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Downsides of Living Rural  RSS feed

 
Su Ba
pollinator
Posts: 966
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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I meet so many people who think it's great to move way out into the countryside, then when they do they are aghast to find that they....
...don't have cable TV
...only have dial up Internet
...have to drive 2 hours to buy shoes, socks, underwear
...are so far from a hospital that a helicopter is needed for real emergencies that's often not fully covered by insurance
...no veterinarian, let alone a pet groomer, within hours. Or a local vet is only available 1 day a week.
...the closest movie theater is 1 1/2 hour drive away.
...they have to drive 45 minutes to get a gallon of milk that they ran out of.

I know that I've be one a regular customer with Amazon Prime. That makes living rural easier for me.

What else do people miss and how do they deal with it?
 
Todd Parr
pollinator
Posts: 1163
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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I lived in Denver, Tacoma, and then Phoenix before moving back to rural WI. What do I miss? The crime, the noise, the traffic, the stress, ... Oh wait, I guess what I miss is nothing I am an Amazon Prime customer too, and while the area I'm in is rural, I'm only 15 minutes from a town that has a Walmart (ugh), fast food, gas stations, a hospital, etc.
 
John Weiland
Posts: 921
Location: RRV of da Nort
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@Su Ba: "What else do people miss and how do they deal with it?"

I guess I've always thought that the most important issue that will be dealt with by those moving from an urban to rural situation will be psychological/emotional. The cognitive aspects of how to grow food and how to outfit and heat a dwelling pale in comparison to how to do this move successfully without having a "withdrawal crash" from being unplugged from one's standard addictions. But by envisioning these shopping and entertainment pleasures as just that ...... as addictions....it becomes a bit easier to confront one's inner void when hovering over the "buy with one click" button. Since I know what "buy with one click" refers to, you can tell I'm still in recovery
....but working on it nonetheless.
 
Karen Donnachaidh
pollinator
Posts: 706
Location: Virginia (zone 7)
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I do wish that where I live had better internet speeds and reliable TV signals but nothing past that really. I shop in town once a week and try to arrange any other appointments to be on that same day.

I've lived in a rural area all my life, except a brief couple of (miserable) years in town. I've worked (for businesses) in town and I've owned a business in an even larger nearby town. After I sold my business, I was asked by a neighbor, "Don't you miss people?" No, I don't. I enjoy the peace and quiet here at home. I've got friends here on this site. And, whenever I want, I can always "unplug" you.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I sometimes miss the fantasy of living and working in "Hollywood", but it was so stressful, I don't really miss it. I sometimes think I miss people from work, but then I realize they were more colleagues than friends and just hearing a little news about them on Facebook is sufficient. I don't even miss them enough to actually join Facebook myself; I just get the gossip from my husband.

So no, I don't really miss anything about the city.

 
Matt Stern
Posts: 39
Location: Williams, OR
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Not too much that I miss, but driving 50 miles roundtrip to town twice a week for our kids' gymnastics is getting tiresome. We love living out here and also want our kids to have opportunities like that, so we make the tradeoff.
 
Roberta Wilkinson
Posts: 175
Location: Washington Timber Country
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I do miss inexpensive high speed internet. We had to have a T1 line run out here for my work, so we party like it's 1999 and pay through the nose for it.

I've gotten around my old habit of running to the store every day by a combination of freezing and learning to make more things from scratch. All our produce either comes in from the yard or out of the freezer. I've learned to make things like tortillas, "cream" soups, burger buns, and fake meats from scratch from ingredients we always have on hand, so I can always whip up a batch if need be. I've developed a pantry that almost never lets me down at this point.

Prime is our friend too. Usually, even if the price isn't the best, once you factor in gas and drive time, it's a bargain to just have things sent out.

I do wish there was a closer option for live theater. I'm a theater major, and I enjoy watching it and would even like to participate if I could do so without an hour commute each way. Maybe in my someday retirement I'll start a community theater in our nearest very-small town.
 
Kj Koch
Posts: 22
Location: Jersey Shore PA
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it's been said before but yes internet would be nice all I have is this phone to deal with it all but it's what I have and I'll gladly take that for the payoff quiet and people not looking over my shoulder.
 
Judith Browning
Posts: 5859
Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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After forty years back in the woods, in the end I missed community...people. 
At different times during that period I missed food and warmth   never tv, internet, flush toilets and close grocery stores or hospitals.  
We live in a very small rural town now and it is a great fit for us.
 
