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General Discussion => Post-FIRE => Topic started by: Sun Hat on December 05, 2019, 08:19:12 AM

Title: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 05, 2019, 08:19:12 AM
I've been fantasizing about moving to the country for as long as I can remember, but have returned to the city where I grew up to retire. Life here is nice, I have a solid little house that I've done all of the necessary work to, I grow some of my own vegetables, have stores nearby, a place to volunteer, little bits of community, and the luxury of knowing that all of the services and conveniences of a city are at my disposal. However, it sure would be great to grow enough vegetables to donate to food banks and to have a lake to swim in.

I'm in Canada, so winters here are long and cold, but the only aspect that I mind is that if I lived rural, that might mean being snowed in until I or someone I hired plowed the road (I actually don't know about how often minor rural roads are plowed... something I should look into before making the move!)

I'd love to hear about your experiences with living in the countryside. How far from a city is so far that you feel isolated? Do you feel safe? Do you feel lonely? Is it a pain to have to commute for groceries, or does that make meal planning easier? Generally, what are the pros and cons, and do you feel that it's worthwhile to you?

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: LifeHappens on December 05, 2019, 08:55:27 AM
I grew up in a pretty rural hobby farm-type environment and now happily live in an urban center, so that's my bias. Just getting that out front.

Rural living can seem really quaint and romantic, but there are some aspects of it that can be quite difficult. You will generally have to deal with your own water/sewage infrastructure. Things like internet may be less available and will almost certainly cost more. You'll have to commit to purchasing (and maintaining) the equipment you need to deal with your property. If you care at all about keeping driving to a reasonable level you give up things like quick trips to the grocery store for a missing ingredient.

You bring up the idea of being snowed in. That's a definite possibility. The longest stretch I remember is about 5 days and I'm from about the same latitude as Toronto. There is also the possibility of power failures and the need for a secondary source of heat.

Also think about healthcare and access to decent providers. I don't know about Canada, but in the rural US there are many areas with chronic shortages of all types of medical providers. People with more serious medical conditions often have to drive hours away for treatment. To me this is the biggest downside of planning to age in a rural place.

In my experience, rural living works for people who pretty far on the introvert scale (like my parents) and who don't mind going without a lot of the conveniences of life in a more populated area. If that's you, then it might work.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: GuitarStv on December 05, 2019, 09:02:42 AM
My dad has a farm about an hour drive outside of Ottawa.  There's some stuff that he has to put up with that I never really consider in the city that echos the above.  Stuff like:

- Shit internet access that's expensive
- Paying extra to get Ontario hydro to hook up his house to the grid
- Power outages are pretty common when a large storm goes through, winter or summer
- They are occasionally snowed in.
- Using well water . . . and maintaining the equipment to pump it to your home/treat it.  Oh, and super duper hard water that absolutely requires use of a softener.

Access to a hospital isn't great . . . if you have any health considerations, expect to need to drive far away to a larger city to get any kind of specialist consult.  (My dad has had a few heart attacks and the ambulance showed up pretty quickly though . . . but they did need to take him in to Ottawa, which is a longer trip).
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Lucky Penny Acres on December 05, 2019, 09:45:35 AM
We live about 20-25 miles (depending what you count as city proper) outside a metro area of ~750k people in central NY state. 

It is very rural where we are. The "town" we technically are zoned for is 1,400 people total and there is a 5,000 person town about 4 miles away. The small town has a bank, a gas station, a drug store, 2 hardware stores, a handful of restaurants, a vet, a library and a small organic grocery store.  There are also a couple art studios that host musical events and art shows.

The area is very safe - there is more neighborhood concern after a local bear sighting than fear of crime generally. We live across the street from a lake and go swimming, kayaking and canoeing in the summer.

We don't feel very isolated - we are a couple miles from the interstate that gets us into the major city in ~25 minutes so while it is very rural, my wife can still commute to her job in the city in ~30 minutes (which is a shorter commute time than a lot of people who live in larger cities).  There is a nice little community here.

For major shopping, we do plan ahead and combine trips. Heading up to the main city for a doctor appointment? - might as well do a big grocery shopping trip while you are up there. Heading over the feed store? - might as well stop at the hardware store on the same trip.

We average around 10 feet of snow per year - but they are used to it in this area and clear the roads pretty quickly. We have never felt snowed in based on the roads except for a few hours here and there during heavy storms - sometimes we avoid travel on snowy days but that's usually because we don't want to go outside and use the snow blower to clear our driveway to get our vehicles out of the garage.  Many people in our area hire a plow service for a fixed annual cost and the plow comes each storm that dumps over a set number of inches and clears the driveway for you.

We have standard cable internet service (one of the criteria when we looked for a property was reliable internet access as I work remotely from home most of the time).

If you look around long enough, you can find a rural area with sufficient access to the things you need - not every rural place is truly out in the middle of nowhere - sometimes there are small pockets of nowhere not too far from somewhere.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: ketchup on December 05, 2019, 09:49:49 AM
I don't think I'm quite as rural as you're describing.  I live about four miles outside of "town" (city of 20k in an MSA of ~70k) measured from the street, but then I have a nearly-mile-long crappy driveway across a corn field to my house.

We had to have our driveway plowed only three times last year (the guy charged $75 each time, but felt underpriced for the job).  We got our cars stuck in mud multiple times in the spring thaw.  That was rough.

We feel safe since nobody ever comes near us.  And if they do, we seem them coming well ahead of them getting all the way back to our house.  Our house also is old and looks scary enough that anyone that comes back quickly high-tails it out of there.

It is a giant pain in the ass to be ~15 minutes (including the driveway) one-way from the closest decent grocery store, and I'm sure it would be worse to be even further.

Pros:
Close to nature and bike trails
Tons of space to do what we please with
Dogs are happy
Plenty of exercise built into lifestyle
Rent is cheap because nobody wants to live here

Cons:
Need to drive to get literally anywhere off the property
Shit internet service (6mbps/768kbps DSL for $78/mo)
Propane furnace so need to get that filled and time it appropriately
Our house is the only target nearby for "critters" like mice and worse
Mail service is a pain because USPS won't leave packages (need to drive to post office)
Our cars' suspension get trashed driving on the crappy driveway all the time
Cars get stuck in the mud during the muddiest times of the year (spring)
Well water that's kind of crappy and with low water pressure
More frequent power outages due to trees/etc
Power outages mean no running water as a result of the above two factors
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Monkey Uncle on December 05, 2019, 10:04:40 AM
I live in a small town in a rural area.  Not sure if that qualifies me to speak about the rural experience, since I live in a somewhat populated place (the town and nearby settled areas have a population around 10,000).  But it's definitely not what you would call and urban or suburban area.

I live near a hospital and a few grocery stores, but we don't have the choices that you would get in a city area.  Most people who require more than basic medical care end up going to places that are 1-3 hours away by car.  If you need anything from any kind of specialty store, that requires at least a 1 hour drive.

There are two decent restaurants in town, and one of those is so expensive that I wouldn't consider eating there more than once a year.

No such thing as "culture activities" here.  That requires at least a 3 hour drive.

Social/Political culture is generally very conservative.

No public transportation, taxis, Uber, or Lyft.  Nearest major airport is a 3 hour drive.

No such thing as a decent newspaper, although nowadays I guess you can subscribe online to whatever newspaper you want.

Car insurance is more expensive than you think it should be due to dangerous winding roads and a high deer population.

Streets in town get cleared of snow pretty quickly, but folks who live just outside town generally drive 4WD or AWD vehicles.  If they have a long driveway to clear, they usually own their own snow removal equipment (pickup or ATV with a snow plow).

Hurricane Sandy took the form of a massive snowstorm here.  My power was out for six days, and I live in town.  I know people who live just outside town who were without power for over two weeks, some nearly a month.  Many of those people bought expensive whole-house generators after that experience.

Abundant outdoor recreation opportunities.

Real estate is cheap compared to metropolitan areas, but I still think it is overpriced for the location.

Very low property taxes, and a sub-par school system to match.

Small town government sucks.  The general pattern is to ignore infrastructure issues until they become expensive emergencies.  Right now our town is paying higher and higher utility rates to cover a new water treatment plant, new water lines, and separation of a combined sewer/stormwater system. 

Terrible drug problem - opioids and meth, mostly.  This leads to an epidemic of domestic abuse, child neglect, homelessness/couch surfing, run-down housing, and petty property crime.  Violent crime is mostly limited to domestic situations, and we are generally free of big city-type violence. 

Law enforcement is sketchy because the town can't afford to hire enough officers and can't pay enough to attract top-notch candidates.  If you live outside town, and even in town in some cases, you'd better get used to protecting yourself and your property, because the police ain't coming any time soon.

No zoning.  If your neighbor decides to put in a junkyard, tough.

No traffic.  Great scenery.  Peace and quiet.  Despite all the negative stuff I listed, there's no way in hell I would move to the city.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 05, 2019, 10:25:19 AM
I grew up rural in Canada outside of Ottawa and you couldn't get me to go back with a gun to my head.
Like, literally, I would choose losing an eye instead.

People have covered most of it, but for me, it's the insular culture that I can't stand.

I go back regularly to my 1000 person hometown, and if I'm there for more than a few days, I start feeling like I'm losing my fucking mind.

It's gorgeous, it's quaint as hell, it's actually packed to the rafters with culture and things to do, far beyond what you might expect for a town even ten times the size. I get why people fall in love with it, but living there is like living in a cross between highschool and a cult.

The grocery shopping is a major hassle. Not just that it's crazy expensive, but the selection is piss poor. Although, if there are farms around, then it's easy and cheap to buy really high quality meat by the half-animal.

Medical care is oddly excellent, with a solid clinic and a full teaching hospital...in the middle of fucking nowhere, why? Who knows, but it sure is convenient.

As I admitted already, my hometown really is truly exceptional, cosmopolitan, and lacks most of the major downsides that small towns tend to come with.
Still...I wouldn't live there.

Really, it comes down to what kind of life you actually want to live. If you live in a way where you frequently hop out to run errands, like doing things spontaneously, get together with people, or hate small chat with vague acquaintances at the grocery store when you're cranky/hungover/sick/going through a divorce/just got fired/etc, then rural life may be a harsh reality for you.

