For some background, I used to live and work in downtown Chicago. At that time, Montana was a state that I knew existed and I kind of knew where it was, but I had never even thought about what might be there. It could be another country as far as I was concerned.
I remember telling my coworkers I was moving to Montana and their first response was “is there even internet there?” Of course, they were joking and they continue to joke about how I have to ride my horse down the mountain I live on to get to the nearest store. In reality, I live about 5 minutes from downtown Bozeman, but I’d probably think the same thing if I wasn’t here!
So, I thought it would be fun to poll my coworkers, my Instagram followers, my friends, my family, and anyone else I come in contact with to see what the most common myths or assumptions about Montana are…and then give you the real scoop.
Myth #1: Internet sucks in Montana
This definitely can be true, but it highly depends on where you are in the state. Since I work from home, I literally have no choice but to have great internet and here in Bozeman, the internet is just fine! Now, when you start to drive into the mountains, national parks, or national forests, that’s when you’ll likely start to lose cell service and internet usage. I think that’s part of the experience, though. Being part of nature and not having access to anything or anyone else aside from what’s around you.
If you’re visiting and need navigation on your phone, just download the area’s map in Google Maps before you lose cell service and you’ll be good to go!
Myth #2: Everyone in Montana is Republican
This was an assumption that I had before we moved. Of course, I didn’t think everyone was a republican, but coming from Chicago, I figured there would be a HUGE difference in the ratio of republicans to democrates. And there is. Montana is a very rural state that generally always ends up voting red. You could say it’s part of the “culture” out here.
That said, Bozeman, itself, is a college town full of people from all over the place. When you have a place with a lot of young people from diverse backgrounds, you tend to get a higher percentage of democrats (at least in my experience). Solely based off of assumption, I’d say Bozeman is half and half when it comes to political parties. Once you get into the more rural, country part of the state, I’m sure the majority tend more toward Republican. BUT, that could just be another assumption of mine!
Myth #3: No one’s actually FROM Montana. They just go there, love it, and never leave.
This is a funny one, but I hear it from people I work with all the time when I say I live in Montana. The first response is usually, “wow, Montana?!” and then, “are you from there? I feel like no one is actually from Montana.” When I tell them I’m not from Montana, I’m from Chicago, it kind of helps solidify their point that no one’s from Montana, but that’s just not true!
A lot of the people we’ve met at dog parks or at Austin’s school were born and raised in Montana and love it here. I don’t blame them! Of course, there are people like us who moved to Montana, but there are even more people who grew up here and don’t ever plan on leaving.
Myth #4: It’s Always Cold
Montana is pretty dang cold for most of the winter. We saw our first snow last year in September when we attemped truck camping in the mountains and then got snowed on in the middle of the night. It’s also been snowing well into March. BUT, the summer months can get pretty warm and just about everyone in town is outside during this time!
June through September is a great time to visit if you like to hike, or just get outdoors in general.
I’ll give this myth the benefit of the doubt, though, because the winters get VERY cold. There were weeks at a time where we didn’t see positive temperatures outside. Personally, I don’t mind it since I work from home and don’t technically have to leave the house. However, when spring and summer come, that seasonal depression lifts, and I feel like a new woman!
Myth #5: Montana is Boring
I may have said this before in this post, but I think this is the myth I hear the most. “Why are you moving from CHICAGO to MONTANA? Isn’t Montana boring?” At first, my response was always, “well, I honestly have no idea because I’ve never been there.”
Now, my response is, “Are you kidding me?”
Montana might be boring for certain types of people, but for anyone who enjoys getting outside, exploring amazing landscapes, or having fun, there’s no way you can be bored in Western Montana. With two national parks closeby, countless places to hike, and activities like snowmobiling or riding ATVs, I honestly chuckle when people think Montana is boring.
If that’s currently your mindset, I won’t judge! I just encourage you to take a look around my blog and read about all the different things you can do in Southwest Montana, and even into Wyoming.