The hours have disappeared like water through the desert sands of time, and we’re finally resurfacing for air. In fact, we’re in the air, bound for Bozeman, Montana, where our new home awaits.
The short version is that I’ve become the Marketing Manager for a Bozeman based non-profit called Adventure Scientists and Tyler now works remotely as a web developer for a software company. After all of continents we’ve crossed together, however, we owe you the long version, should you decide to utilize your phone’s scrolling feature.
Tyler and I sublet a room from a friend in San Francisco for the month of October to use as a base from which to job hunt. Tyler’s job hunt ended a week before we moved in thanks to some great connections and months of self-taught skills. Our move-in day was also his first day as a front end developer with a small company called Synapse that manages the online catalogues for big names like Bloomingdales. For weeks Tyler stared at images of plus size women until he realized that Omaha Steaks was also a client. Now he gets hungry every time he works.
In the city we stayed out late and resupplied on ethnic food. A Halloween interactive screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show performance capped off the month San Francisco style as Tyler was selected from the audience put on a bride’s dress and had to quickly avoid a lipper from a man dressed in drag.
Unfortunately the housing situation led to some friction as we hadn’t realized that we would get kicked out of the house for a couple hours a day at random intervals while my friend saw her meditation clients. On the other hand, it highlighted the importance of having our own place in the future.
The job hunt was demoralizing, as they tend to be. Many promising leads fizzled into unanswered or ambiguous emails as our deadline for where to go next loomed ever closer. Originally we had thought we’d give the Bay Area a go, but just a month in the city left me like a zombie from Walking Dead without the winning smile.
Mammoth Lakes became a strong contender, and we even had a place lined up, but eventually I accepted the Marketing Manager position with Adventure Scientists. As the name implies, this organization combines my two favorite worlds by recruiting and training volunteer adventurers around the globe to gather data for scientists studying pressing environmental issues. Oftentimes we partner with elite pro athletes and companies like Clif Bar and GoPro to collect otherwise hard-to-get data such as snow samples above 15,000 feet.
Accepting the position required a quick turnaround, and a week later my Mom and I were speeding across the country with my Honda Civic sagging under the weight of a ridiculous amount of outdoor gear and a minimal amount of clothes. Tyler stayed behind in California for an extra couple weeks of family time as we were planning to be back there shortly for Thanksgiving.
Meanwhile, back on the Montana prairie, we learned a valuable lesson: never sign a year lease sight unseen. When Mom and I arrived to our new abode the door practically fell off its hinge and dead bugs littered the stained carpet. We had been assured that the place had been “professionally cleaned” which roughly equated to the previous tenants leaving an unopened bottle of 409. But (and this is a big but in Bozeman), it has a two-car garage and is on the bike trail a mile from my office downtown. The landlords apologized profusely and agreed to replace the carpeting and linoleum, so we decided to stay.
Most people around town are strong and fit, sport a trimmed blonde beard, and wear sunglasses and a Patagonia hat even if it drops below 40 degrees. The 2:1 dog to person ratio somewhat makes up for the lack of diversity, but the sunsets really add color to the landscape. The aptly named Big Sky dances over the Bridger and Tobacco Root mountain ranges that encircle the town.
As we sprint towards frigid temperatures, we’re savoring memories of the sun on our skin while on the California Central Coast with Tyler’s extended Alves family and my Dad, Elyse, and their golden retriever puppy Chloe. The week of hugs, hikes and huge portions went by faster than the cyber Monday travel deals, but fortunately we’ve already got flights booked to visit again soon.
Both of us are looking forward to slowing down the pace and settling into a normal adult life in Bozeman. We have a guest bedroom and will probably even have furniture in it by the time you visit. Yellowstone is in our backyard and Bridger Bowl Ski Resort is close enough to get in some morning tracks before work.
Thank you to everyone who has been on the receiving end of a stressed out phone call these last few weeks, we are so lucky to have you in our lives.