I purposefully choose to commute pretty far for work just so that I don't run into my patients when I'm out shopping. My favourite part of the city is that there are so many people that it's easy to be invisible and antisocial if you want to. A pair of headphones and a serious look on your face is all it takes to speak to virtually no one even while running multiple errands and seeing thousands of people.

If that small town pervasive sociability in all interactions appeals to you, then have at 'er. As I said, I'd rather lose an eye...
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Cpa Cat on December 05, 2019, 10:52:49 AM
We live about 10 miles outside of town on 10 acres. We are close enough to have rural water service (not well water) and high speed internet access.

Cons:
1. Lots of work. Keeping the lot maintained is kind of a nuisance. I feel like I am constantly bombarded with outdoor chores.
2. Road maintenance. Gravel road is a private drive that hasn't been subsumed by the county roadworks, so it's left to us and nearby homes to arrange to maintain it. This includes snow removal.
3. Commute is annoying.
4. Husband often feels isolated, so we drive into town to eat out for dinner more often than when we lived in town.
5. Delivery trucks frequently have a hard time finding our address.
6. No access to city services such as trash removal.
7. We lose power off and on. We got a generator to mitigate this. It runs off our propane tank.
8. Weird smells - dead animals, manure, brush fires from nearby farms.
9. Tornados.

Pros:
1. Quiet and beautiful.
2. We live near to a fairly cosmopolitan town so we're kind of pretend-rural - we still have good access to the city, but are outside city limits.
3. No city property taxes.
4. Know my neighbors better than when I lived right next door.


I realized after moving rural that I am a city girl at heart. I had a lot of fantasies about what rural living was like and I didn't care for it as much as I thought. But I've committed to it, so I'm getting used to it. I just miss all of the conveniences of living in the city.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: LifeHappens on December 05, 2019, 10:54:18 AM
hate small chat with vague acquaintances at the grocery store when you're cranky/hungover/sick/going through a divorce/just got fired/etc, then rural life may be a harsh reality for you.
[snip]

If that small town pervasive sociability in all interactions appeals to you, then have at 'er. As I said, I'd rather lose an eye...
OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE. And have the same conversations over and over and over...

I am totally fine with ducking behind an aisle to get out of these types of interactions when I visit.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 05, 2019, 12:35:47 PM
hate small chat with vague acquaintances at the grocery store when you're cranky/hungover/sick/going through a divorce/just got fired/etc, then rural life may be a harsh reality for you.
[snip]

If that small town pervasive sociability in all interactions appeals to you, then have at 'er. As I said, I'd rather lose an eye...
OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE. And have the same conversations over and over and over...

I am totally fine with ducking behind an aisle to get out of these types of interactions when I visit.

Ooh, for all the practical concerns that others have raised, this would be a dealbreaker for me! Idle chatter and gossip would drive me bananas!

Thanks for your input folks. I think that Iíll stick to the pampered city life and maybe try to go camping more often to get my fix of lake swimming.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: LifeHappens on December 05, 2019, 12:48:12 PM
I think that Iíll stick to the pampered city life and maybe try to go camping more often to get my fix of lake swimming.
If that's what you want out of country life, renting a lake cottage for a couple weeks every summer might be all you need.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on December 05, 2019, 01:19:55 PM
hate small chat with vague acquaintances at the grocery store when you're cranky/hungover/sick/going through a divorce/just got fired/etc, then rural life may be a harsh reality for you.
[snip]

If that small town pervasive sociability in all interactions appeals to you, then have at 'er. As I said, I'd rather lose an eye...
OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE. And have the same conversations over and over and over...

I am totally fine with ducking behind an aisle to get out of these types of interactions when I visit.

I grew up in a village like that, and I hated it, especially because my family were the towns weirdos, my parents went through a bad divorce so were the talk of town etc. I fled to the big city as soon as I could. But as I'm getting older I'm starting to miss it now. I live in an old working class community where people still known each other and say hi, small business owners where I shop regularly recognize me, but still, I miss truly knowing people. I've joined organisations, I've got a social network in this city, but most of the people I encounter on a day-to-day basis are strangers. I would never ever move back to my hometown, I still hate it there, but I would certainly consider moving back to a village someday and really throwing myself into village life. My partner is a city boy through and through though, so I doubt I'll ever be able to convince him.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 05, 2019, 01:21:52 PM
hate small chat with vague acquaintances at the grocery store when you're cranky/hungover/sick/going through a divorce/just got fired/etc, then rural life may be a harsh reality for you.
[snip]

If that small town pervasive sociability in all interactions appeals to you, then have at 'er. As I said, I'd rather lose an eye...
OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE. And have the same conversations over and over and over...

I am totally fine with ducking behind an aisle to get out of these types of interactions when I visit.

Ooh, for all the practical concerns that others have raised, this would be a dealbreaker for me! Idle chatter and gossip would drive me bananas!

Thanks for your input folks. I think that Iíll stick to the pampered city life and maybe try to go camping more often to get my fix of lake swimming.

You could also consider a cottage.
When I lived in Montreal, my ex and I went to one of his family's cottages almost every weekend. It was about an hour drive and we brought our groceries/supplies with us, so the chit chat was limited only to when we actively wanted to be social. Over the years we did make a lot of friends, so still felt part of the community to a degree.

It's certainly not financially ultra efficient to own a separate property, but it can make sense if you really want to spend a lot of time in a particular area and feel more like you kind of live there.

It can also make sense if having the cottage allows you to really cut down your urban living space. Had I stayed in Montreal, I probably would have maintained a tiny, functional workweek apartment downtown where space is at a premium, and kept most of my things at a bigger cottage in a cheaper rural area.

But overall, yeah, if you don't want to live in a reality where someone you don't even know all that well and definitely don't like will make reference to something they think is vaguely embarrassing about you from 25 years ago every god damn Christmas at the local friggin' Christmas Market because he deeply resents...something??? about you and always gets too drunk at that event...

Then yeah, you don't want to live in a small population.

Ugh, Christmas Market is this weekend. Can you tell how much I'm looking forward to it???
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: sui generis on December 05, 2019, 01:49:53 PM
I was a kid when I lived in a rural-becoming-exurban area so I don't have a lot of the logistical perspectives others have, but it seems like how interpersonal things work is important for you and I'll just second that it can be very tough and requires careful treading.  As a non-white girl, I was an outsider and was treated like it very clearly.  When they found out we weren't Christian?  Oh boy.  It was really tough growing up with the casual and explicit racism, misogyny and judgment, and I'm glad to be gone.  Not every rural area is like this, but I'd be extremely cautious about potential areas to move if any of those attributes bother you or you would be a target.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 05, 2019, 02:19:39 PM
I was a kid when I lived in a rural-becoming-exurban area so I don't have a lot of the logistical perspectives others have, but it seems like how interpersonal things work is important for you and I'll just second that it can be very tough and requires careful treading.  As a non-white girl, I was an outsider and was treated like it very clearly.  When they found out we weren't Christian?  Oh boy.  It was really tough growing up with the casual and explicit racism, misogyny and judgment, and I'm glad to be gone.  Not every rural area is like this, but I'd be extremely cautious about potential areas to move if any of those attributes bother you or you would be a target.

My small town is the total opposite, it's extremely progressive, but they're still total dicks to outsiders.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on December 05, 2019, 04:06:23 PM
I've been fantasizing about moving to the country for as long as I can remember, but have returned to the city where I grew up to retire. Life here is nice, I have a solid little house that I've done all of the necessary work to, I grow some of my own vegetables, have stores nearby, a place to volunteer, little bits of community, and the luxury of knowing that all of the services and conveniences of a city are at my disposal. However, it sure would be great to grow enough vegetables to donate to food banks and to have a lake to swim in.

I'm in Canada, so winters here are long and cold, but the only aspect that I mind is that if I lived rural, that might mean being snowed in until I or someone I hired plowed the road (I actually don't know about how often minor rural roads are plowed... something I should look into before making the move!)

I'd love to hear about your experiences with living in the countryside. How far from a city is so far that you feel isolated? Do you feel safe? Do you feel lonely? Is it a pain to have to commute for groceries, or does that make meal planning easier? Generally, what are the pros and cons, and do you feel that it's worthwhile to you?

I live on rural mountain acreage @ ~2700-feet elevation.

At this relatively low elevation there isn't much snow.

Average winter temperature is ~55 degrees F.

If I did get snowed in it wouldn't be for long.

I'm a FIREee so I don't have to commute.

I cannot live where it is bitter cold as Canada is during the winter.

Town is about 6 miles away.

I think its population is ~2700.

The in-town grocery store's product line  is the equal of any large grocery store situated in a large city.

Man-made sound is  atypical at my bucolic location.

On my property I've seen bobcats, deer, cougars, squirrels, gophers, wood rats, mice,  snakes, foxes, turkeys, quail, doves, crows, and other birds.

I haven't seen a bear but a few do live nearby.

During morning and evening  "rush hour"  only 1 vehicle passes by my house; it's my neighbor going to work and coming home.

Believe it or not, there are no traffic lights in my county!

The nearest city is ~35 miles from town.

I don't feel isolated or lonely.

For me the only drawback of living on rural mountain acreage is high fire danger during fire season.

The risk of  a burned-down home can be mitigated by clearing brush/trees, a metal roof, and fire-resistant siding.

I understand that no two individuals are exactly alike in terms of their preferred  location and climate, other preferences, living arrangements, etc.

I maximize my happiness and contentment by living in the beauty and peacefulness of the mountains.


Here are today's pics of nearby mountains.

Snow is more beautiful when one doesn't have to drive in it or shovel it.

Ha-ha!



Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Nickel on December 05, 2019, 05:53:31 PM
Try before you buy.

My spouse and I grew up in rural western Oregon (70 miles apart).  It has wonderful charms. But not enough to sustain us. 

We like living in the city near a large park.  We can walk everywhere for anything we might need.  Social life is easier. 

We often visit the rural properties we grew up on, one 5 acres the other 45 acres.  Still in our families.  But every time I fantasize about having a hobby farm, I remember the challenges and renew my appreciation for the city.

