Bristol Palin had an amazing, life-changing experience on Dancing With the Stars, but not long after the show ended, she realized life in the spotlight wasn’t all glitz and glamour, landing her back behind the reception desk at a dermatologist’s office in Anchorage, which can be a three-hour commute in bad weather. The turning point, Bristol tells In Touch in an exclusive interview, came last September, when — in a much-reported episode — she was accosted at the Saddle Ranch in LA by a man who hurled nasty insults at her about her famous family. After footage of the altercation went viral, Bristol, 21, realized she was done with showbiz — and that she’d never felt totally at home in the Lower 48. “I wasn’t really into the Hollywood thing,” she says. “After that, I just realized that I was over it. I was ready to come home.”

Of course, there was another big reason Bristol wanted to move back to Alaska — for the sake of her 3-year-old son, Tripp. “He’s going to be starting preschool soon, so we needed to settle into a routine,” she explains. “When we’re here, Tripp is outside all the time… his cheeks are always bright red!” So, Bristol and Tripp headed back to Wasilla and temporarily moved into the apartment under her mom’s TV studio on their property. “It’s great having Bristol here,” Sarah tells In Touch. “She makes good decisions, and she’s always thinking long-term about her and Tripp’s future.”

Though Bristol has the full support of her family, she’s still getting zero help from Tripp’s father, Levi Johnston, whom she often sees driving around town in his truck. “He’s not using his visitation, and he’s not paying his child support,” Bristol reports.

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