Emily Smith
Posts: 65
Location: West Central Georgia
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Well...we live in a neighborhood, 6 miles from a movie theater, 20 minutes to a hospital, 1 mile to the nearest gas station, 5 minutes to the nearest vet.  We opted out of TV 7ish years ago, buy most of our clothes online, haven't been to a movie theater in over a year (4 years for my husband), and try to avoid the vet as much as possible.  Internet might be an issue because my husband's hobby is gaming and Netflix, and the hospital may or may not be an issue--no insurance and a child who's allergic to fire ant venom.  We don't use much milk anyway, and try to buy enough to last between grocery runs.  I'm looking for ways to get groceries to my door, in one way or another.  I'd sort of miss people, but we're really not that social anyway.  I would like to be able to offer my kids opportunities in their areas of interest, whatever those end up being.  So far none of them require access to a population center, but they may in the future. 

Other variables are keeping us out of the country, not issues of access.
 
Ryan Sharon
Posts: 37
Location: San Francisco/Gualala, Ca (zone 8)
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We did a fair amount of homework before getting our place but, here's my list of pros and cons:

PROS:

Clean air: we have miles of wooded mountains separating us from the nearest city. The air is so much better up here that I sometimes get allergies when I go back to the city...I've never had allergies before in my life!

Quiet: need I say more?

Awesome neighbors: this will be a hit and miss, depending on where you are I guess.  About a month after we moved here, we were making seed balls and a neighbor came to visit, looked at them and said 'oh...Fukuoka!'.

Freedom to do what you want: we have 40 acres to play on and have only gotten around to projects on the first 2. Lots of room to experiment. And lots of zone 5 to just enjoy.

CONS:

Infrastructure: we have power and water, but limited buildings; we basically started out living in the 120 Sq ft pump shed, then were gifted a small RV, until we finally built our 120 Sq ft 'bedroom'. We have a well that contains ridiculous levels of iron hydroxide (has to oxygenate before you can filter it), no workshops and limited funds to build.

Internet(?): pro and con here. We can't get cable/dsl, but we are within decent range of a cell tower. Basically, we can watch Netflix (or download the digital version of the wheaton labs RMH workshop!), but we pay ALLOT for our phone service.

Limited work options: we still commute to the city about once a month so I can earn a decent income, but it's not ideal. When we were in the city full time I could walk or bus to work. I'm hoping to start a local business in the next year or so, but there are no guarantees of success.

Local regulations: technically, you can't move more than a cubic yard of dirt without a permit, building codes are strict and there is a ton of legislation to protect native everything. On the other hand, there are ways of adapting. A crafty friend pointed out that if we wanted for dig a pond and said pond just happened to be populated with endangered species (Red leg frogs in this case) the county couldn't do much about it.


All in all it was totally worth it, but there have definitely been sacrifices.

If there is one thing I would do differently, it would be to get a place with an actual house on it. Even if the roof was caving in, it is allot cheaper/easier to get permits for repair than building a new structure. A close second would be paying closer attention to the water report. Then again, our place was $200k cheaper than any other similar property in the area.
 
Dale Hodgins
garden master
Posts: 6683
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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I'm only at my place part-time. When I'm here, there is often a lot of gunfire across the river. I'm not far from the city and dimwits come out here to shoot down little trees, drink until they drop and snoop into every crevice. My tenant and neighbors have guns which they use for hunting deer. They don't go out at night and blast off 50 rounds into the bushes. Randy got his last two deer with shots between the shoulder blades and going through the heart. One shot each. He was able to drive the truck to both carcasses. No long slog through the wilderness for him.

I miss the relative privacy of living smack in the middle of Victoria. Out here we have two local busybodies who think they own the neighborhood. It's weird. One of them has 45 acres of his own, but spends an inordinate amount of time snooping around to see what others are doing. Another is a woman with three poorly behaved dogs. Several neighbors have agreed that if they see any of those dogs out without her, they will be shot and hidden.
.....
I paid far less than most of my neighbors for my land and I got far more. Many of them are on dry half acre lots with no view. I'm on 7 1/2 acres of the ridge overlooking the river valley and mountains beyond. I have water. Several neighbors have approached me out of the blue with low-ball offers for my place. This never happened when I lived in a regular suburban type neighborhood.
 
rowan eisner
Posts: 18
Location: Brisbane, Australia
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I've tried rural living a couple of times - once in my 20s and once in my 40s and I just can't do it. It's so lonely and isolated and I really miss the collective purpose and camaraderie of professional work. I wish there were a way to do collective permaculture in a location which isn't remote, but that just doesn't happen, at least not in Australia. I get the impression that most permies are north americans and that the culture is much more rugged individualist and people are happy to live alone or just with their nuclear family, but I haven't been able to make it work for me. I lasted 3 years each time. Any suggestions appreciated!
 
