A little over 2 years ago, I moved to the Bismarck/Mandan area of North Dakota to take my job here at Townsquare Media. In those years, I've come to call The Peace Garden State my home, and here's my top 6 (in no particular order as I see them all as #1) reasons for doing so!
North Dakota Nice
I know it sounds majorly cliche, but it does exist. I spent most of my life in major west coast cities, and I've never lived in a community that was as nice as the Bismarck/Mandan community.
Prime example: My first Thanksgiving in Bismarck, just a month after moving out here. My landlords knew my family and I were spending our first Thanksgiving away from our family. To do something nice for us, they went to the store and purchased us a turkey, potatoes, and stuffing so we could have a proper Thanksgiving meal, even if our families weren't around. I barely knew this couple, but they went out of their way to make us feel at home when we were thousands of miles away. That is just the tip of the iceberg of the friendliness my family as experienced since moving here
North Dakota Sunsets
Living out in Seattle, and out where you could see across the ocean at sunset, I thought I'd seen the prettiest sunsets I could have. Then I moved to North Dakota. Just in my first couple weeks here, I saw some of the most gorgeous colors stretch across the sky and highlight the rolling hills to the west of us. Some of the most spectacular views I've ever had the pleasure of seeing in my 30+ years on this earth.
Safe, Family Friendly Communities
I know the people of Bismarck/Mandan have just come to expect this living in such a wonderful area, but this really is unfortunately a rare thing these days. I've had the unfortunate experience of living in apartment complexes where hearing gunfire at night wasn't anything new. To be able to come home to see my 2 young kids playing out in the yard and not have to worry if they are going to be shot or abducted or anything else horrible is by far the biggest stress reliever. I have always wanted my kids to grow up playing outside with their friends as I got to do, and in North Dakota, that will happen.
Cost of Owning a Motor Vehicle
Ok, I know this one may sound a bit weird to someone who grew up out here, but it's the truth. Owning and maintaining a car/truck/bike in North Dakota has saved me over $5,000 in 2 years. First off, even with my 13 year old car, my tabs back in Washington would have cost me $200+ for standard issue plates. In North Dakota, that cost is less than $80 for my custom plates.
Also, the cost of insurance, gas, and other maintenance items is drastically less out here than back on the coast. That also means it's a slightly lower cost of living out here. All of those a bonuses for me!
'You Can be Anywhere in 5 Minutes'
Ok... Maybe not 5 minutes exactly... but close enough.
The infrastructure of Bismarck/Mandan is built in a way that you can quickly and efficiently get anywhere quickly, regardless of time of day. As someone who has lived in major cities and "Rush Hour" actually exists, this is a big deal. Going from a 45 minute commute during the workday (on a drive that only took me 20 minutes in the middle of the night) to a 10 minute commute regardless of when I to/from the office is amazing.
Slower Pace of Life
Radio is a high paced industry. We are all taught to be able to react to anything at a moments notice at all hours of the day. Living in a big city most of my life, I've come to expect that same pace to continue once I left the office and went about my everyday chores. Nobody had time to sit around and wait for you to order your food, or window shop while out at the mall, or even ask questions. It was very much a NOW NOW NOW world.
Then I moved to North Dakota. At first, I use to joke with family back home that everyone was on "North Dakota Time" because nobody was ever in a rush, and taking a reasonable amount of time doing things was the norm. After a while, it started relaxing me to be in that environment after I left the office. Now, I have a hard time when I go home. I can't keep up with them anymore... and I don't want to.
It's nice to be able to relax when out running errands. It's taken a lot of stress out of my life
That's just the biggest of the reasons I've come to call Bismarck/Mandan home. If you are also a transplant and have fallen in love with something I didn't mention, feel free to Email Me and I might end up just adding your suggestions to this list.