and Drew are married at our LP Ranch (sounds big huh?, it’s not…)

All this while, Amy is thriving as the longest running Chair of the Fashion Program at CCA - 10 years marked with some amazing successes - then WHAMMO - her Dean gets all high and mighty and decides that changes are what managers do (she’s never managed anything before), so the Dean decides to shake up the world and not renew two highly successful Chairs for their next contract. This is a crazy story that will have to wait.

Interesting choices can now be made because the things that tied us to the Bay Area, namely work and the promise of a steady and lucrative income have kind of had a hold on our lives. Makes sense - its expensive to live. So some of the steady and some of the income have now changed…

We have family in California, our Mom’s live in California - mine in LA, and Amy’s in Oakland, Amy’s sister and her family live in the same town, we have great friends, we have a beautiful home (seriously nice digs), we are connected to our community, business opportunities are pretty plentiful, The Bay Area is a beautiful place to live - geez, what’s not to like. .

Why would we want to leave? Seriously, why?