Some people are just born for urban life, and love the bustle and busyness of the city. But even folks who thought they’d never want to leave the concrete jungle are starting to wonder what life beyond its borders looks like. That’s because city life, especially since the emergence of COVID-19, is increasingly hard to navigate, expensive, and filled with stress.
While it’s easy to envision a soft-focus, idyllic life in a pretty rural hamlet, there are pros and cons to country living.
In most places, for example, property will be more affordable as you move away from the city. It pays to remember, though, that country life may come with new expenses, like snow plowing, and travel costs. Garbage disposal may no longer mean simply carrying refuse to the curb, but driving to a dump—and paying to dispose of some types of materials. There may be requirements for things like septic tank cleaning and inspection. Wifi and hydro power may be spotty, and retail choices might be limited.
On the other hand, country living can boost health, especially if you take advantage of the landscape to increase outdoor activates like hiking, skiing, and skating. Getting outdoors is also good for mental health, as science continues to show us that time spent in nature contributes to our physiological well-being. When nature is on the doorstep, it’s so much easier to stretch, breathe deeply, and recharge with a little alone-time and some light exercise.
Smaller communities may also increase opportunities for social connection, another driver for health and happiness.
Typically, air quality is better in the country than it is in the city; and that’s a consideration for anyone with respiratory illness. Crime, too, tends to be much lower in rural areas—although that’s usually a function of population density. City living is also nosier; traffic, subways, industrial activity, and airports all add to the cacophony, which can lead to hearing loss over time, interfere with sleep, and exacerbate stress-related conditions.
Now that remote working is becoming increasingly common, it’s easier than ever to work from any location, including deep in the county. Once you get the hang of it, it can save you money on wardrobe and travel, add flexibility to your schedule and give you back those valuable hours formerly wasted on commuting.
If you find yourself day-dreaming of a life in the country, start by taking day-trips or weekend visits to rural areas within your current radius. Check out local papers and radio stations to get a feel for the community. Talk to store owners and service people in the area. Ask them what they like—and don’t like—about country living. Depending on the answers, you may find yourself taking the first step to a brand-new lifestyle.
Featured pic by Werner Sevenster for Unsplash. Inset pics by Vicky Sanderson.
This is a collaborative post. It was not reviewed prior to publication.