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I moved from Atlanta to rural Montana and documented my move on TikTok. Here’s why I’m glad I did it.

A woman stands on a trail with mountains and trees in the backgroundNami Iman at Yellowstone National Park

Courtesy of Nami Iman

  • Nami Iman, a content creator from Georgia, felt stuck at home and wanted to branch out. 
  • She applied to a work program in Montana and moved to a place where she knew nobody.
  • Iman documents her journey on TikTok and told Insider she recommends others try jumping out of their comfort zone too. 

This is an as-told-to essay based on a conversation with Nami Iman, a content creator on TikTok originally from Metro Atlanta, who is documenting her new life in Montana. The essay has been edited for length and clarity.

A couple of months ago, my best friend sat me down and told me I was wasting my life because I was too afraid to take risks. 

Best friends keep it real with you, and she was right — I’ve always avoided taking big leaps of faith. It’s one of the reasons why I decided to take the biggest risk I’ve ever taken in my life and move to Montana. 

My journey to Montana started earlier this year when I decided I was going to get a steady job. In January of 2022, I committed to being a full-time content creator. The first month, I only made enough to live off of for a while, but then after that, the brand deals just stopped coming in. Finally, I told myself if I want to create content full-time, I need sustainability. 

I did not want to start doing a nine-to-five, but my mom would always tell me, “You have to do things that you don’t want to do in order to get to where you want to go.”

So I decided to buckle down and get a real job. 

One day, I came across a TikTok of this girl saying she applied for a job through this website called CoolWorks, which connects people to jobs in different places across the country. 

I was tired of living at home in my semi-rural town of Covington, Georgia, and I felt like it was time for me to step out on faith and step out on myself. For a very long time, I had such a fear of growing up, but I knew I would be missing out on a lot if I didn’t take the opportunity to apply.

I applied to 20 jobs the first day I got on CoolWorks. A place called Sage Lodge near Yellowstone National Park was the first to reach out to me. I told God, “Look, if you allow this to happen for me, I’ll say yes to the first opportunity that comes my way.”

 

@namiimanx

I’m moving to Montana tomorrow…nervous and excited for the new chapter and change I prayed for

♬ original sound – Nami Iman

 

I got the job. And then, boom — I was moving out. The whole process took a couple of weeks, and before I knew it, I was on my way to Montana at the end of June. At first, I thought I was fine. But then, when I said goodbye to my mom before I got on the plane and took off, the real fear and anxiety kicked in. 

I was really flying into the unknown. I was going to a whole new place, a whole new environment where I didn’t know anyone or anything. That terrified me. But because things were moving so quickly, I had a deep feeling that it was meant for me. 

As soon as I touched down in Montana and met my housing coordinator, I realized it just felt like an extension of home.

‘There’s a little magic here’

I settled down in the housing offered by my job — I have my own room here, and my roommate Emily is an angel — and I immediately started working as a concierge at the lodge.

I never thought that I would be a concierge — I had no idea what a concierge even was before this. The new job was a huge shift, and sometimes I feel insecure as hell because it’s something that I’ve never done before.

In fact, life in Montana was filled with new experiences. I walk to and from work almost every day now. Every job that I’ve had prior, I either worked from home or drove to work. Now, I have to use my legs to get to where I need to get to. 

 

@namiimanx

Updateeee! Made it through my first day of work

♬ original sound – Nami Iman

 

When I lived at home, I felt very depressed, and there were days when I didn’t leave my bed. But this job is forcing me to get out and accept the beauty that this world has to offer.

And Montana is just the most picturesque place. There are squirrels, deer, gorgeous green fields, streams, and mountains as far as the eye can see. It literally looks like a postcard out here. 

When I’m not working, Emily and I just sit on the couch, drink tea and watch “Abbott Elementary.” When we have the opportunity to go out, we take hikes, go to dispensaries, and explore new places. I even went fishing in the Yellowstone River my third day here.

It’s been a month since I got to this place. I can’t believe seeing Montana never crossed my mind before this opportunity. There’s such beauty and, as corny as it sounds, there’s a little magic here. There’s just something special about this place.

A woman on a boat looks afraid while holding a fishNami Iman fly fishing on the Yellowstone River

Courtesy of Nami Iman

‘I want every Black person to come out here and enjoy Montana’

One of the reasons I began documenting this journey on TikTok is because I wanted to be able to go back and look at old videos of myself and capture these moments in time. 

What I didn’t know was that my video, where I documented my decision to leave home, would go as viral as it did. But I’m glad that it did. I’ve gotten comments from random people telling me, “I don’t know you but I’m so fucking happy for you. I’m so proud of you.” Some people, women who look like me who are probably scared to take risks, tell me that I’ve inspired them to do the same.

Would I recommend this opportunity to other people? A part of me says yes.

I’ve met an amazing roommate who I know will probably be a lifelong friend. There’s so many opportunities that come in the unknown — and the unknown can be very scary and terrifying. But sometimes in life, you just got to learn how to pivot. I was afraid of risk. I’m still a little afraid, I will admit. But there is more confidence in me. And I want people who feel the same way to know that if it can happen for me, it can happen for you. 

Nami Iman stands barefoot on a trail in a pink, full length dressNami Iman stands on the trail she takes to work everyday

Courtesy of Nami Iman

I would just say, before you decide to take that unexpected journey, do your research, especially if you are a Black person. Truthfully, I am the only Black woman here, and I wanted my safety as a Black woman to be my top priority. Be very thorough in your research, and just try to make sure you’re going into a safe environment.

I want every Black person to come out here and enjoy Montana like I have. I want more Black people and different cultures to see the beauty that Montana has to offer.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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