Cautionary Tale?  This is the final blog entry in one of my favorite older FIRE blogs: 

http://www.bravenewlife.com/01/honey-i-bought-a-farm/  (2010-2015)

So the blog itself "bought the farm" ... just after the blogger buys ... a farm.  No epilogue.  I wonder what happened.

*****

Verb
bought the farm

(idiomatic, US informal euphemistic) simple past tense and past participle of buy the farm: died; often refers to death in battle or by a plane crash
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: blue_green_sparks on December 05, 2019, 06:33:44 PM
A larger property (2-5 acres) close to an urban area gives you the best of both worlds. If the area continues to develop you stand to make out very well if you sell.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on December 05, 2019, 06:38:55 PM


No traffic.  Great scenery.  Peace and quiet.  Despite all the negative stuff I listed, there's no way in hell I would move to the city.

+1

I could not endure  the incessant din of madding life in a city.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 06, 2019, 04:44:43 AM
I was a kid when I lived in a rural-becoming-exurban area so I don't have a lot of the logistical perspectives others have, but it seems like how interpersonal things work is important for you and I'll just second that it can be very tough and requires careful treading.  As a non-white girl, I was an outsider and was treated like it very clearly.  When they found out we weren't Christian?  Oh boy.  It was really tough growing up with the casual and explicit racism, misogyny and judgment, and I'm glad to be gone.  Not every rural area is like this, but I'd be extremely cautious about potential areas to move if any of those attributes bother you or you would be a target.

I hate that you were treated that way and appreciate the warning. I'm white, but am a non-Christian single childfree woman, so I get the misogyny and judgement, but not the racism directed towards me. If I ever do house-hunt in the countryside, I'll need to take a person of colour with me to act as a dowsing rod to identify assholes that I don't want as neighbours.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 06, 2019, 05:09:12 AM
@John Galt incarnate! Where you live sounds lovely. If it weren't for the pesky citizenship issue, I'd live smack dab in the middle of Colorado, surrounded by mountains, lakes and thousands of miles of hiking trails. But life is what it is, and I'll stay north.

@Malkynn 's idea of a cottage is the normal route that people here go for, because the inconvenience of hauling water or struggling to evict mice seems like less of a big deal if it's for a holiday home. My concerns are 1) environmental: it would add quite a lot of driving to and from - though probably less over the course of a year than actually living in the country full time, 2) hassle: a whole second house's systems to maintain, 3) cost: waterfront cottages are really expensive in the prairies, and although I could conceivably afford one, it seems soooo counter-intuitive to tie up most of my net worth in a vacation home. I've been following MMM too long to buy regular-priced cheese, let alone a whole second house!

For now I'll stick to camping and renting... though I may still browse listings....
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Dee18 on December 06, 2019, 07:06:52 AM
I spend one month a year in a rural area of Vermont, in summer. I love every minute of it, but I know I would not enjoy it in the winter when daylight is short, roads are icy, and maintaining heat and well water are often complicated.  Even in summer one thing that surprised me is that most people take their daily exercise walking along the state road with a speed limit of 50 mph and little shoulder.  There are many beautiful places to hike, but they involve 20+ miles of driving or more.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 06, 2019, 09:32:16 AM
@John Galt incarnate! Where you live sounds lovely. If it weren't for the pesky citizenship issue, I'd live smack dab in the middle of Colorado, surrounded by mountains, lakes and thousands of miles of hiking trails. But life is what it is, and I'll stay north.

@Malkynn 's idea of a cottage is the normal route that people here go for, because the inconvenience of hauling water or struggling to evict mice seems like less of a big deal if it's for a holiday home. My concerns are 1) environmental: it would add quite a lot of driving to and from - though probably less over the course of a year than actually living in the country full time, 2) hassle: a whole second house's systems to maintain, 3) cost: waterfront cottages are really expensive in the prairies, and although I could conceivably afford one, it seems soooo counter-intuitive to tie up most of my net worth in a vacation home. I've been following MMM too long to buy regular-priced cheese, let alone a whole second house!

For now I'll stick to camping and renting... though I may still browse listings....

Yeah, if cottage ownership in your area is particularly expensive, then it's really a suboptimal option.

Where my parents are there are tons and tons of lakes and rivers and land is very cheap, so waterfront cottages are a dime a dozen.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: SachaFiscal on December 06, 2019, 09:50:57 AM
My mom grew up in a small town in India in the 40s-60s.  I remember visiting there as a kid and really liking the somewhat simplified life they lived.  In some ways it was simpler but some ways more difficult because they didn't have things like dishwashers and washing machines.  I don't think my grandparents even had a TV.  They just listened to radio and some cassette tapes sometimes, but mostly people made their own music playing instruments and singing.  People would just stop by and chat at random times. That was the biggest entertainment. People spoke slowly and were warm and friendly.  But I didn't really speak the language well so they could have been saying some snarky things, who knows?

I live in suburbia now, so it is quiet but close to a lot of services.  I know my neighbors and chat with them sometimes on the curb but we don't just come over to each others houses randomly (I'm grateful for this actually).  Living in a more rural area in the U.S. isn't really an pleasant option for me because of my skin color. From the posts here and what I've read online it seems like the rose colored idea of small town and rural living is something that existed back in the day when you had small farmers and people shopped at locally owned stores instead of Walmart. Now it seems kind of depressing.  I read that there is a rise in suicides in rural parts of the U.S.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: FINate on December 06, 2019, 10:55:51 AM
I grew up rural, surrounded by brussel sprout fields. No exageration, we had rats the size of a small cat in our house and have many memories of hearing them crawl around in the walls at night. Will always remember the time one ended up trapped in the pantry and my dad shot it with a .22. Growing up I felt disoriented and very out of place in cities. Although I didn't realize it at the time, we were poor, so of course people gave us weird looks when we showed up at hotels in worn clothing carrying our stuff in laundry baskets instead of suitcases (because that's what we used camping!). It took quite a few years to stop feeling like an outsider in the city. Guessing the inverse is likely true as well?

I live in a small city now. There are a few things I miss about country living already discussed in this thread around peace and quiet, and having a bit more land. We've contemplated a move back to the country several times but for us living in a small-medium city always wins. We like being able to bike and walk most places, and proximity to restaurants and grocery stores and other retail. As an extreme introvert I find the country to be more isolating because it takes extra effort and intentionality to be social, whereas there are more spontaneous get-togethers in an urban setting. We don't love the much higher than average traffic and crime in our current city, which is why we're planning a move to another city next summer.

Agree with others here, a cabin makes more sense for what you're looking for. That, or a camper van or small teardrop trailer, which is nice because you can have most of your gear in one place ready to go and you're not locked in to a single location.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Rural on December 06, 2019, 06:56:54 PM
 You should definitely try it out for a while, some months at least, before making any irrevocable decisions. I think it's a good life, but it's a radically different life than anything you know.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Trudie on December 06, 2019, 10:08:19 PM
We used to live in a rural college town of 8500 people.  When we FIREd we moved to a university town of 65,000 people.  We traded a house on a half acre lot near the woods for an urban condo.  We are over the moon about our decision.

I think itís really important, regardless of whether you choose rural or urban, to consider the quality of your social connections where you live.  In our former town social connections, which were largely based on large extended families or years of history, were typically more rigid.  People were friendly and neighborly, but not typically interested in really establishing new friendships.

In our new town thereís more migration of people, and people seem more open.

Also, weíre much better set up here for volunteer opportunities.  Access to municipal services is cheaper and better.   The public library, health services, and public transit are significantly better.  We are much better positioned for aging in place.

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on December 07, 2019, 01:56:44 AM


I live in a small city now. There are a few things I miss about country living already discussed in this thread around peace and quiet, and having a bit more land. We've contemplated a move back to the country several times but for us living in a small-medium city always wins. We like being able to bike and walk most places, and proximity to restaurants and grocery stores and other retail. As an extreme introvert I find the country to be more isolating because it takes extra effort and intentionality to be social, whereas there are more spontaneous get-togethers in an urban setting. We don't love the much higher than average traffic and crime in our current city, which is why we're planning a move to another city next summer.

Funny, my experience is the opposite. When I lived in a village I used to meet people spontaneously all the time because there are only a handful of places everyone goes (one butcher, one bakery, one library, one farmers market). In the city I encounter hundreds of people a day at least and I hardly ever know any of them. The chances that anyone I know would go to the exact same place as I do are remote.

There are many downsides to rural living and lack of openmindedness is definitely an issue in many places. In the village I come from, having a career as a woman is still odd (although many young women work, but they'll have a parttime admin job or look after children) and being childless is something people are shamed about. Choosing not to have kids as a woman is considered to be a sign of mental health issues.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: FINate on December 07, 2019, 12:21:18 PM


I live in a small city now. There are a few things I miss about country living already discussed in this thread around peace and quiet, and having a bit more land. We've contemplated a move back to the country several times but for us living in a small-medium city always wins. We like being able to bike and walk most places, and proximity to restaurants and grocery stores and other retail. As an extreme introvert I find the country to be more isolating because it takes extra effort and intentionality to be social, whereas there are more spontaneous get-togethers in an urban setting. We don't love the much higher than average traffic and crime in our current city, which is why we're planning a move to another city next summer.

Funny, my experience is the opposite. When I lived in a village I used to meet people spontaneously all the time because there are only a handful of places everyone goes (one butcher, one bakery, one library, one farmers market). In the city I encounter hundreds of people a day at least and I hardly ever know any of them. The chances that anyone I know would go to the exact same place as I do are remote.

There are many downsides to rural living and lack of openmindedness is definitely an issue in many places. In the village I come from, having a career as a woman is still odd (although many young women work, but they'll have a parttime admin job or look after children) and being childless is something people are shamed about. Choosing not to have kids as a woman is considered to be a sign of mental health issues.

Sadly, car culture in America has mostly killed off the rural village/downtown and replaced it with far flung big-box stores and strip malls. I've been an urbanite/suburbanite for nearly 20 years now, but would venture a guess that Amazon has further contributed to the demise of the rural civic center.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: happy on December 07, 2019, 03:16:39 PM
I live on 10 acres in what is essentially more or less an urban area: there are just a few big blocks around. So I don't really qualify to answer from personal experience other than size of block.

