Isn’t it mind-boggling how much the world has changed since 2020? For better or worse, the entire planet has been linked together by the awareness of COVID-19. And while it may not be every person, certainly millions of Californians are having a common thought come into their minds: I need to move out of this state! Perhaps you are one of them?

Everyone has a unique story (read my friend Erika’s story here) and I’d like to share a bit of mine with you. My name is Lindsey, I grew up in the suburbs of Sacramento, California, and left for college thinking I’d be a traveling musician off to see the world! Funny how life works, because instead I came back with a husband, bought a house, started having babies, and lived just a couple blocks from my own elementary school. Four kids and just over 13 years later, we still lived in that same modest (i.e. small!) home in Citrus Heights, CA.

The 3 bed 2 bath 1150 square foot home we spent 13 years in!

We loved our life there – our church, our family, our friends, our homeschool community, our girls’ troop, our neighbors. But even before the dreaded 2020 debacle, we wondered if California was right for us to raise our family. By the summer of 2021 the conversation changed to: “We ARE leaving California, but where do we go?”

I had hunches and feelings for places to live, but my clever husband actually made an elaborate spreadsheet ranking 15 different states based on the following categories: taxes, job opportunity, homeschool laws, gun laws, mask & vaccine mandates, Critical Race Theory, American Heritage Girls and Trail Life troops, and proximity to family! States got a 1-5 score in each category. For its final score, we weighted the categories based on importance to us. (Yes, we are nerds!) As we saw Idaho climbing the charts, I remember thinking to myself… Huh?!? This is our dream state?! All I knew about Idaho was potatoes and some crazy relatives, and the one city we’ve visited smelled like manure! But, oh ya, don’t we know that one nice family that moved there? Maybe it’s not so bad?

The first of many spreadsheets – a labor of love

So we started planning our “scouting” road trip – thankful to God for providing a month-long sabbatical from my husband’s employer just in time. Friends of ours had just taken their 3 little ones on a big RV road trip across the country, looking for just the right Red State to plant their family. I loved the idea of visiting several states, but our continued killer spreadsheeting and research made clear that we really only needed to see Idaho and visit some friends & family along the way. We used www.areavibes.com and www.niche.com/places-to-live to learn more about all the different places we wanted to visit (and charted our findings!). The trip was amazing, Idaho is beautiful (and not all smelly), and we fell in love with multiple cities!

We came home early October and discussed our findings for many weeks, not knowing which city to choose. Even our trusted spreadsheets couldn’t help us! But one thing we did know: Lord willing, we are moving to Idaho. Did my husband have a job there? No. Did we have a clue what our house might sell for and how much we could afford on a new one? Not really. Did we know how to handle needing the money from our sale in order to buy, and where we would live during the in-between time? Nope. Was the house a mess, in need of repairs, full of clutter inside and overgrown weeds outside, with four kids running around 24-7 because we’re crazy enough to homeschool them? Yes sir-ry. But we put one foot in front of the other, all the while keeping that dream of freedom fresh in our minds, and 3 ½ months later here we are in our gorgeous, brand new “Idahome”.

Got the keys January 18th, 2022!

I can’t imagine how this process would’ve been without the Lord. Knowing that He was always in control and had a perfect plan for us was a comfort I can’t explain. Whenever a door closed, we knew it was from Him. But mostly we experienced overwhelming grace walking right through the doors He opened for us. Don’t get me wrong, this was no sitting around and “let go and let God” scenario – we worked our tails off! But we know none of it would’ve been possible without God’s perfect guidance and provision. The victory belongs to Him!

Proverbs 21:31 The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Proverbs 16:3 Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.

If you’d like to hear more about our road trip or what happened over those 3 ½ crazy months following, leave a comment below! Looking forward to sharing my adventure with you and using the blog to procrastinate unpacking because let me tell you, it’s a beast.

38 Replies to “Our Story of Finding Idaho”

  1. I’d love to hear more of your story. When Rick and I moved out of California we too prepared a spreadsheet with the plus and minus of the various states we wanted to move to and then we started visiting those cities/states.

  2. Dan and Lindsey,
    So happy for y’all. We understand well, how hard it is to make a big move like this.
    As you know we did the same thing, only ended up in Northwest Arkansas, a truly Red state. The one thing I would stress for anyone looking to leave California is, put your hole trust in God, and just move forward. God opens and closes the doors, he’ll truly guide your way, if you trust in him. Enjoy your new home, and the red state. 😎

    1. Amen! Thank you, Kenny 🙂 Really enjoyed connecting with you over Facebook during that crazy time of figuring things out and loved hearing your story of getting to Arkansas! Hope to see it one day, it sounds amazing.