Nicole Alderman
gardener
Posts: 1435
Location: Pacific Northwest
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I'm "rural" but only 15 minutes via backroads to two town/cities (I got Lowes, Fred Meyer, Safeway, Goodwill, two farm co-ops, and a big craft store all 15 minutes away 20 minutes away is an organic restaurant, library, Home Depot, a big fish store and lots of antique stores). So, amenities aren't that far (though it was nice when I lived in the city and could walk half a block to Safeway).

The biggest downside I see is how far we are from people that we like. Even if we're only a 30 minute drive away, they see us as "so far away" that they won't come visit...even though they visit friends that they have to drive 30 minutes in city traffic to see. So, no one brought us meals or helped us when I gave birth to a colicky baby. Most of the time we've been here, we've had a baby/toddler...which makes anything longer than 20 minute drive feel like eternal torment (my child never slept in the car). It takes away spontaneous shopping trips and visits to people when everything has to be scheduled to allow time to drive home to put the kid down for nap. This also makes socializing the kid hard, because there aren't any other kids his age near by.

I'm an introvert, so most of the time it doesn't really bother me that I don't see people. But, I feel a lot of guilt for not being more social and for not having more playdates for my son. It's even more evident as I'm trying to figure out a baby shower guest list, only to realize most of my friends I haven't seen since I gave birth to my first child, almost three years ago.

Even so, I don't miss the loudness, the crime, the fear, the lack of privacy, and the lack of nature that I experienced in the city. I felt strangled there for the 4 years I lived there (I grew up on an acre in a subrural area). I just wish all my favorite people would be my neighbors, then I would have the best of all worlds .
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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I always thought permaculture was huge in Australia!  But I don't think many Australians hang out here at permies, they might be at the PRI messageboard: http://permaculturenews.org/forums/index.php

I think urban permaculture is a growing thing, if you Google "urban permaculture Australia" there seem to be a number of websites and projects.  If you give your location here on permies, it might be easier for people in your area to find you, or for people to help locate projects in your area.
 
Tyler Ludens
pollinator
Posts: 9740
Location: Central Texas USA Latitude 30 Zone 8
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Nicole Alderman wrote:Even if we're only a 30 minute drive away, they see us as "so far away" that they won't come visit.


We got that when we lived in the San Fernando Valley north of Los Angeles.  Friends living south of the Santa Monica mountains separating Los Angeles from the Valley wouldn't visit us, the mountain range was apparently just too huge to drive over....
 
R Scott
Posts: 3349
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Well, the phone company just trenched fiber to my house! So my biggest annoyance with country life is ending.
 
John Saltveit
gardener
Posts: 2091
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My neighbor just moved to my suburb because he felt very isolated in the country.
John S
PDX OR
 
Dana Jones
Posts: 126
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We moved to 8 acres north of Tyler, Texas. Our neighbors are a great community. There are a couple of neighbors that would be good to have in a SHTF situation, the others wouldn't have a clue, but are good people. We have satellite TV and internet and pay big $ for them. The nearest gas pump is 6 miles away. We are in the middle of 3 small towns, about 9 miles to each. We love our rural home and wouldn't exchange it for anything. We garden, raise sheep and chickens.
 
Abbey Battle
Posts: 85
Location: Wealden AONB
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Rural, ha ha. Here in England it might mean living at least 5 miles from the nearest town. Well, in the SE. There is virtually nowhere you can go and lose the noise of the conurbations. All traffic noise and aircraft. Drift from loud parties and schools. It's never really rural.
When I have lived more rural, milk came from the farm. (Never more than a 5 min walk away from the farmers door). It was great having so much stuff on tap. There was always some one you could chat up for this, that or the other.
I moved to a town and suddenly everything was so much harder.

As for the internet, middle of my field and I can still surf the www.

The trouble with people moving to rural locations here, is that they want all the countryside views but they don't want the farmer getting up at 4 in the morning and driving is tractor along 'their' lane.

Don't think I'd care for a large town or city. Mind, I do like being beside the sea.



 
Dana Jones
Posts: 126
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I wouldn't mind being farther off the beaten track, but we found a sweet deal on a repo, and it is only 7 miles from our daughter and family. That clinched it.
 