If you are planning on having more space (sounds like it from your post) the things to keep in mind are that extra land is extra maintenance, extra work and extra cost. You need to move from a gardening to a farming  level of scale. This means that there is a cost with regard to acquiring bigger toys with which to play on your block. Infrastructure that you take for granted on a small block is also more expensive eg fencing may be measured in 100s or 1000s of metres, not just a few feet.

If you decide to have animals, then you need to have a plan about how they will be cared for if you are going to travel. Travel also interferes with any serious vegetable production unless you happen to have a great vegetable gardener for caretaker. After 2 months holiday August/September this year, I am still trying to get the vegetable patch going....I had to wind it down before going, and Aug/Sept being early spring here, I am still trying to catch up with planting the warm weather crops...but now its too hot for a lot of things. Travel and homesteading are  difficult to combine.

My brother lives 30mins from a small rural town on a big block. He lives a very active, social lifestyle and loves to go away on outdoor adventures. He has no pets/veges or stock. He loves it. He found a town that is socially progressive enough that some of the small town issues don't arise. His main issues have been: internet, for a long time NONE, now limited and expensive; learning to plan out grocery shopping since town is so far awayetc, even buying frozen food in summer is an issue, needs cold pack/esky/fridge in car; fuel costs; tyre costs -time and energy for AT  or snow tyres in winter and time to change them over etc; limited choice and quality of high schools; no tertiary education; lack of quality services in the local town eg  healthcare, dental care, eye care, solicitors, accountants, tradespeople..anything where some degree of specialisation and being up to date is essential. Nearest city is 2 hours drive away.



Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Car Jack on December 09, 2019, 07:58:30 AM
I'm on a bit over 13 acres in land zoned partly residential, partly agricultural.  This was in a somewhat rural area when we bought in 92, but the sprawl (if you can call it that) emanating from Boston has turned the area into pure suburban.  I can get to most stores I need to after driving 4 miles, including gas stations.  Living on a property like this with an 800 foot driveway in the northeast means fending for oneself.  So we have a snowplow on the Wrangler and a 4 wheel drive tractor with a bucket.  Although we've only lost power once in 25 years for more than an hour, we have a 5500 W generator.  We can go out and take a walk or a bike ride anytime we want, but unlike a city, there are no sidewalks and if I were to risk walking on the road, some pickup flying around a corner is likely to take me out, so I mostly stick to trails around the lake across the road from my house.  Things like pizza delivery are possible, but times are extended compared with living in a city, so we tend to go pick up ourselves.  But on the plus side, we see deer, hawks, falcons, foxes, stupid raccoons, even stupider flocks of turkeys and all the normal birds and squirrels everyone sees.  If you're a city person, it might not be for you.  It's not just quiet but convenient.  We do help neighbors when they're in need and they help us.  I was in Florida over the weekend and early last week when we got a bunch of snow.  A neighbor plowed the driveway.  Oh....and all of our cars have all wheel drive and snow tires.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 09, 2019, 04:16:56 PM
I'm on a bit over 13 acres in land zoned partly residential, partly agricultural.  This was in a somewhat rural area when we bought in 92, but the sprawl (if you can call it that) emanating from Boston has turned the area into pure suburban.  I can get to most stores I need to after driving 4 miles, including gas stations.  Living on a property like this with an 800 foot driveway in the northeast means fending for oneself.  So we have a snowplow on the Wrangler and a 4 wheel drive tractor with a bucket.  Although we've only lost power once in 25 years for more than an hour, we have a 5500 W generator.  We can go out and take a walk or a bike ride anytime we want, but unlike a city, there are no sidewalks and if I were to risk walking on the road, some pickup flying around a corner is likely to take me out, so I mostly stick to trails around the lake across the road from my house.  Things like pizza delivery are possible, but times are extended compared with living in a city, so we tend to go pick up ourselves.  But on the plus side, we see deer, hawks, falcons, foxes, stupid raccoons, even stupider flocks of turkeys and all the normal birds and squirrels everyone sees.  If you're a city person, it might not be for you.  It's not just quiet but convenient.  We do help neighbors when they're in need and they help us.  I was in Florida over the weekend and early last week when we got a bunch of snow.  A neighbor plowed the driveway.  Oh....and all of our cars have all wheel drive and snow tires.

One of the things that I like about your position is that since the sprawl has reached you, your land has probably skyrocketed in value. Although my region is the butt of even Canadian weather jokes, people do move here, and outlying areas are fast appreciating here too. It seems like land would be a terrific investment. More to ponder!
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Mighty Eyebrows on December 13, 2019, 02:49:17 PM
Canada is big, with more weather variation than many people realize. It might be useful to narrow down where you are thinking of going?

Others have covered things pretty well. Just to add my $0.02:

1. You have to enjoy doing physical things (fixing roads, maintaining buildings, etc.) unless you just want to pay other people all the time. This is an opportunity for real mustachian values, but think about how much is realistic. I enjoy doing manual things (cutting trees, plowing roads, building stuff, fixing waterlines) but it can be a lot of work even when you enjoy it.

2. I have lived in places that get to -40C and places that hardly snow. Choose very carefully and plan realistically.

3. As other people have said, truly rural places are often inward looking and very gossipy. There are friendly and generous people everywhere, but it only takes a certain percentage of vindictive assholes to colour your experience. Make sure you spend a lot of time exploring an area before choosing to stay.

4. You will be car-dependent. Almost no way around it.

For us, something on the outskirts of a medium-size city/town is a happy medium. You still can be surrounded by nature, but have access to culture and more cosmopolitan people.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on December 16, 2019, 08:43:36 AM
A few days ago I was out at about 2 in the morning.

 I saw some spectacular green meteors, another advantage of living in a rural location with little  ambient light at night.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: familyandfarming on December 16, 2019, 11:28:38 AM
Iím married almost 40 years to a farmer. To quote my children, ďWe live in the middle of f-ing nowhere!Ē I think the isolation of farm life forced them to become very good at school, sports and music. They always did their homework, read voraciously and practiced their instruments constantly.

When they graduated from college they all settled in large cities (Chicago/Kansas City) but are also very self reliant, which I think was from spending 18 years on a farm 12 miles from school and a grocery store! They drove to school starting at age 14...

The previous posters pretty much detailed what living far away from civilization can be; snow removal, isolation, and sometimes dealing with wild animals. But I also know my children wouldnít be where they are if they hadnít had those introspective experiences coupled with 10-12 hour outside moments.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on December 16, 2019, 12:37:47 PM


When they graduated from college they all settled in large cities (Chicago/Kansas City) but are also very self reliant, which I think was from spending 18 years on a farm 12 miles from school and a grocery store! They drove to school starting at age 14...


Lucky American kids that can get drivers licenses as teenagers, I had a friend in highschool who lived in the middle of nowhere and cycled 12 miles to school every day :)

Seriously though, as someone who grew up in the rural countryside in a small European country, I can't even imagkne how rural the US/Canadian countryside is.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 16, 2019, 04:01:34 PM
Imma - From where I live, it's a 6 hour drive to the nearest city. Manitoba, the province where I live, is a bit bigger than France, Belgium and the Netherlands combined, and has about 1million people, 75% of whom live in my city. 

My first time in Europe, I took a train from one city to another in the Netherlands and accidentally crossed the whole country before I realized that I had missed my stop. I just couldn't fathom that you could get from one city to another in under an hour. Fortunately, your countrymen were overwhelmingly kind to me, so it made for a very fun adventure.



Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 16, 2019, 06:03:02 PM
Iím married almost 40 years to a farmer. To quote my children, ďWe live in the middle of f-ing nowhere!Ē I think the isolation of farm life forced them to become very good at school, sports and music. They always did their homework, read voraciously and practiced their instruments constantly.

This was not what I saw among the youth of my rural community. Countless kids turned to drugs out of crippling boredom and peer pressure.

It was so hard to avoid the "bad influence" kids because there were just so few of us that the teen ecosystem was pretty insular.

I moved to the city as a teen and suddenly it was so easy to avoid being pressured to do drugs by surrounding myself with equally nerdy kids.

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on December 17, 2019, 03:03:02 AM
Drugs weren't a big thing in my area when I grew up (I've heard it is now) but extremely heavy drinking was. I wasn't into that and I was basically a social pariah. Drinking started when you started high school at 12/13 and drinking 10 or 12 beers a night was fairly average. Some kids drank themselves into hospital and that was just a thing that happened, nobody made a big deal of it. Parents would even go and buy alcohol for their kids because heavy drinking was a normal part of life for them too, they didn't see anything wrong with it (legal drinking age was 16 then) .

@Sun Hat that's just mind blowing to me. About 100 million people live in that area in Europe and there are still a lot of areas left that we consider rural. From my current city to the next is about half an hour by train and there's countryside in between... The area I'm from doesn't even have a train station which is probably the definition of  rural in NL. But you'd still be able to cross it by car in about an hour.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: GuitarStv on December 17, 2019, 08:52:17 AM
Kinda have to agree that the whole idea of drugs/drinking being a 'big city' problem is very wrong.  I grew up in a small/remote, northern community of about a thousand people.  Conventional drugs weren't really available very easily . . . but huffing aerosol cans to get high was a big thing, as well as drinking.  While I was there three high school kids broke into the school supply room and chugged photocopier fluid in an attempt to get high.  They all died.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: LifeHappens on December 17, 2019, 09:14:13 AM
Kinda have to agree that the whole idea of drugs/drinking being a 'big city' problem is very wrong.  I grew up in a small/remote, northern community of about a thousand people.  Conventional drugs weren't really available very easily . . . but huffing aerosol cans to get high was a big thing, as well as drinking.  While I was there three high school kids broke into the school supply room and chugged photocopier fluid in an attempt to get high.  They all died.
My experience was similar. Plus having lots of wooded areas made it possible to grow your own marijuana long before it was legal. After all, many of my classmates were farmers' kids.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 17, 2019, 10:20:58 AM
Kinda have to agree that the whole idea of drugs/drinking being a 'big city' problem is very wrong.  I grew up in a small/remote, northern community of about a thousand people.  Conventional drugs weren't really available very easily . . . but huffing aerosol cans to get high was a big thing, as well as drinking.  While I was there three high school kids broke into the school supply room and chugged photocopier fluid in an attempt to get high.  They all died.

