At some point during my college years in Georgia, I decided that I wanted to live out west after graduating. I heard about the Yellowstone area from several people. I listened to stories about the great scenery, wildlife, and endless outdoor pursuits. Nobody around me knew this idea of mine, and they wouldn’t know until a few months before my actual move.
For as long as I can remember, I have been an active outdoorsman with a strong passion for fishing and photography. Growing up just outside of Atlanta, most of my outdoor activities involved just being outside. A couple times a year, we might have gone to the mountains of north Georgia or Daytona Beach in Florida.
With college came much more freedom, and the ability to travel by myself. I frequently visited places like the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, different beaches in Florida, or just around my backyard. This new ability to travel must have inspired the idea of expanding my explorations into the western states.
Once I was certain that was what I wanted to do, I started my research. I applied to several different jobs, only to find they wanted someone who was already there. I was prepared to move without a job lined up, living with a friend until I could find work. I finally came across a position that would allow me to live and work inside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. They often hire students and graduates from around the country and around the world. Within a couple weeks, I was hired and ready to start working that May.
I don’t recall much fear, anxiety, or anything that would stop someone from following their dream. I just did it. People ask if I miss Georgia, and until you’ve actually been out west, you might not understand there’s not much to miss. The city life might be for some people, but I do not miss the traffic, I do not miss the crowds, and I certainly do not miss the muggy southern weather!
I graduated on a Saturday, and I was on the road by Sunday. By Tuesday, I was passing through the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park. I spent two days there, exploring my now favorite park, before heading through the south entrance and into Grand Teton. I started working later that week, and I stayed at that job for a couple of months.
Working there exposed me to so much. I saw wildlife that some people only dream of (see bears below), met people from around the world, and learned what true wilderness was. I have learned to be fearful and respectful of nature, because if you slip up, it could cost you your life.
I discovered that the living conditions and the lifestyle of seasonal work wasn’t what I wanted, so I moved on. I worked in Big Sky, Montana for another couple of months before settling on my current job in West Yellowstone, Montana. West Yellowstone is a small town at the west entrance to the world’s first national park. I’ve been here for well over a year now, working year round and full time. Seasonal work is relatively easy to find, but few find a permanent job they can enjoy here.
Today, I spend much of my free time exploring Yellowstone, and the seemingly endless wilderness that surrounds it. There is so much of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming that I have yet to explore. On my days off, I’m pursuing another dream of becoming a full time landscape and wildlife photographer. My passion for fly fishing goes hand in hand with photography. I enjoy nature at its best. I prefer to travel alone, and be in quiet places. It’s not often that I’m found in a crowd of photographers and tourists watching a bear or moose. I’ve had many wildlife encounters where it’s just me and the animal. That’s when the magic happens, and you can capture a meaningful story in a photograph.
Since I’ve been out west, I’ve also been able to visit areas of Idaho, Utah, Nevada, and Arizona, including the Grand Canyon. There are many other places I’d love to visit, as time allows. Why would someone want to live anywhere else?
If you’d like to follow my journey, I am very active on social media. Most of my photography and day to day happenings get posted on Instagram @trentsizemore or Facebook at Trent Sizemore Photography. If you’re truly interested in my work, you can also subscribe to my updates by entering your email below.