From California to Wyoming: Finding Jobs & Housing

So the next post in this series doesn't have the most exciting title, but for those of us who aren't living off trust funds and old school wealth, this next step is a necessity. How do you find a job and place to live in a place you've only spent less than 24 actual hours of your life? The majority of our 3 day stay in Jackson was in both  Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Park- and since neither of us were planning on becoming park rangers (although I think that job is so awesome) we needed to get some info.

We checked a wide range of sources. Some of the traditional go- to's in California didn't really work for a small town in Wyoming. Hardly anything was listed on Craigslist (how I've found almost every place I've ever lived in) because the only category to search in Wyoming is the entire state- no sub categories for cities. No thank- you. I requested a "Moving Packet" from the town and while that had great information on realtors and services we would need once we moved, there wasn't really any information on rentals. Fortunately, the classifieds section of their online newspaper was a huge help (for both jobs and housing).

Next step- where do we live? Deciding how far from town was too far was a bit difficult. Growing up in the suburbs of southern California, we both were used to driving long distances and sitting in hours of traffic for our daily commute. So when we found out we could rent a nice sized house with a yard about 40 miles south of town as opposed to a small apartment in town for the same price- we struggled a bit. The drive was beautiful (it ran along the Snake River) and the traffic could barely be called that. So was it worth it? At first, it seemed like the answer was yes. We asked residents of that town about the commute. Was it too far? How about the winter? They all seemed in favor of it. And looking back now, maybe they were. But asking someone who's looking for tenants if the drive was worth it probably wasn't the smartest decision on our part. Although there will always be a bias, I definitely recommend asking residents of all the areas you're considering for the pros and cons to living in both areas.

Fortunately for us, God was looking out for us. A man Danny contacted about housing in that town had already rented out the property he had listed, but as Danny and him emailed back and forth about our situation and the adventure we were about to embark on, something amazing happened- he offered Danny a job. What?! We were looking for a house and got a job instead- the other huge thing we needed to check off. And another blessing- he told us we didn't want to live in that area south of town. It was too far. And for a young couple like ourselves, he recommended living in town would be more than worth it- and he was incredibly right. So now it was official. Looking for houses was fun and felt safe. But now Danny had an actual job starting in just a few months. Things were official and we were moving- now we had to find a place to live- and fast.

I would say finding a place that accepted a dog (and a large one at that) was the most difficult. I looked for months and no- one wanted an out of state couple (we probably looked like a bunch of scam artists) with a large black lab. Eventually, the newspaper paid off. A place I emailed on had already been taken, but the woman in the duplex above had received a job offer out of state and had put in her notice that day. I said yes immediately. I hadn't seen any pictures. I couldn't tell you where it was. All I knew was that it was in Jackson and they accepted dogs- case closed. I signed the papers. Paid $40 to overnight them back to Jackson. And we had a place to live.

About a month before we moved, the man that offered Danny a job had a phone interview with me and I was offered a job as well. Danny & I were not looking for jobs similar to what we had in California. There aren't any here even if we were. Jackson is a wealthy town, but it's also a tourist town. The year we moved here Teton County (where Jackson is located) was considered the wealthiest county in the entire United States. But that is mostly because of the people who call this their 2'nd home- or 3'rd, 4'th, 5'th, etc... The majority of people who live here year round have nothing to do with that statistic. Jackson Hole is a tourist town. And it is comprised of the super wealthy and the people who serve them- the college grads who moved out here for adventure and a different style of life- who work in customer service and climb mountains, fish rivers, and ski down world class terrain on their days off.

We've given up a job security and a stable income for a different, non- traditional, way of life. But I'm going to be honest with you- as stressful as that can and has often been, I am the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. I wake up every morning, no longer counting the days to the weekend, but content. I am living my dream, and the struggles that have come along with it and will no doubt come along in the future, will only make it all the more worth it in the end.

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From California to Wyoming: Why We Packed Up & Moved


  1. I love reading this, thanks so much for sharing your journey! It's funny how, even when you're moving city-to-city and can still use Craigslist, they all seem to have their own quirks - I can't imagine not being able to use the big websites to hunt out places, though!

    By the way, my first time through Wyoming will likely be when we're driving out from Illinois to CA with our pets and lots of "stuff" in tow - but I'm so excited about it after seeing all your beautiful photos!

  2. I am seriously loving this series! So glad you're sharing your story.

  3. Thank you for writing this Brandi! May I ask--did you guys have debt (like school loans) when you moved? Or did you work to pay down debts prior to moving? How did family feel about your move? How did you juggle your job and your fledgling business when you first arrived? So many questions! I truly admire that you guys took this chance to achieve the life of your dreams--so inspiring!

  4. This whole thing is so awesome- so glad you're filling in the details for us! Also, I just read all of your 'trip that changed us' posts and, as someone from Southeastern Idaho, it made me SO nostalgic for my home state when you talked about Jennie Lake (when I was 10, my parents took my brother and I there, and they forgot to inform us that the 'hike around the lake' would in fact last all day, for 8 miles. But I still remember how beautiful it was!) and when you discussed your visit to Yellowstone (so glad you watched Old Faithful from the deck of the Inn- this is the secret that most tourists don't know about. and i hope you ate some delicious ice cream while you watched, because that's they other secret. hee hee).

    All to say, love this, so glad you are in your happy place, and now I really want to take my husband to the Tetons, Jackson Hole and Yellowstone.

  5. thank you for this. one of the most inspiring blogs.

  6. Anni- yay! Are you driving through Jackson?

    Natalie- thanks so much!

    Kat- thanks girl! I'll definitely make sure to answer all those questions throughout the series. It's crazy how much goes into a move like this... even after it's already taken place :)

    Kate- Where in southeast Idaho are you from?! I drive through a bunch of it each time I have to make a road trip to civilization to go to Target and such :)And yes- I totally had ice cream while sitting on the deck at Old Faithful! It's the best seat in the house :)

    S- wow thanks so much. I really appreciate your encouragement :)


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