I am in a bit of a weird part of my journey right now. I am in the process of trying to go to all 50 states in the US before I hit all seven continents at the end of this year. This means I have been spending a fair amount of time in some pretty desolate areas. My most recent adventure was in Montana and North Dakota.
My day-to-day has been filled to the brim trying my damnest to get my startup launched. Every day I finish something only to find there are 100 new things that need to get done. The solution to this is of course prioritization but in a world where startups model themselves off the perfection of Apple, it is a tough task. Although it has been frustrating, it has also been a lot of fun. At the same time I have doubled my efforts to get a six-pack (another bucket list item). This has meant working out 6 days a week and switching to a Paleo diet. The result has been a cranky Danny :-p
My trip to Montana was my first bucket list item that I planned a trip around without a specific event attached to it. (as opposed to my Nebraska trip) The plan was to pump out some code and to explore the country land. This worked out to be just the juxtaposition I needed.
I woke up after a productive night working and hoped on a plane to Montana. I fly enough now that about half of my flights are freely upgraded to 1st class (woohoo United Airlines!) and this trip was no exception. I appreciated the breakfast and the privacy as added a new feature to the site and dove back into Catch-22 (I am still not getting the appeal to this book!) As soon as I landed I was impressed with what I saw. In my experience, American’s who live away from the coasts are generally more friendly people. The rate of talking got slower and the accent got stronger. I watched pleasantly as I saw strangers help each other with bags and one man help a little kid who was scared of the escalator. These are more like the people I like to surrond myself with.
I arrived at the Dude Rancher lodge in Billings and set out to go for a run and get some home cooked food. It was 95 degrees outside (35 C) and I was sore from a tough Crossfit workout the day prior but I decided to tough it out anyway. Hot weather is really only going to help me get in better shape. I had a salad and retired to my room to watch Fargo (Great movie!). The next day the only thing on my agenda was to drive from Montana to North Dakota (the neighboring state).
I woke up for the first time since returning to the States without some sort of agenda. The drive would only take me six hours and I had a full day to kill. I decided I would just start driving and play it by ear.
Montana was as beautiful as I had expected. It was hot but full of greenery. It was big sky country but marked with beautiful rock formations. I pulled over frequently to explore the land and take photos.
Six hours or so later I made it to the state border (Pictured above with the fields and railway crossing). I had expected to see my surroundings instantly turn to desert (as I was now in North Dakota) but I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case. North Dakota was actually quite beautiful.
I had initially planned to make it all the way to Fargo (as it was the only city I had heard of in North Dakota) but instead decided to stop in the small town of Dickinson instead. I walked around the town, met some extremely nice people and laughed at a cowboy trying to order something at Arby’s. The accent of the people I met in North Dakota was exactly like those from the people in Fargo. Dontcha know…
I eventually made it back to my car and started the long drive back to Billings, Montana. I had plenty of time to think about life, my bucket list and my company. Although it was a very different type of vacation, it turned out to be exactly what I needed. I returned home without the stress I had left with and with a much bigger smile on my face.