Travel blog

An Unexpected Trip Home: Mel Goes to Montana

By on January 30, 2015

I’ll start out by saying I had an offer I couldn’t refuse. My Aunt Sheila offered for me to visit home and I jumped on it. I hadn’t been home in 7 years.

Even though it’s in the dead of winter it’s gorgeous. Wonderful. Gorgeously wonderful. I’m sure you get the drift. Ha.

It’s been quite a culture shock. I’d forgotten just how beautiful the place I grew up in is. I’d forgotten how friendly Montanans are. I’d forgotten how cheap gasoline is. Grin.

It has, however, been an unforgettable opportunity to reconnect with family and friends. I feel more than grateful. Much more than.

I think the sign is bigger than the town. Grin.

I think the sign is bigger than the town. Grin.

The strangest things for me in my return are little things that no one here notices on a daily basis.

Oversized pickup trucks (with rifles in the back window) or Range Rovers as the go-to transport. Little wooden box houses. Deer, deer and more deer. Lynn’s Drive-In.

Other observations about being back in Montana after living in Europe for ages:

Toilets have so much water.

People are so very polite. We went shopping yesterday and there’s so much awareness of my-space/your-space, apologies with smiles, chats at the checkout it’s a little overwhelming. In Europe, it’s almost the opposite.

TV commercials last as long as the clips of the actual show.

Natives are still so very cool.

Talking on the phone is more common than meeting in person.

The first glimpse of the Missions from Missoula.

The first glimpse of the Missions from Missoula.

It’s called ‘Big Sky Country’ for good reason. It really is.

The more broken-down trucks you have in your yard, the better.

Daily life revolves around the coffee pot. There’s always coffee available, no matter where you are. Seriously. It’s not grow-hair-on-your-chest espresso, but it is a constant presence.

Everybody and their dog knows everybody and their dogs.

The Mission Mountains (where my hometown Ronan is located) are not just breathtaking; they’re an imposing, inspiring and calming force.

The local DQ at one of the two stoplights in Ronan.

The local DQ at one of the two stoplights in Ronan.

The food is super tasty. Real* (not Mickey Ds) burgers and tater tots; authentic* Chinese food; combination pizza; diner breakfasts… happy tummy. I didn’t say it was healthy- I said tasty. Wink.

There’s still a huge difference between cowboys and pseudo-cowboys (the pseudos have ironed jeans, unscuffed boots and spotless awkward hats).

Just a few observations. I’m sure I’ll have many more during my stay. The next time I visit (with Armando), I’d definitely prefer visiting during the summer during rodeo and fair season.

For those of you that are interested in visiting Montana some day, I’ve made a list of things to see and do:

-Montana’s Official Website (for skiing, cycling, climbing, special events like Pioneer Days, etc.)

-Ghost Towns in Montana

-Hot Springs in Montana

-The National Bison Range (a personal favorite of mine)

And lastly, a great article with a Montana bucket list for locals and visitors.

I’ll write another update after my full visit, but please feel free to ask me any questions. Whether it’s about the States, Montana or the Flathead Indian Reservation I’m an open book. Grin.

Have you ever been to Montana? What did you think? Would you like to visit? What would you like to see? Let us know in the comments below!

-Mel in Montana, Armando and Mork in Milan (sniff*)

I’d like to thank all of my wonderful Montana family and friends who have made (and are making) my visit home especially special.

  1. Reply

    Rachel Goldfarb

    February 1, 2015


    I really loved and connected to this post. James and I connected with Montana more than any other state we’ve been through. We dream of buying some land in those rugged mountains on which to homestead.

    The natives of Montana we met were all wonderful people and characters, individualists who still helped their neighbors out. We are jealous that you call it your homestate.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Hope to see you out there sometime!


    • Reply

      Melony Candea

      February 2, 2015

      Hi Rachel, it’s so cool that you’ve visited Montana and enjoyed yourselves (some people can’t even find it on a map, grin). One of my favorite things about my home is the down-homey and genuine friendliness. Thanks for the compliment, and it’d be great to meet up with you kids sometime. 🙂



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