Montana is the best but no one there wants you to know it

A bit of culture shock is expected when you leave your own country, right? Like, oh, I’m going to Paris and everyone is going to smoke everywhere all the time and I don’t have to tip anywhere and I’m going to get dirty looks for even trying to speak French…TRES BIEN. I get it. This is not America and the servings here are not large and I’m ok with that (no I’m not). But, hey, life’s great and I’m eating my weight in croissants on quaint little streets named Rue Saint Dominique and such. Ya know?

But what about culture shock IN America? AS AN AMERICAN?!

I present to you, Montana.

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M

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Glacier National Park

I’ve been to the South. I’ve been to Utah. I’ve been to Texas. I’ve been here and there.

But…

MONTANA.

GUYS.

I loved it. I smiled the entire time I was there minus when the power went out in my Airbnb just as it started to snow and I was all alone but ANYWAY.

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Mission Mountain Range

LOOK HOW PRETTY EVERYTHING IS.

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Lake McDonald

Montana’s the kind of place where folks are friendly for no good reason and it’s weird because NY is, like, well…not like that. I mean, NY is my home and I adore it and I too hate when tourists stop in the middle of sidewalks and/or walk on the WRONG side (people, sidewalks are like ROADS…there is a right way and a wrong way to walk) and people who think Times Square and 5th Ave. are New York City, like, hello no bye.

New Yorkers are blunt, brash, bonkers, and bankrupt because the rent is too damn high.

We run on Dunkin’ and Montana runs on these adorable little coffee shacks that I quickly became obsessed with but oh so embarrassed to drive through in my dumb Cadillac (quick story time: I rented a car and they gave me a Caddy which most would love but I was like UGH and it didn’t have a CD player and I was SO mad because I brought my Man of the Woods CD because duh and I missed my little 2000 Toyota Camry and I felt like I was driving a spaceship and it had Cali license plates to make things worse and it was just so not Montana or me but ANYWAY).

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Cowgirl Coffee where they claim to have “the best hot chocolate ever” so naturally I got it and it was not the best. City Bakery in NYC is still THE BEST but whatever it was chocolate and it was hot so it was nice.
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Not my Caddy but the car I wish I had been driving bc I BET that puppy has a CD player.

Things I did in Montana:

  • Went camping for the first time.
  • Saw the Milky Way with my own four eyes.
  • Saw a half-full milk jug on the side of the road.
  • Saw a few bison!
  • Went to Wyoming.
  • Drank huckleberry wine.
  • Wait, Wyoming is NOT in Montana. Whoopsie daisy.
  • Changed my mind about dinosaurs existing. I blame Zack.
  • Hiked a mountain by myself and thought I saw a bear but it was really a large deer.
  • Pulled over several times to let other cars pass me because I was driving grandma miles per hour to really take in my surroundings. SO MUCH BEAUTIFULNESS.
  • Said “Wow, everyone here is SO nice!” approximately 2,945 times.
  • Said “Wow, everything here is SO gorgeous!” approximately 2,946 times.
  • Couchsurfed for the first time and met the coolest family and fellow couchsurfer.
  • Fell in some mud in a field after dancing to JT on the side of the road. I blame Zack.
  • Turned bright red when my tour group and guide sang ‘happy birthday’ to me on a red bus tour in Glacier National Park the day after my actual birthday only to find out that there was another lady and it was her ACTUAL birthday and then the tour guide was like ‘sorry, we’re not singing again’ and I was like omg I just stole her thunder WHOOPS.
  • Saw Old Faithful erupt! That might’ve technically been in Wyoming but– oh, look! A bison!

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I’ve been to quite a few places. And I always ask myself, “Hmmm, could I see myself living here?” whenever I travel somewhere new. I compare everything to NY. But we all know NY is incomparable. It’s electric, magnetic, rat-infested, and smells like pee most of the time.

But it’s wonderful.

And it’s safe and cozy and I know where all my favorite things are because the grid system is INCREDIBLE but hot damn huckleberry pancakes!

Montana sure felt like home.

Like your favorite worn-out book with all the soft, wrinkly dog-eared pages that you keep going back to, re-reading it over and over because it’s just so damn GOOD and you find new details and bits of gold and coffee-stained spots (whoops) each time you read it and it never ever gets old.

THAT’S MONTANA.

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But the locals don’t want you to know it! They want to preserve the great treasure state– and I don’t blame them.