  3. I loved reading this story! And I would definitely like to learn more about the journey. We are praying for the same.

  4. Really enjoyed this. We are in the easy Bay Area and looking to love to meridian. How did you handle this part?: Did we know how to handle needing the money from our sale in order to buy, and where we would live during the in-between time?

    My main concern/worry/stress is not making the move even more difficult for our kids who really do not want to move at all. The logistics of selling our house and buying one in ID is freaking me out. Would love to hear more about how you navigated that.

    Looking forward to reading more!

    1. Those are great topics for future posts – thank you so much for the feedback! I’ll give you a couple of short answers of how things worked out for us:
      1) our CA realtor was AMAZING and got people to offer us free rent-back for a month after closing! We planned everything just right to where we were back in Idaho to house hunt one week after we accepted an offer and thankfully found what we wanted in just a couple days. We closed on our sale just a few days into escrow of our new home, and closed on our purchase with a week to spare on the rent back. Amazing!
      2) Taking the kids on that initial road trip was the best thing we could’ve done. Lots of fun stories to tell but in a nutshell that trip really got the kids on-board. That, and the fact that our house size tripled… and we promised to get a trampoline when we moved. Ha!

      1. Thank you so much for the info! (And I meant to say East Bay Area, not easy. LOL) can’t wait to hear more about your story!! And congratulations on your new home!

  5. Thank you for this blog! We are also praying for God’s direction in our lives as we plan the blue to red relocation. Enjoy your home and this new chapter in life.

  6. My wife and I have been here since August from SoCal. We are empty nesters now but this is our second glee from California. I absolutely loved reading your story but left wondering where you finally settled!😉

      1. We are so close to putting an offer in on a house in Nampa, but have lots of questions, which should pop up on the fb page once approved. Many blessings in your new home.

  7. Enjoyed reading your story and look forward to reading more. We sold our home in CA (East Bay) in July, left in August in a travel trailer with my husband and my 6 year old daughter. We started off by going to Disneyland, Legoland and San Diego beaches. Continued to AZ to see family then NV for more family. Went through UT to ID where we stayed put for a bit before coming to WA to hang with the in laws for the holidays. We are still in WA trying to decide where to go next when we hit the road next month. We are ready tonfind our new free state. Idaho has always been our number 1 but we want to see more of Northern AZ too. So back to ID for a bit then AZ, who knows.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. We have been planning to move to ID for a few years but the prices keep going up and up. My husband is focused on Tennessee and Florida. I’m not ready to move across the country. I like many things about ID. Proximity to California and being one of the least regulated states. Plus cost of living and politics. I’m a little worried about the weather. Brrr… I’m trying to talk my kids into moving with us but I think that will come later. We are looking in the nampa area as well. We are coming from the Auburn area. Looking forward to hearing more about your jouney

    1. I completely relate about not wanting to be far from family AND a bit worried about weather. Nampa has much milder winters compared to the rest of the state and the snow is just the pretty kind. The cost of houses is better in other cities (we really liked Idaho Falls!) but there’s more snow. Thanks for checking out the blog!

  9. So fun! We’re moving to Idaho in a few weeks for the same reasons… and are lucky enough to have 3 sets of family who moved there recently too! Which area did you end up choosing?

  10. This is an awesome subject for a blog. We moved out of WA just closed on our new (to us) home on Dec 23rd and moved in on Christmas Eve. We felt Gods guidance all the way. And we love it here in Idaho! I love your story and that you homeschool. Our kids are all grown now but public schools in blue states are rather scary these days. Will keep following this blog!

  11. Thank you for sharing! That’s a great story. We are coming from WA and considering moving to ID too. Praying for God’s guidance. We have four kids and homeschool too.

  12. I truly appreciate coming across this blog. We are in the process to relocate to Idaho as our daughter and family moved there last year. It’s been scary & somewhat frustrating and praying alot too. Just curious about how you picked Nampa? I’ve heard different things about Nampa as we are looking there & surrounding area-did you look in other areas too?

    Thanks so much in advance! Denise

    1. Hi Denise! I’m so glad you found us. We took a road trip and considered all of the Treasure Valley and the Idaho Falls area. I wrote about the road trip and shared some spreadsheets in my latest post – http://redstateramblings.com/red-road-trip-for-freedom/ 🙂 We liked that Nampa has a lot of new development and amenities but is also away from the city enough to be more affordable and also more conservative. If you don’t have one yet, I can recommend our realtor as he was extremely helpful and knowledgeable about the whole area and can help you find what fits your situation the best.

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