Tracy Wandling
steward
Posts: 1650
Location: Cortes Island, British Columbia. Zone: 8ish Lat: 50; Rainfall: 50" ish; sand and rocks; well water
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We live on 27 acres on a fairly remote-ish island, but are lucky to have decent internet (I work online), but very little phone service (which is fine with me). I think the only thing I actually miss is the ability to have food delivered to my door when I don't feel like cooking! Seriously. That's it. And the only other downside is that you have to take 2 ferries each way to get off or on the island, so 'going to town' is a bit of a trek. But we try to only go every two months or so, to stock up on stuff we can't get here (or that's too expensive to buy here). Other than that, I'm a perfectly content little hermit. Just looking forward to the day when our gardens and food forests are complete and producing more, chickens are giving us eggs and meat, and a couple of piggies are fattening up while gleying our ponds. Life is grand.
 
Amanda Gray
Posts: 10
Location: Ireland, hoping to return to Canada
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I'm not currently rural. I have been in the past, and I hope to be again, though.

I have different but compelling loves for both the city and the country. In the city I love being able to walk everywhere I need to go, and I appreciate the convenience and the social life that's waiting for me any time I want it. As I get older though, I find I spend almost all of my time in my own house and only go out when I really need to. When I lived in the contryside the last time I was a homeschooled kid, and we only saw "other people" on Sunday, and I didn't mind. To be fair I had so many brothers and sisters that even an isolated lakeside property in Canada wasn't remote enough for me! I used to build myself tiny hidey holes in the woods to get away from everyone else. I'm not as antisocial now, but I am very content in my own company and never, ever get bored. I live with a bunch of housemates now for frugality/footprint reasons and while they are very nice and I enjoy our chats, some of my happiest hours are when I have the house entirely to myself. As a single woman out in the middle of nowhere, though, I wonder how I'd manage the isolation long term. I would need a bunch of furry beings for close company, a couple of cats and dogs. Then I might be just fine.

My biggest worry about moving back out is good internet. The places I'm looking at property have relentlessly terrible internet access. At the moment that's not doable for me, as the job that makes me flexible enough to work from any location needs just one thing. Reliable internet. So that's something I'm going to have to figure out somehow. I could drive to a town to work in a cafe a few days a week if I optimised my schedule. It's not ideal, but it's possible.
 
Dana Jones
Posts: 126
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@Amanda Gray we don't have internet access so we opted for Hughes Net, which is satellite internet. It goes off in bad storms, but other than that it is reliable.
 
Lindsey Jane
Posts: 28
Location: Kitsap Penninsula, WA
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We live somewhat rural - on acreage and removed from town by about 20 minutes. But there are gas stations and a post office nearby...

Here is what I miss from living in a suburban neighborhood - my only child being able to run over to her friends house around the corner, or having her friend come over to our house. And various other kiddo's around for my kiddo to play with, all strategically located in the same housing development. Now that we are more rural, those opportunities are gone. There are kids around, but they are 2 miles down the road, or closer to town, or on the horse farm 20 minutes away. So that it now turns into an endeavor to get my kid together with her friends. And one I have to participate in with more effort than just making sure they don't hurt themselves or fight too much over the red haired Barbie Doll.

As a parent of an only (super curious, really outgoing, energetic and whip smart) kid - this has been the downside of living rural that I did not anticipate in the least.

As for everything else? No regrets, no downsides.
 
Kate Muller
Posts: 212
Location: New Hampshire
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We seriously thought about moving to a rural area but decided not to.  We chose to move to a place with 2.5 acres, zoned agricultural, ranch house that is 15 minutes from a small city.  The house is in a low density suburban/rural area. 

We wanted a place we could age in place or have my in laws move in with us as they get older. We may not stay here in retirement but we didn't want to need to leave if I need a wheelchair when I am older.  We are 15 minutes from 2 hospitals, most of my doctors, shopping, and many of our friends.
 
Being close to a city will make it easy to sell excess produce, eggs, and honey as we expand the food production. I am just starting to sell to friends and hoping to ramp that up next year.

My husband didn't want more than a 40 minute commute to work even if he switched jobs.  We needed high speed internet because he sometimes works from home.

We could have bought a larger property with a bigger house and out buildings for the same money but we realized we didn't need more than a 3 bedroom ranch house with a basement and a couple of sunny acres. We have the conveniences of suburbia and the quiet of a rural neighborhood. 
 
