Moving Nearer to Heaven: The Illusions and Disillusions of Migrants to Scenic Rural Places


While the dream of moving to a small town in a beautiful rural area is common among many Americans, that dream often turns into a nightmare for those who decide to follow it. More than half of the people who move to small towns in recreational places will move away in less than five years, and their rapid successive moves are often marked by anger and frustration as they encounter the realities of poor job possibilities, an impersonal life, and a deteriorating natural environment. Jobes describes the experiences of newcomers, and oldtimers, to Bozeman, Montana, a small Rocky Mountain town Jobes has observed and researched since the early 1970s. Through interviews and observations, Jobes has found that newcomers arrive with unrealistic illusions about life in a small town and that life in such places is simultaneously complex and dynamic.