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Moving From California to Nampa, Idaho: Brian’s Thoughts

From California to Nampa, Idaho

Hey everybody. We have a special guest in the studio today, and we will be talking about moving from California to Nampa, Idaho. So what’s he going to say? Stick around to find out.

Getting to Know Brian

Dave: It’s Treasure Valley Dave here. Today, we have a fabulous guest. This is Brian. He popped into the office, and we’ll take advantage of this moment to pick his brain. A little bit about Brian, he came from California before moving to Idaho. He lives here in Nampa, and I want to find out what he thinks about what Nampa’s like and whether he would prefer to return to California. 

Brian: Hey, how’s it going?

Dave: Hey, great. Thanks for stopping by.

Brian: Glad to help. I live nearby. I’ve been here for four years, so…

Dave: Four years.

Brian: Wonderful four years.

Dave: And here in Nampa?

Brian: Correct.

Dave: Nice. So now that you’ve been up here for four years, you probably have a good feel for what it’s like to live here and what Nampa’s like.

Living in Nampa, Idaho

Brian: So Nampa, Idaho population is about pushing a hundred thousand, similar to many California towns. And like many California towns, there are different neighborhoods and vibes. We live north of Highway 84, and it’s a little more farm, rustic. Our neighbors across the street are cows from a distance. But if you like a little more urban, there’s downtown Nampa. Plenty of them are popping up all over the valley and Nampa if you want more residential sub-development. So depending on what you’re looking for, you can find it. We have one acre and a barn, so we have plenty of space for ourselves, but half a mile down the street, you can get a brand-new tract home, a three-car garage with an RV, and just enough land to grow a small garden and have a barbecue.

Dave: That’s nice. So, did you consider these other parts of town before you found the one? What drove you from living city life? It’s almost like Green Acres, and now you almost have a country feel. As you said, you have cows across the street.

Brian: It’s just what we wanted to do long-term. We planned. In our last home in California, we were there for over ten years, so we didn’t go to different houses. If we were going to make such a significant life change, we wanted to ensure that the home and the property we got would meet our needs and any hobbies or desires down the road. We scoured the entire Treasure Valley — Boise, Meridian, Caldwell, Nampa, Middleton, you name it — and found that Nampa is centrally located. It’s 20 minutes from the Boise Airport to our house and a straight shot on Highway 84. There are a couple of slowdowns during the commute rush, but you’re still moving at 30 miles an hour even then. There’s not much parking going on there, so that was a good factor for us. So if I find a job in Boise, I’m still close to the action in Boise but not too far away, and the traffic in Idaho is pretty decent. In addition, we are about five minutes away from essential grocery shopping like Walmarts and WinCos.

Dave: You guys have WinCos there?

Brian: We have WinCos, Albertsons, and Grocery Outlet if you’re into that. So most of the items and businesses in California are up here in Treasure Valley. So it’s the same.

Dave: Even In-N-Out?

Brian: In-N-Out is coming soon, and as a bonus, there are a couple of chains that aren’t in California that you might like, such as Freddy’s and Steakburgers.

Dave: Nice.

Brian: So overall, we were Central North California. The Treasure Valley area, and certainly Nampa, are very similar to that part of California; you won’t miss a bunch. So I think the only thing we don’t have is Wiener Schnitzel or an Ikea; otherwise, we have everything readily available in Northern California.

Traffic in California vs. Idaho

Dave: Well, let’s touch on that traffic briefly. So you lived near Interstate 80 between Sacramento and San Francisco?

Brian: Correct.

Dave: There’s nothing out there. I mean, why should there be any traffic there? And how does that compare to what we have here?

Brian: Yeah, it was Highway 80. In my experience, Bay Area people have wanted to get out of the Bay Area. And every afternoon from three to seven o’clock, it was just a parking lot — sometimes both ways. Compared to Highway 84 in the Treasure Valley area, you have at most half a million people between all the major towns and all the other smaller towns. And the design of Highway 84 back when they had planned it out was well-thought-out. There’s no infinite number of on-ramps and off-ramps, so the overall Valley Road grid is designed on a one-mile square grid.

Dave: You could take a back road if there is a wreck or something on the freeway.

Brian: That happens a lot. Since all the roads are parallel to Highway 84, if Highway 84 experiences some traffic accident that shuts the thing down, you could pop off on one of the off-ramps, go up a couple of miles, and then go a parallel route and get to your destination.

