Sometimes it seems that my family has lived many lives. We started out in a tiny efficiency, moving to a larger two bedroom across the street when children arrived. Next it was onto a duplex in a busy, family friendly neighborhood. Then, we settled in a large home in an almost suburb-like, quiet university neighborhood with tall stately trees and late night philosophical conversations shared from front porch to front porch. After separating from my husband of eleven years, I moved my kids to an inner city housing project with lots of hustle and bustle and people and play. After six years there, we came to our current home. A teeny-tiny trailer on a three acre wooded lot out in the middle of nowhere.
How do you make the transition from inner city to rural life? It wasn’t too hard for me. I grew up in the country, and although I spent 20 years or so living elsewhere, I am still a country girl at heart. The inconvenience of not being able to easily walk to a store or library, is greatly overcome by the peace of our woods, the beautiful view from every door and window, and not having to share our property with others.
I was not sure that the transition would be as easy for my children though. They were use to having friends to play with from early morning to late at night. They could go to the corner store and buy themselves ice cream, and haunted the library and playgrounds and swimming pools with little adult supervision. There were plenty of people around, and most of the places that they wanted to go were close to home. Bikes were fun but unnecessary. I was worried that they would feel isolated out here. My fears were unfounded. My kids are very resilient and see the adventure in every situation and love their new home.
Not all who move to the country have such a pleasant experience though. If you are considering moving to a rural neighborhood, it is important to do your research before you go to make sure it is really right for you and your family. Then follow these tips to make the switch as smooth as possible.
Realize that in the country your car is your life line! You will depend on your trusty vehicle to get you to work, the grocery store, the doctors, and anywhere else you need to be. It is important that you have a plan in place for that inevitable morning when the car won’t start. Do you have a second vehicle? Is there someone in the neighborhood who you are friendly with who might give you a lift? It is wise to keep some cash set aside for an emergency taxi trip if need be along with the number of the closest taxi company. Some companies serving rural areas will negotiate a price with you before your trip so be sure to ask about rates when calling. It is also a good idea to keep up to date on your routine maintenance schedule keeping your car in tip-top shape.
Remember that bad weather has more severe consequences in the country. In the city, it usually doesn’t take too long before the snow from a blizzard is cleared away. Power outages after thunderstorms tend to be shorter too. In the country, heavy snow might prevent you from getting out for a week. Make sure that you keep stocked up on necessities like food, paper goods, and medication. Have a plan for dealing with power outages including alternative heat sources and having easy to prepare food on hand at all times. Frozen pipes are also more likely in the country. Having a few gallons of drinking water put away just in case is a good idea.
Meeting your neighbors in the country might take a little more work than in the city, but it is definitely worth it. Be proactive and make the first move. You’ll be happy to have someone to turn to in an emergency, and you just might make a new friend. Take the time to ask a few questions; neighbors will probably know where you can take your trash and get your dogs licensed, etc., and can probably give you quicker more accurate information than the yellow pages.
Living in the country isn’t for everyone, but if you decide that it is right for you it can be a wonderful change! Enjoy the peace, quiet, and beauty of your new life.