Glenn Darman
Posts: 29
Location: NSW Australia
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We moved out bush to get away from the ratrace...downsides,no I can't think of any.I work a casual job and only travel an hour to get there but it's a 45 mile trip and I know people that travel that long for less distance in the cities.The only problem I had when we first got out here was sleeping...it was so quiet I couldn't get to sleep.LOL
 
Steven Kovacs
Posts: 225
Location: Western Massachusetts (USDA zone 5a, heating zone 5, 40"+)
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We lived in big cities for years, then moved to a town of 30,000, which has proved to be a good solution for us.  The town is small enough that there's a real sense of community, and we're within walking range or a few minutes' drive of many amenities (hospital, schools, etc.).  There's enough going on to keep us interested as former city-dwellers, but it's much calmer and more peaceful than a city, and much greener, with farms and forests within the town itself.

I might consider moving again, to a smaller town or village (of maybe 5-10,000 people) on the outskirts of our current town in order to get some more space and nature, but beyond that point I think I'd feel too isolated - and I hate driving, so I want enough density that I can walk most places.
 
S Tonin
Posts: 41
Location: zone 6a, ish
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One thing I didn't see mentioned here (and forgive me if I just missed it): one of the downsides of rural living is wildlife, to some people.  I grew up in a weird little pocket of isolation between more populated locations; the nearest gas station/ supermarket/ library/ doctor etc was at least 11 miles and a 20 minute drive away and my bus ride to school was an hour and a half long (it still is for the neighbors' kids, 20 years later).  As a kid it sucks.  As an adult, it's tolerable, though driving everywhere is a pain and making a special trip for something is a major annoyance.  Having a 40-minute + commute one way everyday can wear on a person, too.

But the wildlife.  Most of the people in my county moved here in the great exodus from the NYC Metro area that started in the 90s.  They brought with them horrible traffic and chain stores (which was arguably a good thing, in the days before Amazon).  Many also fail to grasp that before their McMansions were slapped up, wildlife lived where their housing developments stand.  Bears in garbage cans and denning under porches, deer eating landscaping, bats and raccoons in the attics and crawlpaces, to say nothing of ticks just waiting to fall out of trees to give you Lyme disease.  In some cases, they really do pose a threat to the human population; rabies is a thing and household pets and bears don't often get along.  People want to be able to walk on their newly-paved roads with their babies, but you can't push a stroller when there's a bear that's lost its fear of humans hanging around. 

Even the wildlife (now conveniently relocated from little NY to the even more rural parts of the county that border state land, like my household) can bother the locals.  I expect deer to mow down something in my garden, despite all my precautions, with turkeys cycling through in spring and fall to scratch up seedlings.  I expect bears to empty and possibly destroy the bird feeders at least three times in any given summer.  I expect to freak out when I find a tick on myself, obsessively checking the area multiple times an hour for signs of the dreaded bull's-eye.  Bears have killed our pet chickens, rabbits, and ducks in the past.  A hawk picked off a whole litter of semi-feral kittens this summer.  I've hit too many animals with my car, no matter how much I try to avoid it (It's like you don't come of age until you hit a deer around here).  Coyotes were kind of a legend 25 years ago, but they're all over the place now, killing cats and eating chickens, howling at night to scare the bejeebus out of you as you're just falling asleep.

All that being said, I do love being able to look out my kitchen window and see the deer and turkey walking through the woods.  It's still thrilling to find bear poop that I can knock apart with a stick to see what it's been eating (owl pellets are like gold nuggets in their rarity).  I love finding snakes and salamanders and toads while working in the garden.  I love nature, even if it isn't always my favorite neighbor.

Another downside to rural living can be the roads and road maintenance.  I'm lucky to live on a road that my township maintains, since it's a well-traveled shortcut to the jobs and stores in the urban areas to the south.  Unfortunately, that maintenance and paving stops at the county line, so there's a one mile long stretch (The Gauntlet) of barely-maintained dirt on the side of a mountain with no guardrails that has to be crossed to get to the promised land.  Residents see it as just part of the cost of living here, but visitors are appalled.  Other roads throughout the county are in pretty sorry condition (and don't even get me started on the bridges), and winter maintenance is a crapshoot.  There have been years the townships have run out of salt halfway through the winter and state aid to purchase more didn't arrive before the next wave of snow and ice (at least they closed the schools for a week, but everyone still had to drive to work on those roads).
 