Here’s the thing. If you go to a place like Missoula or Bozeman, you can’t expect it to be like LA or NY or wherever, right? You have to EMBRACE the simple life. I mean, it’s not all dirt roads and log cabins and fishin’ and all that– in fact, I saw the prettiest Walmart while in Montana. And by “prettiest” I mean it was literally a regular Walmart SURROUNDED by gorgeous mountains and it was unreal and it almost made me want to shop there but I didn’t.

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Ok, so where did I go, exactly?

  • Kalispell
  • Whitefish
  • Missoula
  • Helena
  • Bozeman
  • Big Sky
  • Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park, Flathead Lake, into the woods, down some streets, here and there, you get it.

Right after Montana, I flew to LA for a weekend to visit some friends and, let me tell YOU, flying from the tiny little airport in Bozeman (complete with dinosaur fossils) to LAX (complete with yoga rooms) was culture SHOCKKKCKCKKCKCK. I was like, wait, what IS Starbucks and where are my little Cowgirl Coffees at and why is everyone wearing full make-up and talking about acting and avocados?

I found myself missing Montana as soon as I left. 😭

From the sweeping landscapes and the abundance of mom and pop shops to the suspiciously friendly residents and the unpredictable weather, I am HOMESICK for this state.

So, au revoir New York! I’m excited to call Montana my actual home beary soon.

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Spread kindness and cheer, xo
Jackie

Monday Sunshine

Monday Sunshine

Ahh, Mondays. Back to the big city and work life…wishing I was still up in Lake George.

Womp wompppp…but…

…this Monday is a bit brighter now that I’ve found out I was nominated by the lovely Mae for the Sunshine Blogger Award! 

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an award given to bloggers by bloggers. It is given to bloggers who are positive and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere.

It’s great to see that folks view my blog as positive and inspiring as that’s what I aim to achieve in each post. I want my blog to serve as a happy spot on the internet where y’all can have a laugh, learn something new and hopefully find yourself inspired in some small way through my words and photos. 

Apparently there are some rules for accepting this award…bear with me…

  • Thank the person who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the eleven questions sent by the person who nominated you.
  • Nominate eleven blogs to receive the award and write them eleven new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or your blog.

Here are the 11 questions Mae gave me, and my answers!

  • What is travel for you? Travel is everything! A way to satisfy my curiosities and embark on new adventures. Meeting new people, trying new things, experiencing and seeing everything I absolutely can during my time on this crazy planet.
  • What keeps you motivated? My sense of curiosity, along with seeing what other folks are doing. I love searching the ‘travel’ tag on WordPress just to find ordinary people going on extraordinary adventures. It’s both motivating and inspiring. 
  • Who are the people that inspires you to write? I can’t say that any one person in particular inspires me to write. I think it just comes from within…I’ve always found writing to be the best way to express my thoughts.
  • How will you achieve great results in writing your blog? Through being honest, with not only myself but my readers as well. This blog can’t be great if I’m not being true to myself.
  • What is favorite color? This color! (Grass green).
  • How old were you when you started writing? Good question! I’m not sure haha…forever?
  • What is your favorite place in the world? Oh! I just posted about this — the perfect, small town of Lake George, NY.
  • Which would you choose? New York or Bali? Interesting question…for vacation, definitely Bali since I’m from NY. 
  • Will you go trekking or go to the beach? I’ve always preferred mountains and lakes to sand and oceans, so I’d have to say trekking. 
  • What is the one thing you can’t travel without? My journal! 
  • What are the challenges that you have faced in writing an article? The biggest challenge I faced was in writing this article, To My Fellow Late Bloomers. It was a very personal piece and I wasn’t sure I wanted to put it out there, but I received wonderful feedback and am glad I published it. 

Soo…now I have to nominate 11 folks! Here are my picks:

Neidotta’s blog Go Travel Global. 

Caitlyn’s blog Cessna Chick.

Heather’s blog New York Roots to Southern Boots. 

Alexa’s blog Alexa-Writes.

Claudia’s blog WonderLook.

Crystal’s blog East Coast Mermaid.

Cheryl’s blog What Cheryl Said.

Emily’s blog College With Coffee.

Daniel’s blog Adventure Born.

Analise’s blog Cupcakes & Sequins.

Morgan’s blog Boho En Route.

And here are my 11 questions for y’all:

Who inspires you? Favorite destination you’ve traveled to? What is your dream vacation? What does happiness mean to you? Favorite food? Favorite book? What do you wish you were doing right now? Would you fly to the moon if given the chance? Do you prefer the beach or mountain life? What was your high school mascot? How would you describe your personality in one word?

Looking forward to your answers!


Thanks for reading, y’all! Hope you have a great start to the week!

Spread kindness and cheer, xo

Jackie