My small town is very wealthy and has a high concentration of artists and musicians. Kids there can get any drugs they want. It's brutal.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: familyandfarming on December 17, 2019, 11:04:33 AM
Ouch to those who encountered drugs/alcohol in their rural schools! My husband and I did something that to many would be considered radical with our kids. We offered $1,000 cash at graduation if they didnít smoke, drink or have sex in high school.

To say the least, they werenít in the ďin crowdĒ. Upon graduation, we went to whatever store they wanted and they bought whatever they wanted. They were fairly practical; North Face coats and backpacks, but also got iPods and whatever else they were dying for. After siblings got to see what the oldest got, they wanted those things.

We never asked if they were behaving badly in high school, we trusted that they would do whatís right, and because we spent so much time together on the farm, we tended to know what was going on in their lives.  While in college Iím sure they did adult behaviors, they were adults then. But as a high school teacher I saw high school students getting stuck with their high school group after high school with the cement of substance abuse holding them together for decades. We didnít want that for our own children, and they donít have those high school-based substance abuse connections with high school friends. They are friends because they like each other, not to get drunk together!

Edit: Our children also have deep connections with animals because of their childhoods on the farm. They all have pets as adults. When my kids would have a bad day, nothing is better than hanging out with your pet goat/sheep/farm cat or dog!
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 17, 2019, 03:39:46 PM
@familyandfarming   That sounds like great parenting and is probably a good model to follow for either city or rural families! I'll suggest it to my sister (as I don't have kids, but she does).
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: familyandfarming on December 17, 2019, 06:19:59 PM
Aww thanks! In no way, shape or form do I want anyone to think I know everything about parenting, but this did work for us. The inspiration, if you want to call it that, was a high school friend had a 16 year old child say on Christmas Eve, "Mom, Dad, I'm pregnant and I'm gonna give birth right now!" That baby just graduated from high school and mom and child are doing fine now, but it was rough in the beginning.

The moment I heard that, I sat my children down and offered them $500 to stay clean during their school years. As they became good looking, I upped it to $1,000. Because my husband and I are thrifty beyond belief, our children knew how valuable that money was. As a former high school teacher, I saw first-hand the need to fit in made some kids make risky choices. Most of the people who frequent this website are outliers, and fitting in with peers is of no interest. That's the same attitude I wanted my kids to have.

We all know that girls (and boys for that matter) can be taken advantage of in risky environments, and for my girls, $1,000 was enough to say, "Nope! Don't wanna get drunk and do nasty crap with a stupid guy who I wouldn't cross the street with if I were sober!" When kids in my high school classes would talk about parties, I would tell them there's only 2 reasons high school kids get drunk; To get laid and get into fights, 'cuz alcohol doesn't taste all that great! They would look shocked, but would nod in agreement.

It's hard to be an outlier like so many of you are, and I applaud you all! I like to read what you all have to say on this forum, because in "real life" we don't hear the outlier voice all that often!
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on December 17, 2019, 09:25:03 PM
For most of my adult life, my wife and I lived on a farm, 25 miles from the nearest town. Raising our own meat, vegetables and fruit, was a great life! I wouldn't trade the experiences we had homesteading, and all the things we learned, for anything. In hindsight, though, I feel like it was kind of a selfish way to live. In order to pay for our life in the country and to save for retirement, we spent many years driving big 4WD vehicles, which we needed because of the farm, 50 miles round trip to jobs in town and for shopping, almost everyday. Sometimes, multiple times in one day. Our farm was off grid, so we made a lot of our power from the sun, but we also regularly had to fire up a diesel generator as backup on cloudy days. Every single family in our rural community owned their own separate duplicate sets of landscaping tools like mowers, weedeaters, etc. Some owned backhoes, tractors, and bulldozers. Since almost none of our neighbors were actually doing agriculture, mostly just small scale hobby farms, it just seems like we were all polluting the planet for no good reason, other than that we "wanted to live in the country". Now, post FIRE, we're living in a small, LCOL city, where we can walk to almost every place we need to go on a daily basis. It's a great feeling to be able to leave our car parked on the street most days, while we walk to the farmers market, parks, library, cinema, theaters, etc. I feel like we should do more to incentivize people living in cities and, as much as we can, discourage people from living far from where they work, shop and play. Just my 2 cents.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Fishindude on December 18, 2019, 07:45:13 AM
I've always lived rural except for a few short stints where I rented an apartment in town, maybe 2-3 years of life total.   If you are making the switch from town to rural you need to realize that it will be more expensive and more work.   Since living rural typically means you will have a large piece of real estate, you will need the tools to take care of that real estate and a building to keep those tools in, and you will need the time and energy to keep up with the chores.

I see a lot of folks dive into the rural lifestyle and quickly immerse themselves in the fun things; ATVs, shooting guns, outside camp fires, new pets, an outdoor pool, trampoline, etc., yet they neglect the important things like keeping their yard and property mowed and maintained, snow removal, keeping the driveway in good shape, having a decent building to house all their new toys, dealing with rural trash disposal, etc.    Their places soon become messy looking and in a state of disrepair.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: pab88 on December 19, 2019, 09:34:19 PM
I've been reading this thread and others with interest as I've taken a job in a small rural highland town (frontline service worker, ~1000-2000 people in the town and surrounding district) after growing up in a large city for the first three decades of my life.

I'll be based in town with a 1 mile walk to work, so I should be able to maintain a car-light lifestyle. I'm definitely on the introvert-side of the spectrum and my social life is mostly work and family. I enjoy the outdoors (cycling, camping, photography, etc), so I think it could be a good fit for me. The savings from the low cost of housing (about 1/4 to a 1/3 of what I pay now) are an added beenfit.

I might make a post after a year or so about how I got on.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Linea_Norway on December 20, 2019, 03:41:07 AM
We live semi-rural. Lots of people view our neighborhood as very rural. But we are only a few km from the nearest town with train station and some stores, and 10km from a bigger town. The local town is developing, now we even have a sushi restaurant, which I haven't visited yet.
But we have private gravel roads to deal with. In our previous house we had to maintain the road ourselves with 3 other neighbors. It was cheap, but a PITA to be the organiser for a repair session. And we had to do a lot of unplanned crisis repairs ourselves. Snow was removed by a nearby farmer with tractor. We all had 4x4s, in our case a Subaru.
Now we live in a different house with two private gravel roads. Now we have a road board that organizes maintenance and snow removal. Being a board member is a PITA and every one needs to do that from time to time. It costs us 850 euro a year for the private roads. That includes automatic snow removal. But we still have a large parking lot to clean ourselves. Our roads are very steep and I have always considered that we don't live in a place where you can ask someone from town to deliver warm pizzas. They would be cold by the time they arrive and in the winter they would get stuck on the road. In our previous house we never ordered any packages to be delivered at home in the winter.

In our previous home we also had a well as only water source. That was very cheap. In the beginning we had clean water, but later we discovered (by a water test) bacteria in it and had to install a filter on the kitchen cold water tap. We had our toilet emptied on a closed tank and it was no problem to get it emptied, although we had to plan it outside the winter season. But I think it was cheaper than the communal water/sewage we pay for now.

I like the fact that we live not too far from a decent town. I also like to have some neighbors that we generally have a good tone with. But in rural places, with cheap homes, you can expect to get neighbors who like to make noise and like to buy lots of big trucks, like 8 of them. I do like the wildlife around the house. Our previous house had much more of that.

I would not like to meet my GP during shopping and so far in 18 years that didn't happen. It would be a bit awkward to have to do smalltalk til your GP in the grocery store. But I do meet neighbors there from time to time. Luckily not too often.

We also have a cabin in a very rural area where there live mostly farmers. There is a small shop, although it has been closed several times after changing owners and a fire. I like to talk a bit to the shop owner when we shop there. So I'm not a total introvert. But I do agree on that some days, you just don't feel like being social at all. At the cabin you need to drive 50 km to the nearest town. The locals clean the roads for snow and if I ask, also our parking place. They also make ski trails with snow scooter, which I am happy for. Once we were asked by the redaction of the easter magazine to write an article about ourselves, as we had been cabin owners there for a long time and we often send in pictures for that magazine. That was a bit weird, but we did so. Sometimes people refer to it, as they now "know" us, but not often.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: SunnyDays on December 20, 2019, 04:59:07 PM
Imma, I live in the same area as Sun Hat and canít imagine your tight spaces.  Itís quite common for people to drive an hour on the highway (at 100 Kms/hour) just to go to work every day.  Your countryside is more like our urban parks!  Europeans are always staggered by our distances.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: nancy33 on December 20, 2019, 10:38:27 PM
Living out in the country you will not believe how many varmints and insects want to destroy your vegetable garden! Much easier in town to have a garden in my experience.   Living  in town now  is much much quieter than out in the country. (No roosters, cows, sheep, coyotes, foxes, dogs et al making noise all night. Less bugs)  Here in town we have police response times that are reasonable and EMT can get to our house quickly. In town you can actually order pizza delivery or run to the grocery store if you need something. In the country you need to be organized and remember everything while you are in town. Water, sewer, gas, trash pick up are all provided in the city with minimal effort on your part. Unfortunately in town you do have more regulations. In town you have sidewalks so you can do more walking, and bike lanes.  Also living in town on a paved road your tires last longer and your cars last longer (less mileage).  In summary living in town is much much easier than living in the country in my experience. Maybe you just need a house with a bigger yard? We live on an acre and it is not bad at all.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on December 21, 2019, 04:04:37 AM
Imma, I live in the same area as Sun Hat and canít imagine your tight spaces.  Itís quite common for people to drive an hour on the highway (at 100 Kms/hour) just to go to work every day.  Your countryside is more like our urban parks!  Europeans are always staggered by our distances.

