It’s long been an aspiration of many city-dwellers to pull up stakes and move to the country. There is a perception that life is calmer, more peaceful and there is less crime and violence than in the city. If you take regular vacations to the country, you may have an idealized view of what it would be like to live there, and dream of being able to move permanently. You may like the idea of your children growing up in a rural idyll and attending a small local school rather than an overcrowded inner-city school. You may just be fed up with the hustle and bustle of the city and fancy trying your hand at organic farming.
Your motivation can stem from a variety of factors, but before you start looking at real estate websites and handing in your notice at work, take some time to go over all the changes you will need to make in order to achieve your dream.
Life in the Country
The countryside is everything you have imagined and possibly more-Tranquillity, freedom, beauty, being close to nature, enjoying self-sufficiency and country pursuits, the fresh air and the friendly neighbors. It is also a real place, not a fairy-tale perfection. There is crime, access to illicit drugs and under-age drinking, bad drivers, and unfriendly people. Also, there are the same illnesses, accidents and random acts of God as anywhere else. Not to forget, there is also a lot of mud in winter and dust in summer, some very noisy farm animals, the roads get covered in mud and manure, nocturnal and creatures shriek through the night. Plus, there may not be facilities on your doorstep, so if you run out of milk, you must drive several miles into town.
That’s not to say the countryside isn’t wonderful – because it is! You just need to be realistic about what you will encounter if you live there all year round, or you will get a shock when the cows start lowing outside your bedroom window at 3 am.
What is your motivation? If you had always intended to change your lifestyle when you became established in your career, or when you started a family, you’re likely to have been planning for years for this kind of move. If on the other hand you have just become disillusioned with your job, split up from your partner or are feeling directionless, you’re unlikely to have thought about the potential upheaval logically and in sufficient detail.
If there are problems in your life, they are not going to disappear as soon as you move. You will just take your probklems along with you, and they will manifest themselves in other ways. Say you are finding it hard to get motivated to exercise, but you want to be fit and healthy. Your inner voice may be saying that all you need is to be out in the fresh country air where you can get away from exhaust fumes and run along quiet lanes. If you were happier and less stressed, this voice says, you would be far more motivated to exercise regularly, stop eating too much and take better care of yourself. The trouble is, your voice is mistaken. Problems need to be addressed at the source; they won’t be magically fixed by changing your surroundings.
Your chosen location may depend in part on how you intend to make a living. If you can telecommute with your current job or a new role, you could live pretty much anywhere. If you are looking for a new job you can wait until an opening comes up in the location you would most like to go to. Or you could be thinking about becoming self-employed, either by doing freelance work from home or by making a living off the land.
You need to match your budget to the prices of the property where you are considering living and make sure you wouldn’t be overstretching yourself for the sake of being a few miles closer to the more desirable areas in your target location. You might also need to consider any relatives or close friends you have. Are you thinking of moving to be closer to them? Or if you move will you be leaving them behind? If you have children what are the schools like, how far is it to get to the nearest town, what facilities are available and how far do you have to travel to reach them?
If you’ve thought long and hard about the reasons for your move and decided they are sound, and you have checked out all the amenities in the place you intend to move to, you should then think about the practical steps you need to take to get the project in motion. In many respects this is very similar to any other move – sorting out moving dates, getting quotes from local moving companies, arranging finishing and starting dates for jobs and schools and so on.
Planning the move is something that needs careful attention and can be very stressful – it ranks as one of the most stressful activities you can experience in your life. You want to have every single aspect of the move organized down to the last detail, so you all arrive excited and enthusiastic about your new home. It won’t be much fun if you’ve driven 2,000 miles and then discover you’ve left the keys to the new house on your old kitchen table.
Do you want to move to the country?
Moving to the country is not something to enter into half-cocked. It can be a rewarding and amazing experience, and it can bring you the peace and happiness you want in your life, but only if you are well-prepared and geared up for the changes you will face. You’ll find the change of pace and the lack of city noise strange, to begin with, but you’ll soon come to love the darkness of the night sky and the hooting of tawny owls in the woods. Just remember to take your boots, as there’s a lot of mud in the country!
If you do decide to move, make sure to check out my other moving tips!