So You’re Moving to BoomTown, USA… Now What?

So You're Moving to BoomTown, USA... Now What? A practical guide to help you through your big move. #oilfield #bakken @realoilfieldwives

You hear about oilfield boomtowns everywhere in the media, some outlets even going so far as to compare them to a modern-day Wild West. The thought of actually moving to one of these towns can be daunting and the entire moving process can be overwhelming. Who should you talk to? Where will you go? Will you find housing? Will there be prostitutes and thugs on every street corner? What are the schools like? Never fear! Real Oilfield Wives are here!

Do Your Homework

One of the best ways to get information is from actual people themselves. Do some investigating. Talk to men and women who actually live in the area you will be moving to. Don’t always listen to what you hear in the media -most of it is going to be over-glorified hoopla. Yes, I just said hoopla. Does that age me?

hoop·la (h p lä , h p -): Extravagant publicity.

The oilfield wives pages on Facebook are a great source of knowledgeable women in different areas of the country. My favorite is Real Oilfield Wives, but then again, I’m a little biased. Other notable pages: Oilfield Wives and Oilfield Wives and Mommies. There are a ton of smaller groups out there, too, dedicated to specific areas. Looking to start a private group? Check out our forums and groups area. Heading towards the Bakken boom? Check out the adventures of one woman as she adjusts to life in Williston, ND. is a great website to find statistical information on cities throughout the United States. Our family decided to make a move further south a few years ago, and I actually based our town choice off of the wealth of information I found on this website! We ended up moving to Fruita, Colorado and we loved every minute of it! Hello, sunshine, gorgeous scenery and mild temperatures! You will also find all the information you could ever need on households, crime rates, pollution, etc.

If you are a parent, the available schools for your children probably factor in to where you move. On, you can explore schools throughout the country, view local information, rate your current schools, as well as view how other parents have rated and reviewed schools you are considering during your potential move.

If possible, before you commit to the move, take time and visit the area you are planning on moving to. See the city for yourself and make sure it feels like a good match.

Be Prepared.

You {or your oilfield man} have a job already lined up, don’t you? If not, start there.

Next up, housing. One of the worst possible situations to put you and your family in is moving to a new place and finding yourselves unprepared for what awaits. You do not want to move to Williston, ND in the throes of winter without having housing already lined up. The twenty below temperatures are not for the faint-of-heart. Do not bring your family up north in a camper on a whim. Plan, plan, PLAN.

I always start with Okay, so maybe I have a slight obsession with looking at houses in places I think I would love to live. Regardless, the website is a great starting point for getting an idea of housing costs and availability. Some of my other favorites: Zillow and Trulia. Most focus on houses for sale, but also offer some rental listings. Most communities also have online resources and sites for local housing listings. We moved to Bismarck, ND a few years ago and I found this great site called BisManOnline. We ended up buying our house from a FSBO listing we found on it, but better yet, I was able to work with the sellers and negotiate a deal to rent the home for a few months until we were settled in.

Make sure you have money in the bank! I cannot stress this enough. A new job means a new pay schedule and most likely a lag in paychecks. You NEED to have a cushion in your bank account that can at least last you a few months until you get settled in. Not to mention all the unexpected expenses that can happen with a big move!

Research expenses in your new town. Boomtowns typically have inflated pricing on EVERYTHING: housing, food, gas, you name it. Can you afford to live there, or might it be better to find a different town away from the hustle-and-bustle of the boom?

Protect yourself. With huge influxes of people migrating towards boomtowns, crime is on the rise. Think about whether you need protect yourself with a home alarm system, a dog, or a gun. Maybe all three. Explore your options and make an educated choice.

Embrace Your New Community

If you move to a new place and consistently talk shit about the town and the people who live there, you will probably feel like an outsider for the duration of your stay. Most locals are intensely proud of their hometowns and you should be respectful of that. There is good and bad in every community, it’s up to you to find it.

Get Involved

Don’t wait for people to come to you. Get out there and make some new friends and get involved in your new community. Are you a mother? Check out playgroups, MOPS, MOMS clubs and school organizations. Connect with other oilfield wives -chances are, they are feeling the same way you are. Once again, head to the Facebook pages I mentioned above and put a call out for wives in your area. If you get a response, set up a get-together at a coffee shop… who doesn’t love coffee?  Approach and be approachable! Start conversations, acknowledge to others that you are new to the area, and put some effort into pursuing new friendships.

And lastly, know that everything will not go as perfectly as you hope. Be prepared for some setbacks. There will be days you feel like pulling your hair out and days where you spend most of your time taking deep breaths and counting to ten. But, all in all, your new adventure will be what you make of it.

How do you deal with big moves and starting over in a new place? Share your tips, favorite helpful websites, etc below!

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About melissa

Melissa is the Founder of ROW and has been an oilfield wife for 14 years. She has been married to a wonderful man forever and is mother to six amazing children (17,14, 10, 10 and 2 and a foster baby!). Melissa knows the struggles that come along with the oilfield life. When Melissa isn't helping her little girl battle her brain tumors (Love for Jazmine Joy), she loves to travel, laugh, tend to her chickens, and dream of sunshine and mountains.

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