Annie Lochte
Posts: 57
Location: The Ocala National Forest. Florida, USA
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I love my semi-rural living! I bought a trailer on 3 acres 25 miles from town as a retirement home but ended up moving here full time 3 years ago. Im still 10 years from retirement age and I work in town, but got a job where I could work 3 nights a week so as to not be driving that 65 mile round trip 5 times a week. Where I am there are lots of people living but there's lots of woods and I have to look hard to see neighbor houses. There's a gas station/convinence store 4 miles away, a grocery store and hardware 8 miles away and town is 25 miles... (big box stores, hospital) I grew up pretty much entertaining myself and although I do get lonely I am happy enough hanging out here with the dogs, goats, horse, chickens, plants, etc... The roads out this way were terrible but just recently my tax dollars improved them to the point where I could ride a bike along the edge... Something that was a bit to dangerous before... The power seems more solid here than in town, all the hurricanes over the years power only out here 48 hours but out for weeks in town. My Internet is a jet pack that works fairly good but the phone service (cell) is sporadic. I would love to go solar for power and find some reliable local source of income (taxes, you know) and ditch the intown job...I would probably know more neighbors if I didn't have Internet.....
 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 251
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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This is my experience (and my partner’s) and it's positive, but I read sympathetically the concerns expressed above.  I've only lived in big cities for about five years of my life, part of that time for post-secondary education and then a work/money-earning stretch.  I’ve lived in small towns and smallish cities.  But mostly I’ve lived in a few different rural areas.

I like being close to nature and being an observer and student of nature.  I’ve found may others in my area who are similar in this respect.  My partner and I know a lot of organic gardeners.  I know quite a few guys who build (houses, shops, outbuilding) - so there’s the whole handyman thing to share.  I know guys I can call on if we have something very heavy or awkward to lift or move around.  There’s even a circle of people whose politics are close enough to ours that we can comfortably exchange views about politics.

Really appreciate that crime is low here, homelessness is low, noise is usually limited to the occasional chainsaw or tractor or mower at a neighbour’s place during the day, or to my own use of such machinery.  It’s quiet at night.  If there are busybodies here, we don't know of them!  Some of the real interesting people here are artists or musicians, either part-time and amateur or professional.  A couple of cafés enable socializing any day, and people get together for potlucks on the small household or larger community-center levels.  Boredom isn’t an issue, since we both do and make a lot of things.

Internet service has become pretty good here, though it wasn’t until about 2009.  I’m a member of numerous interest-specific web forums, and I get good technical info sometimes from the web.  My partner is an artist and she has a website for business, and otherwise just uses email and news media.  She does say she’d like a little more frequent visits to big-city art galleries, but she visits those maybe four or five times each year, and she’s on the board of directors of a couple artists’ associations and communicates by conference call and email for those.

We shop in the town that’s an hour’s drive away, and we borrow books or DVDs from the library there (or from friends closer to home).  Once or twice a year we shop in the larger city (approx 125,000 population) that’s a four-hour drive away.  We also do a little internet shopping… not much.  We’re happy not to be “consumers” in the sense the term is usually applied.

As I’ve expressed on other threads, one of the options that we like here is knowing neighbours or people in our community.  One of the advantages that makes possible is the occasional work party for larger tasks or projects.  https://permies.com/t/39844/Share-barn-raising-type-stories#487437

Yeah, probably nearly half of what makes this lifestyle fulfilling is community.  I’m sure this bit of advice won’t apply to anybody posting on this thread, but ‘just sayin’…  It’s disadvantageous if people define themselves as “permaculturists” if that takes the form of separating themselves from the larger community in which they live.  Get to know people, you’d be surprised what you can learn from each other and what you can appreciate in one another.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Posts: 1220
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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I have to admit that I'm a bit of a foodie, and so I actually miss a variety of restaurants from the city (Vancouver), including raw food places, Eastern, African... lots.   Exotic food markets with bulk spices and fresh exotic veg.  Because I can be a bit of a guacamole freak, I particularly miss cheap ripe avocados!  I miss giant farmers markets!  I miss cheap and used bicycle supplies.  I miss cheap mountain/hiking supplies.  I miss the thrift stores.  I miss better recycling facilities.  I miss the conscious community of activists that are in the city and are willing to put huge energy to protest and force the bureaucracy to change.  

........all that said, I live in what I consider a nearly ideal place (apart from the fact that it was -30C (-22F) this morning!!!-ack!), my hamlet community is 400-ish people spread over a 40km stretch of the river valley with a general store/post office which has most of all I need.  The two villages that bookend the local economy provide most of everything else, and I drive to one of them to work anyway.  The vet is just down the road and specializes in farm animals instead of just pets, but at this time I don't have critters.  We have a thriving community center that is the result of the community taking over the school when the government closed it.  We battled hard and got National media coverage, and actually won the court case, but it was too late to save the enrollment... so they won in the end on that part of the battle (to close it as a school).  So... We bought it!  ...and paid the mortgage off in 5.5 years (a year and a half ahead of schedule) by local fundraising.  Yesterday we had our 100th annual Christmas Concert in the School!   

