Not much really.
Okay, that’s a total lie.
Well, the short version is… we sold our house in Pennsylvania, threw all our stuff in a uHaul, and drove 2200 miles to start a new life in Montana.
Here’s the long version!
Sandy and I had already made the decision to move, as we both agreed that the townhome was just too small. Our kids are growing like crazy and the townhome was just feeling smaller and smaller by the day. Of course, the loud ethnic music of all flavors from our neighbors had somewhat of an impact on our decision too 🙂
So we had conducted a pretty detailed housing search of the areas North and West of Harrisburg, PA. In June of 2017, we pulled the trigger and contacted a VA Mortgage specialist to start the process of pre-approval.
Well, wouldn’t ya know it, God had other plans for us.
Midway through that same month, a technical recruiter (aka, head hunter) came out of the blue and contacted me regarding an interesting opportunity with a rapidly growing startup. We chatted and I soon found out that while the headquarters of this company was in San Francisco, the main code development shack was in Helena, Montana.
So I figured, what the heck, why not. I’m super happy with my job as PHEAA, but it’s nice to have options. Well the online test came on a Tuesday. I thought for certain I had failed it, because it kept erasing my answers, and the questions were largely way outside my area of expertise.
But lo and behold, the headhunter called me the next day to schedule the online ‘face to face’ interviews that happened later that day. Apparently that went well because there was an official offer in my email by noon on Thursday.
And oh man, what an offer. It was so far above and beyond what PHEAA was giving our family that I’d have been a total moron to have said no. Sandy and I talked and by the end of that Friday, we had accepted the offer from the company, Social Finance (SoFi).
The next few weeks were crazy. Getting the house cleaned up, purged and painted. Aligning all the hotels and the uHaul. Kids saying their goodbyes to their neighbors. Me shaking the hands of my PHEAA coworkers that, not three weeks ago, I had thought I’d be retiring with. And then, before you know it, we’re on the road… leaving Lancaster, PA for the last time.
We had lived there a full decade. That’s a record for both myself and Sandy. We had never lived in one place that long during our entire marriage! It was the house we brought little baby Rebekah home from the hospital to. It was the home the kids remembered the most. Matt, in fact, has no memory of any other home.
Tough on the kids, and tough on Sandy and I. And our mothers, who we were both leaving behind.
Thankfully, both Mary and Jeanne have a desire to follow us West, and so we see ourselves as a bit of Pioneers, only of a modern sort. Sandy and I set off west with the intention of finding a homestead large enough for our growing family and both our moms.
The basic plan was to drive enough each day that we could make good progress, but not so much that we couldn’t enjoy our stops along the way. We were doing a near ‘coast to coast’ trip, something the kids (nor I) have ever really done, and we wanted to have a bit of fun along the way.
First stop was just outside of Toledo.
Day 2 landed us in Mauston, WI.
Rolled in to east Fargo, ND at the end of Day 3.
Day 4 was the loooooooong day. Trucked all the way across North Dakota (Which wasn’t as flat as I had imagined…) and half of Montana to pull into Billings, MT.
(No pictures of where we stayed, “The Kelly Inn – Billings” because it was terribly bad…. terribad. I can’t recommend staying there to anyone!)
Day 5 was the easy day. A short 3 hour drive from Billings into Helena and we’re here!!
Now that we are safely here in Helena, and loving the clean air, quiet town and nice people, it’s time to get about filling this out: