The husband and I have found four properties that we'll hopefully be looking at soon. They're all near each other in a beautiful, rural area. There are towns nearby that will easily provide me with a job until we can get on our feet. Each piece of land has a water source, woods and fields, and is a pretty substantial bit of acreage. They're all cheap enough for us to pay with cash and have some money left over. In short, any of them would be perfect, we just have to choose the one that feels right.
Just one small problem - they're all in rural West Virginia. I know you're probably wondering why that's a problem. It's because we're Pagan, liberal, gay hippies. Ever seen "The Fabulous Beekman Boys?" We're that, but with more mohawks and djembe drums. I can't imagine we'll find any kind of like-minded community in WV, and I wonder whether the isolation will get to us after a while. Heck, I wonder if the neighbors will dislike us enough to cause problems for us.
So, what would you do if you found the perfect property, but the location wasn't so great? Buy or pass?
posted 9 years ago
If you feel like you will be isolated anyways, you might as well move somewhere that you feel safe and comfortable being yourself. I know that a similar piece of land in Boulder, or anywhere near the rockies, will be double or triple that of the WV land. This is a tough decision and you guys should really think about it. I know from experience that bad neighbors can really stress you out! Paz
posted 9 years ago
I'm pinned to this area because I share custody of my son with my ex, and I won't move more than a days drive from him/them.
I'm not scared of the locals, that wasn't my point at all. I just wonder if I'll manage to find any kind of community. Yes, we're fine being pretty isolated (and even want that, to an extent) but getting along with the neighbors is nice too, you know?
As an Animist/Pagan/Screaming Lefty, I've found it somewhat difficult to find like-minded community in a extremely conservative rural area, at least that doesn't require a LOT of driving. I get along with all my near neighbors and some of them I consider good friends, but we NEVER talk politics or religion. EVER. They probably assume I'm a Christian. They probably know I'm not Republican because my husband has worked as the alternate election judge at the local polling place and we've had non-Republican candidate signs on our place a couple times. The fact that we are a heterosexual couple probably helps us blend in.
Personally, and this is just my own experience, there's no particular reason one can't get along with the neighbors even if one is very different from them philosophically. BUT, in my case I am not flamboyantly different looking, dressing, or acting. My hair is slightly weird but not as noticeable as a mohawk. I tend to wear home-made but not very weird clothing. Though I host Pagan/Animist/Freethinker gatherings at my place, I don't put up big signs or have lots of drumming, etc. The neighbors have much louder parties than we do.
My main bit of advice is - be yourself, but don't flounce. Don't talk politics or religion with the neighbors, ever. Don't wear your biggest pentacle to the grocery store. Find something in common with the neighbors, like say, gardening, bird-watching, hunting. My husband fixed up an old 1965 Datsun pickup truck which is the smallest pickup truck in the county and always an icebreaker and social lubricant wherever he goes. Anything to do with trucks or tractors will help you get along in the country! Walking the dog on our one-lane road is also how we meet and chat with the neighbors.
buy the land and plant stuff all around your perimeters..mayI suggest a quick growing hedge of jerusalem artichokes mixed with some groundnut vines and protecting a bunch of baby trees !!
put your homes in the interior of the property (there shouldn't be a need for much snowplowing in that area) that way you are out of view..
heck in our area we used to have a nudist colony and no one knew they were there..they had a good system of hedges and trees
Bloom where you are planted.
posted 9 years ago
Thanks for the links and advice. H Ludi, I know you're right about all that, and I'm guessing we will have a lot in common with a lot of the people out in the sticks (we're gun enthusiasts, looking forward to starting to hunt this year, I love old cars, I'm dying to get ATVs and go 4-wheeling, etc.) I just hope our differences won't set us apart too much. I was very badly treated at a restaurant in WV once, and it has made me wary. We're not terribly flamboyant, but it's hard to hide some things. Regardless, the land down there is what we're looking for, so we'll be going to view a few properties soon and take it from there.
But, I don't think walking my big male rednose pit down the street will get me much positive attention from the neighbors. At least, until they meet the idiot and discover he's a huge softy. Appearances can be so deceiving.
Just be friendly and folks will like you just fine!
Try not to be put off by one or two bad experiences. When we first moved here (actually I moved back here with my husband) some character in a local general store asked "What's your politics?" My husband made some noncommital reply, but of course the true answer would be "Your worst nightmare!"
If you have time, offering to volunteer a couple hours a week or so in some local community effort - hospital, library, etc. might help your neighbors get to know you and get some community dialog and networking going.
As an Esoteric Pagan myself I am very happy with rural Pennsylvania. But I also don't advertise. People who know me personally know my belief structure, but I don't go out of my way to scream and shout.
I went to college in West Virginia. I was very naive and I thought that college was a place of progressive thought. Not when it came to religion. I couldn't believe how fast my "friends" became witch-hunting haters when they discovered I didn't hold Christian beliefs. This was 25 years ago, so hopefully things have grown.
I have met other Pagans here and there, but I am not a joiner, so I don't go looking for like minded people. I do keep my big mouth shut. Some good "love your neighbor" Christians become nasty torch bearing haters very quickly, even this day and age. I pulled my daughter out of her school district and we moved to get her out of a school that didn't discipline children OR teachers that harassed her openly about not being Christian. She is agnostic, and that isn't acceptable to some.
I do think that the Pagan communities are growing, and I wish you the best in your search. West Virginia is a beautiful state.
We will never have freedom of religion, until we can have freedom FROM religion.
Always put your eggs in one basket.........why would you carry two?
There are two openly gay women who have had their own variety talk shows. Ellen DeGeneres and Rosie O Donnell are both funny, intelligent women who have made no secret of their personal lives. But in conducting themselves publicly one has had much greater success in being accepted into our homes.
The Rosie O'Donnell show started out successfully enough with the proven formula of chat, entertainment and amusing guest characters. But somewhere along the line the tone of the show and her public discourse changed. The show became the "guess what Rosie's gay and she's angry about it"show and she involved herself in widely publicized vendettas with anyone who wasn't willing to completely buy into her personal agenda. It seemed that she wasn't just looking for tolerance but also for advocacy.
Ellen DeGeneres is familiar to anyone who owns a TV. I was pretty sure she was gay back when she did stand up on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. But her jokes and choice of subject matter when being interviewed didn't center around her personal lifestyle. When she came on you knew you were going to be entertained by a very smart lady, not preached at. On her television show the emphasis has always been on fun. She has involved herself in causes but not always those specific to her personal lifestyle. People of all walks of life and political stripes can watch Ellen knowing that it's never going to take a weird, uncomfortable twist. See exhibits respect for her parents, her partner, her pets and her audience. This puts her right up there with Elton John as a gay person who is loved and respected by a wide cross-section of society. They are known for their talent, humor and service to society. Both Ellen and Elton are widely known to be homosexual yet it's not the first thing to come to mind when we see them.
They have managed to fit in.
Companion Planting Guide by World Permaculture Association