People drive an hour to work in here too,  but that will maybe get them 40 km away from home :) empty roads during the day that allow you to go from a to b efficiently are also something that's hard to imagine. Our country may only be 40000 km2 but we have 17 million people living here and we're a transport hub, so there aren't just commuters on the road but also a million Dutch trucks and God knows how many foreign ones. 

Our whole country is about 350 km from north to south and we consider that to be a serious roadtrip.

It's true that our countryside and our national parks are more like urban parks in other countries. Dutch people sometimes get in trouble abroad because they go in unprepared. In NL it's totally impossible to get truly lost in nature. There's always a town within an hour of walking, you can usually see them in the distance, and all trails are constantly busy.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: SunnyDays on December 21, 2019, 03:28:45 PM
Yes itís definitely a different mindset.  Here, people get lost every year doing things like hunting and berry picking - even people who should know better.  The further north you go, the denser the bush and you certainly donít want to be lost there, where there are a bunch of wild animals, especially bears and wolves.  No fun.  Rural is one thing; wilderness is another.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on December 22, 2019, 07:43:26 AM
...In summary living in town is much much easier than living in the country in my experience. Maybe you just need a house with a bigger yard? We live on an acre and it is not bad at all.

This is the conclusion that I'm coming to as well. The rural life sounds idyllic, but I may as well embrace the fact that I'm soft and stick to the pampered city life.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Mighty Eyebrows on December 24, 2019, 07:27:44 PM
Living out in the country you will not believe how many varmints and insects want to destroy your vegetable garden! Much easier in town to have a garden in my experience.

I think you are right for some places, but this is not true everywhere. The second largest city in British Columbia is over-run with deer:

https://www.vicnews.com/news/greater-victoria-mayors-reach-urban-deer-standstill-with-province/

Also, some cities have serious issues with rats.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: GreenSheep on December 25, 2019, 05:13:12 AM
We've been dealing with mice in our rural area... first in our house (eradicated with humane traps), then in our greenhouse (humane traps again), and now in one of our vehicles. Turns out they like to nibble on the soy-based covering on the wires under the hood, to the tune of several hundred dollars. The same happened to a friend in the area. We are now putting dryer sheets under the hoods, but I've read mixed reviews on whether that works. So there's a new rural vehicle expense we didn't expect.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: TomTX on December 25, 2019, 07:43:39 AM

OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE. And have the same conversations over and over and over...

I am totally fine with ducking behind an aisle to get out of these types of interactions when I visit.

Ooh, for all the practical concerns that others have raised, this would be a dealbreaker for me! Idle chatter and gossip would drive me bananas!

But aren't the bananas looking a little over-ripe today? I mean, if it were for banana bread it would be fine, but for my cereal I like a firmer banana, don't you? I might be able to use these for tomorrow, but what am I going to do? Buy a single banana and hope some fresh ones come in? Plus, I have to come all the way back to the store tomorrow for bananas, hoping they're fresh...

;)
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Mighty Eyebrows on December 28, 2019, 12:54:56 AM
OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE.

This made me chuckle. When we lived in a smaller town, I had a friend that would only go grocery shopping after 9pm so he wouldn't run into people he knew.

When my sister-in-law visited us from the big city, she pointed out that when we went out to eat at a restaurant, everyone would stop and look when new people came in the door to see if they knew who they were.

These things are fine if you like your community (and are an extrovert), but it can drive some people crazy ;-)
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on December 28, 2019, 06:27:42 AM
OMIGOD YES!!! You absolutely nailed one of the things I can't stand about my parents' town. You have to TALK to people at the GROCERY STORE.

This made me chuckle. When we lived in a smaller town, I had a friend that would only go grocery shopping after 9pm so he wouldn't run into people he knew.

This doesn't work when every female staff member at the grocery store has dated one of your 4 brothers, and it didn't end well with any of them.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Chris@TTL on July 10, 2020, 09:54:05 AM
Seems like the urban vs rural debate has become a hotter topic with the pandemic raging. Early on, it seemed like cities were at a higher risk (and they may still be, since people are closer together).
That said, rural areas of the US are struggling now as healthcare capacities are lower.

Frugalwoods just wrote a big post (https://www.frugalwoods.com/2020/07/06/want-to-move-to-the-country-15-things-to-consider/), though pretty balanced, naturally favoring the rural life.
They're in Vermont.

I really enjoyed the perspective as an urban dweller (and ended up writing a retort (https://www.tictoclife.com/city-life-vs-country-life/) from the city POV here in Virginia).

What do you all think about this age-old urban vs rural living debate in light of the crisis (crises) in the US right now?
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: FINate on July 10, 2020, 10:29:47 AM
Seems like the urban vs rural debate has become a hotter topic with the pandemic raging. Early on, it seemed like cities were at a higher risk (and they may still be, since people are closer together).
That said, rural areas of the US are struggling now as healthcare capacities are lower.

Frugalwoods just wrote a big post (https://www.frugalwoods.com/2020/07/06/want-to-move-to-the-country-15-things-to-consider/), though pretty balanced, naturally favoring the rural life.
They're in Vermont -- which isn't quite Canada, but pretty close. :)

I really enjoyed the perspective as an urban dweller (and ended up writing a retort (https://www.tictoclife.com/urban-vs-rural-frugalwoods/) from the city POV).

What do you all think about this age-old urban vs rural living debate in light of the crisis (crises) in the US right now?

I think most people in rural areas of the US no longer live a traditional rural lifestyle. Instead, it's more quasi-urban/suburban, with sporting events, eating out, shopping, etc. So in this regard it's not really any safer from COVID than most urban areas.

BUT, I can understand why a family of 4 that's been in lock down for months in a small 2 bedroom apartment with no yard suddenly wants a 3/2 with land for the kids to roam. Though I think many are in for a surprise when they realize they don't have access to fast reliable internet, and the amount of work that goes into maintaining land (fences, trimming trees, clearing brush, private wells, private roads, and so on).
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Trudie on July 10, 2020, 07:50:41 PM
Livid in a rural area pre-Covid and am urban in FiRE.  Itís so much easier here.  Options for shopping, city parks and green spaces, health care...everything is better.  I like being able to get carry out,  I like having options for grocery shopping that are safe.  The small town library in our old town closed.  Here we can do curbside pickup.  I donít get stir crazy.  Urban life is much better.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Linea_Norway on July 11, 2020, 12:30:16 AM
Seems like the urban vs rural debate has become a hotter topic with the pandemic raging. Early on, it seemed like cities were at a higher risk (and they may still be, since people are closer together).
That said, rural areas of the US are struggling now as healthcare capacities are lower.

Frugalwoods just wrote a big post (https://www.frugalwoods.com/2020/07/06/want-to-move-to-the-country-15-things-to-consider/), though pretty balanced, naturally favoring the rural life.
They're in Vermont.

I really enjoyed the perspective as an urban dweller (and ended up writing a retort (https://www.tictoclife.com/urban-vs-rural-frugalwoods/) from the city POV here in Virginia).

What do you all think about this age-old urban vs rural living debate in light of the crisis (crises) in the US right now?

I just finished reading the frugalwoods part and realized that I have been living like that for 15 years. I thought that area was suburban, but maybe it was more frugal. We had our own well, electrically driven. A wood stove and own small forest. Bigger forest on walking distance. Bigger town on driving distance, almost nothing on walking distance. Difficult road, so no service or delivery in winter. Private road that flushes away with heavy rainfall, lots or work to maintain ditches and potholes. Removing wasp nests from the attic. But we did have a train station on walking distance, with a 35 min commute to the capital. Only when that station was closed down, we bought a second car.

Our cabin is even more remote, with no water and no road up to the door. We now have an almost new refrigerator (I had to ask a neighbour for snow scooter sledge transportation), but in the vegetable drawer it freezes. Normally you would bring it back to the shop and ask for a replacement. But that is just too much fuss.

I was worried that our future post FIRE house would be to remote. But as long as it is not worse to what I have been living with, it is okay.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on July 11, 2020, 06:13:00 AM
Since my initial post, I've realized that living in a remote area full-time would be too isolated for me. I've always enjoyed being in the woods by myself, but being able to occasionally meet up with friends and having friendly acquaintances is important to my mental health. Oddly, I came to this realization when I realized how moving to a remote area would deprive my dog of his playmates. Also, as a single, middle-aged woman, I've begrudgingly started to realize that I may not have the skill or strength to maintain a homestead on my own for the long term.

I've since started looking at near-urban rural properties that would give me an acre or more of garden space while still being within a short drive of the city where the dog and I could each see friends. Naturally, properties within a daily commuting radius of the city are far more expensive than properties further out, and since I'm not commuting for work, the temptation remains to go a wee bit further out to get more land for the money, but then I wonder how far I can go before I start seeing social visits to the city as an inconvenience. In the meanwhile, the longer I stay put in my current urban home, the more I fiddle with my garden and home to be perfect for me. While I yearn for vast swathes of land, I think that I'm likely to stay in my little oasis for a long time. 

I'm not in the USA, but I admit that pandemics and climate change do factor into my lust for land. Since reading "The Day of the Trifids" as a teenager, I've always wanted the safety of a self-reliant homestead. It's only as I've matured that I've realized that the loneliness of eking out an existence on my own might be less desirable than slugging out the hard times with a community. So for the moment I'm trading in my dream of a retirement spent growing acres of vegetables for the local food banks for one spent sewing fabric masks so that people can stay together safely. 

... I'm still going to continue to look at property listings though...
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on July 11, 2020, 11:13:44 AM
Last summer, we stayed for a month in a SFH on 1/2 acre, in a neighborhood with probably 100 other similar homes. CC&Rs required that all houses be >3Ksqft, yet most homes were only occupied by 1-4 people. It was August, so most people in the neighborhood never even came outside their houses, except when they had to mow the lawn and weedwack. The rest of the time, they were sitting inside with the AC cranked up. Except for people who hired professionals to maintain their properties, every family in that neighborhood had to have a duplicate set of lawn and home maintenance equipment: lawnmower, weedwacker, trimmer, rakes, shovels, ladders, hand tools, etc. And every house in that subdivision had to have its own central AC unit, furnace, etc., that require constant maintenance. I just kept thinking to myself how much more efficient it would be if those 100 families all lived in one nice-sized apartment building, with one big central AC unit and furnace, with 100 acres of forest around it, some hiking/jogging trails, a nice playground for the kids, and maybe a pool. A maintenance guy, or a few of them, could easily keep the grounds around the apartment building and parking lots looking good, and all the HVAC infrastructure professionally maintained, for a tiny fraction of the time, energy and expense those 100 families currently have to put into maintaining their properties themselves.