Weather in California vs. Weather in Nampa

Dave: Nice. So the Central Valley of California, can we compare the weather from there to here?

Brian: We have all four seasons in Idaho. So in the summertime, you’re pushing a hundred degrees. Wintertime, you’re going to have some snow. Most of the snow that I have experienced melts by lunchtime. It’s a light dusting — just enough to be pretty and make great photos for your friends. And then spring and fall are about comparable. I did a lot of gardening, growing flowers and whatnot in California. So if you like citrus, lemons, oranges, you can only do that here if you build a greenhouse because they will not survive the winter. But as far as tomatoes and peppers and all those other garden staples, we’ve been very successful with those here.

Shopping in Nampa, Idaho

Dave: Excellent. Let’s talk about Nampa. You’re talking about you having all these shopping things. How is your shopping experience when you need something? For example, do you have a place to go if you need a part to fix one of your cars or something? I mean, we don’t have Pep Boys anymore.

Brian: As far as car parts, within five miles of where you decide to live, chains like O’Reillys and Auto Zones will be there. We have an auto mall here, so all the major manufacturers and dealers are in Nampa. Of course, you can always take your car to a recognized authorized factory dealer.

Dave: So that’s great for the guys. What about your wife? Does she have any problem finding someplace to shop?

Brian: No. As I said, most of the nationally recognized businesses in California have a presence in the Treasure Valley. As for some of the more obscure ones, you might have to go to Boise. But as far as all the items that my wife would go to, they are in the area.

Family Life in Nampa

Dave: Speaking of your family, you’ve got a son who has grown up over the last four years here in Nampa. How does that compare to his time back in California?

Brian: There’s more tolerance and encouragement to enjoy nature. From Nampa, Treasure Valley area, you can go one hour in any direction and get a different outdoor experience. Go south, and we are in a high desert, in dunes. And if you’re like in motorcycling or off-road vehicles, you can do that. You go an hour north, and now you’re in the hills. You can find some natural hot springs and go hiking and explore those areas. You go an hour west and go camping, fishing, and hunting. So those are all activities that are encouraged.

Brian's Advice to People Thinking of Relocating to Idaho

Dave: Nice. To wrap this up, if you advise someone in California, Oregon, Washington, or any other state, what should they consider before relocating to Idaho? What processes should they go through to check out the Treasure Valley?

Brian: We had a robust discussion with our family about what we saw ourselves doing in a couple of years or the next ten or 15 years. Also, assess what activities, hobbies, and other things bring meaning to your life. Finally, list those out and ask yourself, “Are we allowed to do this in California, Oregon, or Washington without getting too much pushback or micromanagement from authorities?”

When we did that, we realized we were interested in many things, such as working on cars. We got to the point in California where working on your vehicle in your garage was getting to be verboten. We found that Idaho is much more tolerant and rational. It’s certainly not a do-whatever-you-want aspect, but they’re more forgiving. So there’s a viewpoint of people understanding and respecting each other, working together, and trusting that you will do the right thing and not harm each other. So Idaho allowed us to check those boxes off.

Dave: Should you talk to an agent in the Treasure Valley to get more information?

Brian: Certainly. Reach out; do your research. We met Treasure Valley Dave, who spent much of his time taking us around, not just pigeonholing us into one particular town or neighborhood but showing us the whole bell curve. So we spent two days checking out the upper and lower ends of the pricing, what’s available, and, more importantly, what your housing dollar gets. And that was exciting because comparing what your California housing dollar gets you versus your Idaho housing dollar was very eye-opening and encouraging and allowed us to rethink and take the leap.

Dave: And are you glad you made that leap?

Happiness Level in Idaho

Brian: Yes. Our family overall is much happier. I have check-ins with my son and my wife about it. “Do you want to move back?” The answer is always “No thanks” or some other version. 

I’m also certainly much more at ease here. I can go in our front yard, enjoy life, and feel safer knowing that we can do what we want and enjoy our life and not be perpetually under assault by forces we disagree with.

Wrapping Up

I hope you guys got some encouragement from that and a little education. And if you know somebody that needs to see this interview, please share this video, like it, and subscribe to our channel. You can also contact us or check out our resources on the website for more information. 

Until next time, this is Treasure Valley Dave. I look forward to helping you get home.

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