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A Year of Small Town Life
My parents house, a week after we moved in.

A year ago today, the snow was piled high (ok, high by a southern California girl’s standards) and we moved to Tehachapi, a small mountain town about 100 miles outside of Los Angeles and Simi Valley, where we both spent the majority of our lives. Moving from a city of 100,000+ to about 10,000+ has been interesting. I honestly didn’t expect it to be that different, but it’s definitely something I had to get used to. The first month was good, but for a few months after that I kind of had this weird inner conflict with myself as I got used to it. Now? I love it.

A Year of Small Town Life
Blaine & I right after we got our keys!

Blaine and I decided we wanted to move here a few years ago. Real estate is cheap and we knew that we could build an amazing life for ourselves if we could just escape the premium (among other things) of living in or around Los Angeles. Neither of us have ever been interested in the corporate world, living in a cubicle for 50 years and waiting to retire so we could just begin enjoying life. Neither of us live for a career, that’s just who we are. We bought our house at the ages of 24 and 25 off of one income. Blaine working full time and living in a place like Tehachapi has given me the freedom to really peruse opening a business. If we bought a house like ours where we used to live? 1800 sq ft, new appliances and flooring, 1/3 acre (usable, not mountain/unusable) lot. I can bet you we paid 1/4 or less and that’s the reason we’re going to be able to live a full life from the beginning. The thousands of dollars that we’re saving on a mortgage each month and the hundreds of hours each year that we’re saving because we don’t spend our entire day working overtime and commuting can be used for travel and doing what so many people work hard to hope to do later in life.

Crazy fact: If Blaine and I stayed where we grew up, Blaine kept his current job and I stayed at the job I had right before we moved? We would be spending 812+ hours a year commuting. That is an entire 33 days in our cars, going to or from work. A month each year of our lives wasted.

Now about living the small town life that I love so much. The air here is amazing, you can feel how fresh it is and the blue skies are gorgeous. The clouds move by so quickly, I’m assuming because we are higher up at about 4000 ft above sea level. When I lived with my dad in a gated community about 10 miles outside of town I would see deer almost daily. Hawks, quail, rabbits, they are everywhere. And did I mention we actually get seasons? Like I said, the day we moved here there were a few inches of snow on the ground. We get them all: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.
 

A Year of Small Town Life
Woodpecker. There are so many!

This small town life is slower paced. People who live here aren’t always on the go, in a rush with no time to stop and relax. I never really realized how stressed and rushed people were in Simi Valley and LA until I came here. Sure, it’s annoying when I want to get a package mailed and the people at the Post Office seem to know and chat up every single person who comes to their counter, but I’m getting used to it too.

Cheaper doesn’t mean we sacrificed. The only things we’ve sacrificed are being close to family and friends (100 mile drive is so doable) as well as the conveniences of having a plethora of stores to shop at. We are 30 miles away from a city of over 300,000 so when we need something we can’t get in town, we make a mental note and drive down there a couple of times a month. It’s not the end of the world, but it did take some getting used to. I also buy a lot more online, especially Amazon.

A Year of Small Town Life
Road on the way to my dads house.

Did I mention no traffic? Oh my god is driving in LA the worst ever now that I’m used to driving here. Sure, there are a ton of one lane streets here, but it’s still much less congested. Blaine is starting a job in March (BIG NEWS! SO PROUD OF HIM!) in town, four miles away. We timed it. It takes less than six minutes. Where we used to live our house was about three miles from the freeway. I can’t even tell you how many times it took 10 minutes to get there. Six minutes to travel four miles, or 10 minutes to travel three miles?

A Year of Small Town Life
Instagram photo from the farm where we cut down our own Christmas tree.

Now this town isn’t for everyone — there are more cowboy hats and boots than I imagined and if you’re the type that needs to go to a new restaurant or out to a club several times a week it may not work out for you. Blaine and I? We are homebodies who go out to eat a few times a week. That’s it. And we’re fine with the cuisine here, we haven’t even been to half the restaurants in town because we’ve become regulars at a few and just can’t stop going back!

People are so nice here. I can’t even count the times I’d be on a walk and someone waved as they drove by. Where ever I go, the grocery store, Home Depot, etc people are always friendly from the people working there to the people shopping there. Blaine’s car battery died at the post office last week and we had over four people stop to help.

Basically, I traded the conveniences of living in a big city and having to deal with a few people who dress like they’re cowboys for: the ability to spend our time and money on what we want, beautiful natural surroundings, all four seasons, friendlier people, no traffic and the ability to go to LA whenever we want to have fun and then come home to our relaxed small town life.

I love the life we’re building here and I think it was the best decision we could have ever made!

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