I've already been there, done that, with maintaining a big property out in the country. Happy to be living in FIRE in a small-size city with lots to do, all withing easy walking distance from our home. It's great having a "yard" with not one blade of grass to cut. We've got lots of pots full of herbs and veggies and flowers, but no lawns for us anymore.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on July 12, 2020, 12:22:05 AM
That's so sad @Shane. That's not my experience at all, living in a terraced neighbourhood. On summer days like today people open up windows and doors early in the morning. After breakfast kids are starting to play outside. The whole day there's a background hum of playing kids, paddle pools, BBQ, people who take their radio's outside, older people who get together to sit in their chairs, mothers hanging laundry, fathers gardening. Sometimes the noise drives me crazy and I wish for a rural property, but noise is much better than everyone staying indoors!
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on July 12, 2020, 04:23:07 AM
That's so sad @Shane. That's not my experience at all, living in a terraced neighbourhood. On summer days like today people open up windows and doors early in the morning. After breakfast kids are starting to play outside. The whole day there's a background hum of playing kids, paddle pools, BBQ, people who take their radio's outside, older people who get together to sit in their chairs, mothers hanging laundry, fathers gardening. Sometimes the noise drives me crazy and I wish for a rural property, but noise is much better than everyone staying indoors!

In the US, cheap energy prices has led to almost everyone having central AC in their single family homes. It didn't used to be this way. Even in the city where we live now, almost no one comes outside, except when they have to walk their dogs, or else to hop into their air-conditioned cars to drive off to some big box store. Most people prefer to stay inside to keep cool. I agree, it's sad that community in the US has disintegrated to the point where most people seem to prefer to sit alone inside their houses, ranting at each other over FB or Nextdoor, rather than getting outside, meeting their neighbors in person, getting physical exercise, and experiencing the real physical world. Unfortunately, things are being made even worse by Covid this summer.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Sun Hat on July 12, 2020, 05:46:04 AM
That's so sad @Shane. That's not my experience at all, living in a terraced neighbourhood. On summer days like today people open up windows and doors early in the morning. After breakfast kids are starting to play outside. The whole day there's a background hum of playing kids, paddle pools, BBQ, people who take their radio's outside, older people who get together to sit in their chairs, mothers hanging laundry, fathers gardening. Sometimes the noise drives me crazy and I wish for a rural property, but noise is much better than everyone staying indoors!

In the US, cheap energy prices has led to almost everyone having central AC in their single family homes. It didn't used to be this way. Even in the city where we live now, almost no one comes outside, except when they have to walk their dogs, or else to hop into their air-conditioned cars to drive off to some big box store. Most people prefer to stay inside to keep cool. I agree, it's sad that community in the US has disintegrated to the point where most people seem to prefer to sit alone inside their houses, ranting at each other over FB or Nextdoor, rather than getting outside, meeting their neighbors in person, getting physical exercise, and experiencing the real physical world. Unfortunately, things are being made even worse by Covid this summer.

This is a good reminder to me to appreciate the neighborhood that I have, which sounds a lot more like Imma's than the one that Shane describes. We walk our dogs together, chat as we garden, stroll to the shops, and yes - listen to the constant squeals of children playing outside. There are some who have kept to themselves more since COVID, but we wave at a distance, and after I put some cloth face masks in their mailboxes, I got a slew of baked goods left in mine. As a community, we're doing fine.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: FINate on July 12, 2020, 12:32:34 PM
That's so sad @Shane. That's not my experience at all, living in a terraced neighbourhood. On summer days like today people open up windows and doors early in the morning. After breakfast kids are starting to play outside. The whole day there's a background hum of playing kids, paddle pools, BBQ, people who take their radio's outside, older people who get together to sit in their chairs, mothers hanging laundry, fathers gardening. Sometimes the noise drives me crazy and I wish for a rural property, but noise is much better than everyone staying indoors!

In the US, cheap energy prices has led to almost everyone having central AC in their single family homes. It didn't used to be this way. Even in the city where we live now, almost no one comes outside, except when they have to walk their dogs, or else to hop into their air-conditioned cars to drive off to some big box store. Most people prefer to stay inside to keep cool. I agree, it's sad that community in the US has disintegrated to the point where most people seem to prefer to sit alone inside their houses, ranting at each other over FB or Nextdoor, rather than getting outside, meeting their neighbors in person, getting physical exercise, and experiencing the real physical world. Unfortunately, things are being made even worse by Covid this summer.

This is a good reminder to me to appreciate the neighborhood that I have, which sounds a lot more like Imma's than the one that Shane describes. We walk our dogs together, chat as we garden, stroll to the shops, and yes - listen to the constant squeals of children playing outside. There are some who have kept to themselves more since COVID, but we wave at a distance, and after I put some cloth face masks in their mailboxes, I got a slew of baked goods left in mine. As a community, we're doing fine.

This also still exists in the US. Our neighborhood is alive with the sounds of children roaming the streets on foot/bike/scooter, families on cargo bikes, people walking their dogs, and neighbors greeting one another. Young kids walk on their own to the local park to play, and teens setup hammocks and slack lines and hang out together.

And yet everyone has AC and it's predominately single family housing. The difference, I think, is that it's an older historic neighborhood with small lots and small blocks laid out in a grid pattern. There are lots of mature shade trees and everything is in walking/biking distance. And, importantly, the neighborhood is safe with very low crime.

Our previous neighborhood in coastal California was very walkable with a mild climate. No one had AC, but few families roamed the neighborhood due to extremely high crime. Not just property crime, but scary crazy people out of their minds with addiction and/or mental illness. Drug needles and human feces were a regular sight on the street and at the park, along with super sketchy and aggressive dudes who would harass moms with kids. The school district even hired private security for the bus stop for the safety of parents and students.

IMO, it's less about AC and more about the philosophy that goes into designing a neighborhood/city. The modern track housing layout is very car centric: large high-traffic high-speed boulevards, large suburban lots, and twisting neighborhood streets with lots of dead-ends to discourage through traffic. You may have a restaurant or park near your house, but you'll have to walk a circuitous ~1 mile route to get there because the layout is intentionally disconnected.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: sui generis on July 12, 2020, 03:12:36 PM


IMO, it's less about AC and more about the philosophy that goes into designing a neighborhood/city. The modern track housing layout is very car centric: large high-traffic high-speed boulevards, large suburban lots, and twisting neighborhood streets with lots of dead-ends to discourage through traffic. You may have a restaurant or park near your house, but you'll have to walk a circuitous ~1 mile route to get there because the layout is intentionally disconnected.

This is how I grew up, in the exurbs and suburbs of Southern California. Really discouraged walking anywhere.  I moved to NorCal and there are a lot of less twisty streets, but they have a great way of still discouraging car traffic while encouraging bikers and walkers with direct access instead of blocking them with lots of cul de sacs - there are just tons of side streets, all the streets with homes and sometimes smaller shops, that will suddenly have large planters blocking access to cars to go past an intersection (you can only turn left or right), so cars can never drive straight through on side streets for more than like a quarter mile or so, only on main streets.  Bikers and walkers can keep going. It really keeps traffic lighter there.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Chris@TTL on July 12, 2020, 03:23:16 PM
Seems like the urban vs rural debate has become a hotter topic with the pandemic raging. Early on, it seemed like cities were at a higher risk (and they may still be, since people are closer together).
That said, rural areas of the US are struggling now as healthcare capacities are lower.

Frugalwoods just wrote a big post (https://www.frugalwoods.com/2020/07/06/want-to-move-to-the-country-15-things-to-consider/), though pretty balanced, naturally favoring the rural life.
They're in Vermont.

I really enjoyed the perspective as an urban dweller (and ended up writing a retort (https://www.tictoclife.com/city-life-vs-country-life/) from the city life point of view here in Virginia).

What do you all think about this age-old urban vs rural living debate in light of the crisis (crises) in the US right now?

I just finished reading the frugalwoods part and realized that I have been living like that for 15 years. I thought that area was suburban, but maybe it was more frugal. We had our own well, electrically driven. A wood stove and own small forest. Bigger forest on walking distance. Bigger town on driving distance, almost nothing on walking distance. Difficult road, so no service or delivery in winter. Private road that flushes away with heavy rainfall, lots or work to maintain ditches and potholes. Removing wasp nests from the attic. But we did have a train station on walking distance, with a 35 min commute to the capital. Only when that station was closed down, we bought a second car.

Our cabin is even more remote, with no water and no road up to the door. We now have an almost new refrigerator (I had to ask a neighbour for snow scooter sledge transportation), but in the vegetable drawer it freezes. Normally you would bring it back to the shop and ask for a replacement. But that is just too much fuss.

I was worried that our future post FIRE house would be to remote. But as long as it is not worse to what I have been living with, it is okay.

Haha, I'm pretty sure that is rural! Any time you make a claim to have a forest (even "small"), I don't think you're in suburbia anymore. Sounds like a very different life from us city slickers!

As to the other comments from @Shane and all, I'd have to lean towards my experience (pretty mixed across the US) being similar to Shane's in suburbia. It's not that folks aren't nice, that the houses aren't well maintained (or the yards for that matter); it's just that everyone kind of hides inside. And at least in my experience, that wasn't due to crime.

These were very low crime neighborhoods. Rather, it's because of car culture, and suburbia not having much to do within it. You couldn't really walk *to* anything aside from a neighbor's house or if you're lucky to have sidewalks, maybe to a path that snakes around a lightly wooded area.

Like some other posters mentioned, this wasn't grid suburbia just outside of the city. This is suburban communities that are many miles from any real city or where the people that live there, work. They're based on cul-de-sacs and confusing, round, winding roads. They're practically hostile to walking. However, my experience has all been in modern suburbs (I think the oldest I've lived in was built in the late 80s).

