Tom is moving to Utah

I’m relocating to Utah in late August to accept a new job. I’ll be working for EMC, which does contracts with the army base in Dugway, Utah. Dugway is about 80 miles southwest of Salt Lake City, remotely located in the Salt Lake Desert (see image below).

English Village in Dugway, UT

We’ll be driving over from Florida, which is about a 2,400 mile drive. We’ll actually live in Tooele rather than Dugway. Tooele (“Tuwilla”) is a small town (population = 30,000) about 45 min. north of Dugway.

If you have any advice for long distance drives or moving, let me know. We’re really excited about this move. My wife’s family is from Utah, I went to Brigham Young University for my undergraduate degree, and I love the Utah landscape and people. Additionally, the responsibilities of this tech writing job look like a perfect fit for me.

Adobe RobohelpMadcap Flare

By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for the 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication, API documentation, information architecture, web publishing, JavaScript, front-end design, content strategy, Jekyll, and more. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

15 thoughts on “Tom is moving to Utah

  1. Holly Harkness

    I’m flabbergasted.
    That’s quite a change of climate from Florida to Utah!

    I won’t say good-by because you’ll be blogging out there, right?

    I’m sure the SunCoast Chapter will miss you, though.

    For long distance drives I recommend books on CD, picnic lunches (if it’s not too hot), and staying at motels with swimming pools (a nice way to unwind after a day on the road).

  2. eldavo

    Congratulations Tom.

    Can we look forward to the world’s longest uninterrupted carcast?

    Can Holly impersonate your voice to simulate the next few TWV shows?

    My advice would be to treat your move like email. Delete as much as possible, so your backup and restore is quicker and easier.

    Unfortunately wife and kids or sentimental objects aren’t so easy as your own junk, they will probably account for the largest part of your logistics budget. They’re worth it of course :)

  3. Scot Herrick

    Sounds like a great move, Tom.

    In moving from Chicago-land to Seattle-land five years ago, I’d give the following advice:

    If you can afford it, hire a great moving company and have them pack all of your stuff. That allows you to be doing what you do right up to the day they pack. They will pack all your stuff — and do it right — all in one day.

    Whatever amount of time you were planning on to get there and get unpacked, add in 25% more time.

    Whatever day you start work on the new position will be the day that the stuff not done in your new house will take six months to finish. (or get it done before work starts).

    Try and make the trip an adventure, not from the perils of travel, but on the moving to a new life. It’s a great attitude to have.

    Finally, I’ve driven a lot of long trips (15 hours at a time, for example). Make sure you stop, get out of the car and walk around for at least 15-minutes every three hours (like after two hours and 45-minutes) whether you think you need it or not. You will need it to help stay fresh and to maintain good circulation.

    Enjoy the trip!

  4. Aaron

    Congrats on your move, Tom. Better to live in a city with no baseball team than endure the Devil Rays. It looks like your new opportunity is solid, and Utah is packed with outdoor recreation. Looking forward to the podcast updates!

  5. CabSav

    Congratulations, and enjoy the drive.

    If you can afford it, get removalists in to do the whole move for you, so that you don’t have to worry and on the drive you’re only loaded up with travel essentials — clothes, and things for the children to do.

    Give yourself enough time to get there without having to drive ten-twelve hour days.

    I too, like motels with pools or spas to relax in at night, and make sure you use them. Failing that always, always make a shower your first priority when you stop driving for the night.

    Do active things on the drive. Detour to see waterfalls or walking tracks or anything that gets you out of the car and moving. National parks are perfect for this. Get out of the car at least every three hours (I would say two).

    Have a great trip.

  6. Tom

    Thanks for all the advice on moving.

    eldavo, you mentioned the world’s longest carcast. That would really be something. I am actually thinking of tanking the podcast. I haven’t published a podcast for a month and a half, and no one has wondered why or asked for more. I think it just may not be the right medium for the audience.

    Aaron, I had no idea you kept up with baseball. I have been to a couple of Devil Rays games — the stadium is practically within walking distance from my house. But I think both times they lost.

    Scott, thanks for the advice on stopping every 3 hrs. Trust me, I have 3 kids in tow here, all under 7 yrs of age. We’ll probably be stopping every 3 minutes.

    Holly, you asked if I’ll still be blogging. Of course, but maybe about different topics. I have to say that while the blog is a lot of fun and provides tremendous networking ability and visibility, it’s not a professional must-have, like I thought it was. I think employers are more concerned about work experience, tool expertise, and domain knowledge than anything related to web 2.0. Still, blogging and podcasting have been catalysts for the other more valued knowledge.

  7. eldavo

    Tom, TWV listeners would not dare upset your greatness by asking for more, in an Oliver theatrical sense :)

    Perhaps it is a sign of TWV listeners’ empathy for your time. Podcasting is probably a luxury item when considering the opportunity cost to your responsibilities to family and work.

    What you have already achieved is exceptional in the profession. Credit to Holly also, your discussion format together of news collected in the Wiki was great.

  8. eldavo

    Thanks Holly, I’ll get it right next time :) I sent an e-mail to Tom typing Heidi first but ‘correcting’ to Holly after posting that comment.

    Heidi Hansen and Holly Harkness, call in Berry Braster from Tedopress, all unforgettable names!

    PS: I think somewhere I’ve written in a blog linked by Tom, I referred to him as Todd Johnston confused with a local TV presenter.

  9. avi

    1. If I remember correctly, Tooele appeared on the second season of Prison Break.
    2. I drove from Toronto to Orlando, FL. 29 hours, lots of bad coffee and fast food. Soft drinks / water do the work as well, as they make want to stop for a leak ;-)
    3. You have two kids… maybe fly them to Utah and drive on your own?

  10. Rhonda

    Wow! Big move, Tom.

    We moved earlier this year – packing up 16 years of stuff in one big house to move some 300kms away to a much smaller house. I have a “Moving house” category on my blog which has some advice about moving. No kids, no pets, so that was easier, but I have a husband who is a collector and doesn’t throw any of his collection away – ever!

  11. Sterling

    Should have known the author of such a cool blog would be a BYU grad… Not long ago I was taking Technical Writing there to satisfy a GE requirement. I wouldn’t have guessed that I would be using it every day in my job a few years later.

    Best wishes to you and your family.

  12. Philip Rastocny

    Words cannot express the excitement that I feel when thinking about moving to such a rural area. Being an amature astronomer, dark skies were always hard to find – but in Tooele, UT they’re right out your back door!

    You’ll not regret getting some binocculars and star gazing.

    BTW, in 2001 I moved into a 330 sq. ft. RV from a 2,100 sq. ft. house and tossed almost everything I owned. It was – in a word – freeing! You’ll never miss the stuff and you won’t have to fix it anymore. (Keep your PC – keep up the good work!)

  13. Hal

    Wow, Tom! Congrats. I wish you the best on the new job and the big move to Utah. I hope you keep writing and blogging! (I’m sure you will). Have a great trip.


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