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Reflecting on 3 Years of Living in Utah

  • Written by Lindsey Huster
  •  / 
  • 9 min read
  •  / 
  • Last updated a year ago

On July 30, 2016, we left Indiana for Utah. We had been planning the move for over a year and Keith had been dreaming of living in Utah ever since I can remember; more than 10 years! It was something he thought about often and we even joked about it regularly, but I doubt most of our family and friends ever thought it would actually happen. Heck, I had no plans of ever moving.

Three years ago

Then all of the sudden it became a serious thought, the decision was made and plans started falling into place. In some ways, it happened very quickly and in other ways, it had been planned for quite some time.

I’m often asked if I like living in Utah and if I’m happy with our decision to move… or various versions of those questions. Since we were recently home in Indiana, these ideas have been tossed around a lot.  I thought this would be the perfect time to really think about those questions and the answers.

How do I feel now about moving to Utah?

For me, the mix of emotions was and can still be extremely contradictory.  I have those moments where I wonder what it would be like to be able to run 10 minutes to see a family member or friend, to still be teaching 2nd grade, to have been near my niece during her first year of life, etc.  How I feel about moving isn’t easy to answer in one breath and can change depending on the day.

All and all, my feelings fall into lots of comparisons…

  • Sad to leave my hometown, but happy to be exploring someplace new.
  • Scared to go so far away where we don’t know anyone, but calm with the fact that we chose this to add a different experience to our lives.
  • Appreciative of the time we now have to focus on life goals, but fearful that we miss milestones of family and friends.
  • Excited to be doing and learning new things, but sad that we can’t always experience it with those who mean the most to us.
  • Thankful for the opportunity to make this life change, but disappointed that it’s taken us far from family and friends.

There are moments of this that are both positive and negative… but, that’s just life!  I’m sure each of you could make similar contrasts between your own choices and the normal struggles of life.

Am I happy that we moved to Utah?

I have to say that once I made the decision that I was willing to move, I really haven’t looked back.  I’ve been able to see what moving has added to our lives and the things that have been lost could also actually be seen as different opportunities.  I try to focus on the positive side!

As an example, we miss our families GREATLY, but we also get to do things with them that we just didn’t do before moving.  Several family members and friends have traveled to see us or met us in Utah. These trips with them are so meaningful and provide us with a different type of quality time that probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

“All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.” –Martin Buber

This quote exemplifies what I feel when a family member visits us.  I know that the journey we will share will provide us with so many memories, but it really is so much more.  There is always that quality time that creates a different type of bond than we typically have.  It isn’t something that can’t be planned, but there is always a moment when a deeper connection is made.  Maybe it’s a better understanding of one another, an important conversation that takes place, an expression of feelings, a story told we haven’t heard before, etc.  This is the moment that helps me get through feeling homesick later on.

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Do we still have a 5-year plan?

Our plan has been to move to Utah for 5 years to experience a new place; ski, travel, and enjoy the outdoors more.  Although we have done those things, we have not done as much as we thought we would have done in the 3 years that we’ve been gone.  This is for a multitude of reasons; more to see than we thought, our travel style seems to fall into more long term, Keith rarely uses vacation days for our traveling so he works full-time for nearly 100% of our trips, and distances are further away and take longer to reach than we realized, the list of places we want to go grows quicker than the places we actually get checked off, the cost is always a factor, etc.

Right now, we really aren’t sure what will happen at the end of the 5th year.  We know that we want to explore more of the states in the west, so we aren’t necessarily planning to move back full-time in two years.  At the same time, we also know that we need to plan more trips to travel home to spend quality time with family. We’ve tossed around a few ideas, but nothing seems to fit just yet.

The obvious two options are to stay in Utah where we are or to move back to our hometown in Indiana. Three other options are to move to another area in Utah, to move to another state out west, or just take longer road trips to allow us to get further out of the Utah area.  We’ve also considered traveling full-time for a year or two.  There are lots of factors to consider and right now we’re weighing our options.  We will continue to make pro/con lists until it works itself out to decide what is best for us.

What do I like most about living in Utah?

#1: The weather

This was asked a few times during our recent trip home and my gut response was “the weather!”  Part of that answer may or may not have been swayed by the humidity in Indiana. 😉

But honestly, I do enjoy the weather in Utah.  It is not as hot as people assume, nor as cold as people think.  The weather is dry so the temperature “feels” different than it did in the midwest.

The sun can be very warm on your skin, but the air temperature is more reasonable.  This also means that on a hot day the shade can be very comfortable. Without the humidity, you don’t sweat so much or feel the heaviness of the air that can be oppressive.

The dryness also creates light fluffy snow, which is great for skiing… but also for driving, shoveling, etc.  If the sun comes out, the snow melts pretty quickly and if it stays cloudy then we get to enjoy the snow longer.  Keith and I both love snow and it actually seems like we have less snow at our home in Utah than we did in Indiana!  I think it just seems that way since it often snows several inches and also melts within the same day (I may have to keep tabs on that data this winter).

We typically have little rain and most of the time a thunderstorm is “dry.”  This means that it is raining at very high elevations, but not reaching the ground.  This creates a unique look across the mountains and valleys. It isn’t uncommon to look across the horizon and be able to spot a dry shower or two.  I love the contrast it creates in the sky and the shadows on the landscape.

#2: Endless activities

That gut response to the weather also translates to the activities that we enjoy.  There are several new hobbies that we have, but even more related to the weather is what we might choose and why on a particular day.

Since the elevation varies, so does the temperature. This makes it possible in the spring to ski in several feet of snow in the mountains and jeep drive in the warm desert on the same day… or swim, boat, etc. in the low elevation areas.  Likewise, in the summer it might be pretty warm in the low elevations, but it’s perfect hiking weather in the mountains. It might be 85° F at our house and only 70° F on the mountain trails.

I feel like the weather not only creates optimal conditions for outdoor activity but there is also an abundance of sports choices for all seasons.  We moved here for cycling, hiking, and skiing, but have picked up mountain biking, off-roading, backpacking (Keith), backcountry skiing (Keith), etc.  Although we don’t participate, we often see rock climbers, skateboarders, kayakers, fishermen, kite surfers, paragliders, etc.

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Lexi watching Lindsey while hiking at Red Canyon
Lexi watching Lindsey while hiking at Red Canyon
Lindsey and Keith riding the chairlift at Powder Mountain Ski Resort
Lindsey and Keith riding the chairlift at Powder Mountain Ski Resort

Can you relate?

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