Sunrise over Spearfish

One of the first sunrises that I saw after moving reassured me that we had made the right choice!

Should I Move to Create a More Adventurous Life? Let’s Talk Location

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As you may know, toward the end of 2018, Clarissa and I packed up our lives and moved from our old home in the Quad Cities to our new home in Spearfish, South Dakota. This wasn’t a spur of the moment decision. Rather, it was the culmination of roughly three years of discussions, debates, changes of heart, reaffirmations, and – finally – a decision.

Should I move? For us the Black Hills National Forest was a big factor
Black Hills National Forest wasn’t the only reason we moved here, but it was a large factor.

Ultimately it came down to the fact that every time we visited the Black Hills we didn’t want to leave. Finally we asked ourselves, “If we never want to go home when we’re visiting the Hills, why don’t we make our home here?” Which is exactly what we did.

I have long wanted a National Forest as my backyard, and now I have one. I live in a state with six National Parks or NPS managed sites. You can hike, camp, rock climb, and fly fish less than fifteen miles from my house, almost year-round. Pretty much everything I want to do, I can in less than a day’s drive.

Spearfish City Park
It’s nice to live in a town where a ten minute walk brings us to a stream where people fly fish year round.

The adventure opportunities here are essentially endless. Which is why, no doubt, some people have asked me if that was our plan – did we move for adventure? But the thing is, sometimes when people ask, “did you move for adventure?” what they really mean is, “should I move?”

“So… Did you move to create a more adventurous life?”

Well, the answer isn’t necessarily as clear as one might like, but here it is.


We moved to the Black Hills because this area fits our lifestyle in so many ways. Part of that lifestyle does center around adventure, outdoor recreation, and doing cool stuff in the woods. So yes, in some ways we most certainly did move for adventure. But it wasn’t the only factor either.

Should I move for adventure? If it's important to you, consider it
Adventure played a significant role in our decision to relocate, but it wasn’t the only factor.

For example, despite both having flirted with the possibility in our lives, neither Clarissa or I wanted to live in a big city. We both liked the idea of small town living. Now that comes with challenges; driving in Spearfish is largely 25 mph, and that takes some getting used to. Luckily we didn’t have to sacrifice craft beer or yoga.

And of course, it often comes down to opportunity. Clarissa found a job here that she was well-qualified for, and I work from home, so here we are. Outdoor recreation and adventure played a big role in our decision to move, but we definitely considered other factors as well.

“Should I move to develop a more adventurous life?”

Look folks, I’m not an expert at moving. I lived in the same town for essentially the first 30 years of my life. But I will say this, if you’re passionate about something and have the opportunity to move in order to engage with it more fully, I think you should really consider it. If you’ve been asking yourself, “should I move?” then it’s at least worth a frank discussion.

We made the decision to move as a team
Clarissa and I make these kinds of decisions as a team. Moving is a big deal, and isn’t a decision either of us could make on our own.

I know not everyone has the ability to make a move like that, and both Clarissa and I are grateful for the opportunity we’ve had, as well as exhausted from all the work we’ve had to do – and are still doing – to pull it off. But we’re so happy we made this move, and have no doubts that we made the right decision.

You still haven’t answered the question – should I move?

Yes. If you have the opportunity to move to improve your life, and in my humble opinion that would include any move for adventure, do it. Again, I understand that not everyone can make that happen, and that it definitely isn’t an overnight thing for most of us, but if you can make it happen, do it.

Look at it this way; let’s say you love canoeing. Not just a little, this isn’t a casual relationship. You LOVE canoeing and want to spend as much time as possible paddling your canoe. If that’s the case, doesn’t it make sense to live in a location where you can maximize the time you can have on the water?

Wade leaning on truck
If moving will help you maximize the time and resources you can devote to the things you love, I think its worth considering!

I wholeheartedly believe that you can, and should, find adventure anywhere you are, so don’t let the idea of moving stop you from getting out and making stuff happen right now. But if there’s a place you want to go, that provides an opportunity to do what you love, it’s worth a certain amount of risk to make the move.

A few things to consider…

If you consider moving for adventure, don’t make the decision blindly. Moving can have long-term consequences, both good and bad. As you deliberate, here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Moving isn’t cheap, and the more stuff you have the more expensive it will be. Try to pare down your possessions before you move. Cut the cost by doing as much of the work as you can.
  • Think about how you’ll make a living. We loved moving to a smaller town, but work opportunities are more limited here. If I couldn’t work remotely from home, we would struggle more than we do!
  • Consider the cost of living. Housing expenses can cut into your budget, so you want to make sure to take that into consideration.
  • There’s a difference between loving the idea of living somewhere and actually living somewhere. The romance of an off-grid cabin in the woods is delightful, but when you’re snowed in without wi-fi, it may lose some of its appeal.

Relocating to the Black Hills was the right choice for us, but only you can decide if moving is the right choice for you. If you spend a lot of time asking yourself, “should I move?” then I think you should give the thought some consideration. Keep in mind, however, that a new home won’t change who you are; if you don’t develop an explorer’s mind, a new location won’t do it for you! But if you have embraced an adventurous life, and want to relocate to help further develop that lifestyle, I encourage you to do so!

Sunrise over Spearfish
One of the first sunrises that I saw after moving reassured me that we had made the right choice!

Wherever you live, whatever your situation, and whatever you plan to do next, I believe adventure can be a big part of it. Whether you decide to move or not, I hope you find some adventures along the way.

2 thoughts on “Should I Move to Create a More Adventurous Life? Let’s Talk Location

    1. Thanks Mick, for us it really was a great decision. It’s meant a lot of late nights and early mornings for both of us, but we’re happy to be here.

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