After spending the better part of my 37 27 years in New Jersey, not far from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan, I moved to Bend, Oregon last June. I was pretty sure I’d completed my Oregon transformation by the time I embarked on my first backpacking trip in September.

Socks with sandals. Need I say more?

Then I had to buy a Subaru.

Annnnd NOW the transformation is complete.

One of the most fascinating things about moving across the country has been observing the utter lack of jadedness among my new neighbors. And how, in a town of over 100,000, EVERYONE KNOWS EACH OTHER. I find myself constantly sending the New Jersey crew texts like, “I don’t remember what a car horn sounds like,” and, “Someone just BOUGHT MY GROCERIES,” and, “[Sara] and I just realized we went out with the same guy.”

Which is why I now hide in my apartment and make YouTube videos.

In fact, this happens so regularly that I’m about to fill an entire blog post with examples FROM THE PAST WEEK ALONE.

(Shout out to Rainbow Cloudjumper, who came up with this priceless new hashtag. )

He plucks his ideas from starlit skies whilst soaring through the air on magic and moonbeams.


While in line at Starbucks (you can take the girl outta Jersey, but you can’t take the crippling addiction to overpriced lattes outta the girl), this happened:

WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME (holding out giant reusable cup): Hi, is there any chance I can get some water in this? I can pay you.

BARISTA: Of course! I’m so sorry you had to wait in line just for water. We never charge for that.

WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME: I insist. I really, really appreciate it.

BARISTA (handing her the now-filled cup): It’s no problem at all!

WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME: Can I at least tip you?

BARISTA: We don’t accept tips, but that’s so nice of you.

WOMAN IN FRONT OF ME (waving a $20 bill): Please, I want to.

BARISTA (taking bill): Uh, well, okay, thank you so much.

ME (silently): How the f@&*% do I follow that?

Perhaps you’d like a copy of my new calendar, barista? (It’ll only cost you $20. Hey! Look at that!)


This snowman:

Built right in front of my door, for me, by my new 9-year-old neighbor with whom I’ve exchanged three words. Because love and puppies and rainbows.


I had two girlfriends over for dinner the other night. Within five minutes, this:

GIRLFRIEND #1: Where do you live?

GIRLFRIEND #2: I live in [blah blah] neighborhood.

GIRLFRIEND #1: Oh! One of my really good friends lives there! She said there’s lots of neighborhood drama. Do you know the crazy lady who won’t let anyone park in front of her house?

GIRLFRIEND #2: I *am* the crazy lady.

Uh, hey! Everyone! Look over here! Uncle Jesse has a new toy! Cool, right? …Right?


Every month, friends host a vegan potluck at the Environmental Center. It’s basically a #NeverInNJ free-for-all. This month:

(MY FRIEND) STEFANIE (to a new woman we’d never met): Hi, I’m Stefanie.

NEW WOMAN: Hi, I’m [New Woman]. Isn’t Bend amazing? Someone just gave me four snow tires for free! Hey, want to go snowshoeing tomorrow?


ME: You can borrow my Sno-Park pass!

Central Oregon: Where Even the Snow is Nicer!

Honestly, I could keep going, but my alarm just went off. That must mean it’s time to go compliment someone.


26 thoughts on “#NeverInNewJersey”

  1. Best tag line ever! Never in New Jersey… please make this a regular series. And speaking as an ex Jersey girl…. what planet are you living on now? Because surely the things you just wrote about don’t happen on this one!

    1. Get out, really?! Let me know when you’re here!! I can tell you where the crazy lady lives so you can be sure to avoid that ‘hood (ha, I kid! She is amazing and her parking woes are fully justified).

  2. Ha! I grew up on Long Island, similar to the NJ scene and a little over an hour from NYC. Been in Michigan now for 25 years. Not quite Bend, OR but Michigan is a playground in itself and I can relate to a lot of these comparisons! Need to get me out on a backpacking trip soon! Looks gorgeous!

    1. I can definitely see the similarity! If you cross state lines into Oregon, you’ll be forced to purchase a HydroFlask and schedule a backpacking trip within 17 days. (I’m currently learning snow trail etiquette…who knew?!)

  3. I think I can totally relate to your experience, even though I’ve never been to Bend, OR or spent any significant time in a place like that. The reason being that I grew up in a country compared to which New Jersey probably would feel like as nice and polite as Bend would to a Jerseyan. πŸ™‚ (Okay, I never actually lived in NJ, but I live in a New England state not known for excessive friendliness. πŸ™‚

    1. I am 99.9999999% sure I know the state to which you’re referring, heh On the upside, growing up in NJ (or any place like it) makes travel that much more enjoyable – when EVERYWHERE is cheaper, friendlier and easier to navigate!

    1. Might I suggest you considering foregoing…OH MY GOD NO DO NOT ROAD TRIP IT; THEY INVENTED PLANES FOR A REASON!!!!!

      Er, uh, yes! Come! Now! Yesterday! My guest bed is getting so, so, very cold…

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