I miss Movie theaters, sometimes... I used to watch quite a few movies in the city.  But... Our local theatre troupe, Wishbone Theatre puts on an annual show and several smaller ones that are worthy sellouts.  I see more independent live music, and support more local people here than anywhere I've ever lived.  In the city, music is expensive, sometimes clique oriented, and crowded and often in places with unfriendly vibes. 

We actually have cell service and highspeed internet, but... we also have an obnoxious huge steel tower with chain-link fence and barbed wire beside our community hall to get it.  
 
Roberto pokachinni
pollinator
Posts: 1220
Location: Fraser Headwaters, B.C., Zone3, Latitude 53N, Altitude 2750', Boreal/Temperate Rainforest-transition
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oh and I miss swimming pools, saunas, huge libraries, and all of the yoga and other studios that were at my leisure.
 
Peter Ellis
Posts: 1432
Location: Central New Jersey
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My wife and I haven't made our transition yet. Our land is only two hours outside Chicago, so there are elements of "how rural can it be" on one hand, but then there's the fact it is twenty wooded undeveloped acres backing on a large area of state game lands.  I've been commuting into Manhattan for work for about 28 years.  I am sure I'm not prepared for the transition, but it will take being there and making our new life to show me what the problems are.
 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 251
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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I commend Su Ba for sort of "taking the bull by the horns" with this topic, since many people might imagine the trade-offs between city or suburban life, on the one hand, and rural or woodsy life, on the other, are trivial.  I think the discussion above is realistic and very healthy to engage in.  People grasp, within maybe four or five years in the countryside, things about the "paved", "ready-made" world that do make everyday (and seasonal) life in suburb/city more convenient and cushier if you can siphon enough money and don't think much about ecology, self-responsibility for health, etc.

I'm glad Permies.com is a place where people are aware of Planet Earth as a biosphere and their local ecosystems as home, and where the people here enjoy using their personal creativity, intelligence, skills, and physical effort.

A few people posting brought up considerations involved with raising children - something that I'd say stretches from birth to the point where they're setting up their own households.  I think the discussion needs more consideration of it, as this area of life can present some real challenges.  And not just in terms of classroom schooling vs. home schooling, but in terms of how being parents alters adults' sense of their own life paths and how parents are required budget their time and financial resources.  For one thing, money earning (as possibly distinct, to an extent, from food production, etc) often comes to be seen in a different light.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying there are not positive outcomes or that there are no good responses to the challenges involved.  But I think there's room for more exchange about this in this thread.
 
Peter Kalokerinos
Posts: 94
Location: Hunter Valley, NSW, Australia
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Its funny that internet in rural areas is bad everywhere (if you class everywhere as the US and Australia that is )

This has been one irritating thing for us too. But in saying that, we dont really have much time for it anymore we we're busy on farm.

We lived in the same street in Sydney for 12 years (two different places only 150m apart). We've been on our new place for 9 months - 5kms to the nearest neighbour. We feel more at home here and more part of the community than we ever did.

Downsides:
- Internet
- Utilities (off grid power is stupidly expensive)

That's about it really. Everything else is great. Your needs and desires change....we've spent stupid $$ on equipment, and still more to go if the bank will allow it. So no sports cars, home theaters, flashy homes etc etc....things we previously valued, now we dont care. What would we rather, a new TV or an attachment for the excavator? who'd have thought the latter

We like not having other people nearby. We like the quiet (when we want) and we can make as much noise as we like otherwise.

We're not exactly remote though:
Its only 15 minutes for us to see new friends.
35 minutes to a town
~1 hour to a regional city
3 hours to Sydney
 
Della Miller
Posts: 14
Location: Hernando, MS Zone 7b clay soil
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Thank goodness somewhere to vent! LOL.
I was raised in the city, in Texas.  I met my husband and we lived in the DELMARVA area for several years (Delaware, Maryland, VA).  MY job moved me to Memphis, TN but we didn't like the city.  So we moved out further and opted for my longer commute, yay me. 
The internet is slower, we don't have that many options for tv/video/movies from our home devices but that isn't the worst. The worst and the biggest thing I miss about the city is the FOOD DIVERSITY!  You want to eat out??  "Town" is about 20 min drive, no biggie but your choices are BBQ, MEXICAN, Overpriced poor quality steak.  If I drive 40 min I can have the standard fair of food chains: On the  Border,  Red Lobster, Olive garden, fast food. DO YOU KNOW how long it took for these folks over here to have a sushi joint? 

I crave the variety of Vietnamese, Thai, Mediterranean, INDIAN FOOD.   I crave the grocer's many aisles of imported goods.  

I do not miss the traffic, the rude crowds, the crime of the city.  But I do miss the activities, the constant public access to festivals, street concerts, STUFF TO DO ON SUNDAY!  LOL. 

But the stars make up for most of that.  And the sounds of the owls, and working my own land.  We are REAL newbies at this permaculture, self-sustaining lifestyle but it makes so much sense.  The more I learn from these threads about how to make, grow or cultivate what I have been spending massive amounts of my money on the more excited I am to see it all grow.  For me, this is a NEW passion.  My husband gardened when we were in Delaware but the difference between there, and here is striking.
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 133
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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Yes, luxuries like ethnic restaurants, art galleries, nearby nightschool courses of interest, and non-frigid water to swim in, are no longer on the menu.  But that's okay-ish, as I've learned to make a good curry, and we've started a local craft gallery with guest artists showing.  Basic medical is only two hours away.  Even if it were next door, I'd do my best to not need it.  What I would really wish for is a veterinarian closer than 3 hours away.  Big box land is four hours away, and I try to keep my trips there infrequent...like years apart.

I used to order some things in through Amazon when shipping was free, but their new policy for rural places like this, is to charge an arm and a leg shipping.  I wanted a $25 book, for which they wanted $100 shipping.  I could send that self-same book from our little BC hamlet all the way across the continent to outport Newfoundland for around $20 via Canada Post; and there are no postal surcharges to mail anything here.  I'd be okay with paying reasonable shipping on a worthwhile item.  But no, Amazon's done the dirty, and being rural we don't qualify for Amazon Prime, either.  They've screwed the people who can most benefit from their business.  So I've parted company with them.  And no, I did not buy the book.  That's a service I miss.
 
Joel Bercardin
Posts: 251
Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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Regan Dixon wrote:I used to order some things in through Amazon when shipping was free, but their new policy for rural places like this, is to charge an arm and a leg shipping.  I wanted a $25 book, for which they wanted $100 shipping.  I could send that self-same book from our little BC hamlet all the way across the continent to outport Newfoundland for around $20 via Canada Post; and there are no postal surcharges to mail anything here.  I'd be okay with paying reasonable shipping on a worthwhile item.

A couple things: Are you talking about Amazon.ca? Amazon.com?  Both?  When did they put those shipping-rates into play?

I'm in southeastern BC, and last time I ordered a book or a small tool/device I wanted from Amazon the shipping rates weren't nearly so prohibitive as you're describing.

About ethnic food that cities offer...  I agree completely that it's very pleasing to have professional chefs prepare their cultural specialties as first-rate menu choices.  For us, too, we have to travel and be prepared to spend to indulge in that way - which is something we do at most a few times a year.  But you can teach yourself to cook some of these things at home, which is what we've done, and often with just your own (or locally available) ingredients.  True, you might need to buy flour, a few spices, etc.  But doing that and experimenting with recipes can reduce the craving.
 
Regan Dixon
Posts: 133
Location: Zone 4b at 1000m, post glacial soil...British Columbia
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Hello Joel, when I went to order early last year, I discovered this nonsense on amazon.ca.  Conversely, one could order in from amazon.com for about $10 in shipping and $2 in customs fees...and it's still Canada Post delivering for the last leg of the journey.  So amazon.ca's argument about the complexities of remote shipping just doesn't hold up, unless they've got themselves in an exclusive contract with a courier that doesn't do rural, and doesn't have an agreement with Canada Post, which some do.  Edited to add:  on the order page, they have a list of postal codes to which their "free shipping" restrictions apply.

But in this case I settled on placing an interlibrary loan order. 

For curries:  toast the spices in a dry pan until fragrant, then add the oil.  Magic!
 
I'm not dead! I feel happy! I'd like to go for a walk! I'll even read a tiny ad:
2017 Rocket Mass Heater Workshop Jamboree - 15 workshops in one event
https://permies.com/wiki/63312/permaculture-projects/Rocket-Mass-Heater-Workshop-Jamboree
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