But, nonetheless, different strokes for different folks. People should live where they are happy.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on July 13, 2020, 06:04:53 AM
The place I mentioned where we lived for a month last summer was a relatively recently developed suburb, about 5 miles from the city center. Granted, it was hot when we stayed there, as it was mid-August, but we never saw anyone, besides ourselves, walking around that neighborhood, and the only people we saw outside their houses were about to get into their air conditioned cars, or else, operating lawnmowers or some other type of landscaping equipment. The fact that that neighborhood was designed and built without any sidewalks seemed like a pretty clear sign that walking wasn't really imagined as a way people living there would get around. The nearest stores were a couple of miles away and would've required crossing some pretty major (8 lane) roads to get to, anyway. After spending a month living there, we were grateful to be able to move on to a more urban neighborhood.

Where we live, now, in the city is very different. There are sidewalks everywhere, so there are people walking around the neighborhood everyday. Just looked at my Ring doorbell log, and ~25 groups of people passed by the front of my house in the past 24 hours, around 3/4 of them walking dogs. Neighbors who have dogs seem relatively more approachable. While riding my bike, I'll often stop when I see a neighbor I recognize walking their dog(s) and talk with them for a few minutes. After living in the country for 20+ years, where we let all of our pets roam freely, it's hard to imagine wanting to have a dog in the city. It seems kind of cruel for the animals and a nuisance for the humans to have to walk them around multiple times every day and to have to, literally, pick up their shit for them. It's hard for me to imagine anyone voluntarily doing that everyday. The upside of having a dog in the city, though, seems to be an opportunity for a bit more social interaction with neighbors, and it also forces people who might otherwise be completely sedentary to get out of the house and get some exercise. For now, anyway, I'll just stick to my bike for exercise. Days when it's raining or I don't feel like going out, I can just leave my bike parked in my living room.

There's an interesting dichotomy on our city block. One end of the block is mostly rentals, 3 units to a house, and the other end of the block is mostly owner-occupied SFHs. We and our immediate neighbors all own our homes, so have all 3 floors + basement to ourselves. Whereas, people at the other end of the block are mostly renters, who are just inhabiting either a first, second, or third floor apartment in the same type of 120 year old city row house. The mostly poorer, mostly browner people living in rentals at one end of our block tend to not have central AC in their apartments. Maybe because of a lack of AC, or maybe because of cultural differences, many of those renters can often be seen sitting outside on their porches or stoops, as their kids play on the sidewalk and street in front of their houses. When I ride by on my bicycle, I always wave and say hello to those neighbors who are sitting outside on summer evenings. The whiter, richer, homeowners on our end of the block all have central AC and, therefore, rarely come outside of their houses, especially during these hot summer days, except when they are about to hop into their air conditioned cars to head off somewhere.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Imma on July 13, 2020, 08:58:58 AM
I'm glad to read that there are still lively neighbourhoods in the US :)  From an American perspective my area is probably a historic  neighbourhood (interbellum) - lots are small (100 - 250 m2) and there's a highstreet with shops in the middle. The area was designed before cars became mainstream, but even new developments are generally designed with shops within walking distance and within city limits sidewalks are mandatory. In my country people don't want to live in a location which requires a car for every errand. In the past no one in here had A/C but as our summers are warmer now, many people have bought A/C (usually portable devices). But that doesn't seem to cause them to stay indoors. On the contrary, porches and large semi-permanent swimming pools have become popular in the same period. Now people have more spare time during the pandemic, they are spending more time outdoors than ever.

Many people actually like walking their dogs! It's an opportunity to make social contact, an excuse to go for a walk, a companion and an excuse to go to the park on your own.

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: FINate on July 13, 2020, 09:37:52 AM
Good summary of how the automobile influenced convoluted streets in the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9vDcfH03gs
And also, the systemic racism aspect of this design: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWhYlu7ZfYM
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Rural on July 14, 2020, 04:09:17 PM

Definitely have been grateful to be so rural during this lockdown. We would have gone absolutely stir crazy in the city. Instead, we can go hiking every day and still go weeks without seeing another human being (yes, even through the windshield of a vehicle).


But then we have a forest, too. :-)


Also virtually no Internet and no hospital.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on July 14, 2020, 06:11:58 PM

Definitely have been grateful to be so rural during this lockdown.

There's no comprehensive  lockdown in my rural county; it's partial.

The remove of living where I do boosts my confidence that I have a very low probability of getting infected by the virus.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Rural on July 14, 2020, 06:20:19 PM
Okay, yes, self imposed lockdown here because we don't want to die. There was never much of one here either.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on July 14, 2020, 06:29:32 PM


Where we live, now, in the city is very different. There are sidewalks everywhere, so there are people walking around the neighborhood everyday. Just looked at my Ring doorbell log, and ~25 groups of people passed by the front of my house in the past 24 hours, around 3/4 of them walking dogs.

My rural locale is the polar opposite.

During morning "rush hour" my neighbor passes by on his way to work.

During evening "rush hour" he passes by on his way home.

Typically, he is the only in-the-flesh person I see on a daily basis.

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on July 14, 2020, 08:45:07 PM
Good summary of how the automobile influenced convoluted streets in the US: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9vDcfH03gs
And also, the systemic racism aspect of this design: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vWhYlu7ZfYM

Thanks. Watched both those videos. Interesting.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on July 14, 2020, 08:52:27 PM


Where we live, now, in the city is very different. There are sidewalks everywhere, so there are people walking around the neighborhood everyday. Just looked at my Ring doorbell log, and ~25 groups of people passed by the front of my house in the past 24 hours, around 3/4 of them walking dogs.

My rural locale is the polar opposite.

During morning "rush hour" my neighbor passes by on his way to work.

During evening "rush hour" he passes by on his way home.

Typically, he is the only in-the-flesh person I see on a daily basis.

Where we lived for almost 20 years before moving here was at the top of a hill, at the end of a long gravel road. Literally nobody "passed by" our place. Either they were intentionally coming to visit us, or they were lost.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: WSUCoug1994 on July 17, 2020, 08:51:03 AM
I do believe it doesn't have to be one or the other.  We live within six miles of a primarily agricultural town (population 155,000) but we live on 22 acres.  We are 60 miles from San Francisco.  We have all of the animals on the property you could imagine and could easily homestead if we choose to - we don't choose to.  It is the best of both worlds - can't see another house from where we live but all of the comforts of living near a city that is economically driven on agriculture and small business.  We do live on a well/septic but there is a home depot less than two miles away.  We have little ambient light so the stars are incredible but it also dark as hell at night.  Decent schools with a few high-end private schools.  It feels like a small town and acts like a small town without feeling limited to resources.  Some places/services will deliver here but not all of them but I can uber to small rural airport and get to just about anywhere I need to go for work.  Worst case scenario I have to drive 75 miles to SFO.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on July 20, 2020, 01:31:34 PM
We have little ambient light so the stars are incredible but it also dark as hell at night.


+1


Though I like  the absence  of light pollution at my rural location if I did live in a city I would enjoy  its splendorous,  nighttime cityscape.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on July 20, 2020, 01:45:25 PM
Yes itís definitely a different mindset.  Here, people get lost every year doing things like hunting and berry picking - even people who should know better.  The further north you go, the denser the bush and you certainly donít want to be lost there, where there are a bunch of wild animals, especially bears and wolves.  No fun.  Rural is one thing; wilderness is another.

Once in a while a black bear or cougar is seen in my neighborhood.

About a year ago I saw a large cougar strolling down the road right in front of my house.



Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Monkey Uncle on July 20, 2020, 02:02:32 PM
Yes itís definitely a different mindset.  Here, people get lost every year doing things like hunting and berry picking - even people who should know better.  The further north you go, the denser the bush and you certainly donít want to be lost there, where there are a bunch of wild animals, especially bears and wolves.  No fun.  Rural is one thing; wilderness is another.

Once in a while a black bear or cougar is seen in my neighborhood.

About a year ago I saw a large cougar strolling down the road right in front of my house.

Yeah, you don't need to go to the wilderness to find bears.  I live in the edge of town, and one particular bear has gotten so bad this year that I finally had to give up and take down my bird feeders, probably for the rest of the summer.  I spend a lot of time in the woods, and I've seen more bears in my yard than anywhere else.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: dougules on July 20, 2020, 03:12:48 PM
We have little ambient light so the stars are incredible but it also dark as hell at night.


+1


Though I like  the absence  of light pollution at my rural location if I did live in a city I would enjoy  its splendorous,  nighttime cityscape.

While I have no desire whatsoever to live in the country, it would be really nice to live in a place with less light pollution.  The stars always surprise me when I'm somewhere with a dark sky. 
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Fishindude on July 21, 2020, 09:43:29 AM
Kind of a pet peeve of mine living rural is those stupid farm and home security lights that burn all night.
It's not like this is a high crime area where we need lights on all the time to protect our stuff.   

Seems like a terrible waste of energy, plus the added light pollution.
Put the dang thing on a switch and only use it when needed.

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Shane on July 21, 2020, 01:43:59 PM
Apparently, a not insignificant number of adults are actually scared of the dark. It never would've occurred to me, but people who visited our farm regularly asked us if we weren't scared at night, because there were no street lights...
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: GuitarStv on July 21, 2020, 02:11:56 PM
Yes itís definitely a different mindset.  Here, people get lost every year doing things like hunting and berry picking - even people who should know better.  The further north you go, the denser the bush and you certainly donít want to be lost there, where there are a bunch of wild animals, especially bears and wolves.  No fun.  Rural is one thing; wilderness is another.

Once in a while a black bear or cougar is seen in my neighborhood.

About a year ago I saw a large cougar strolling down the road right in front of my house.

They're often hanging around in bars too.  Be careful.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: GreenSheep on July 21, 2020, 02:53:07 PM
Apparently, a not insignificant number of adults are actually scared of the dark. It never would've occurred to me, but people who visited our farm regularly asked us if we weren't scared at night, because there were no street lights...

Yes! I grew up in a suburban neighborhood with no sidewalks or streetlights, and my college friends were nervous about going there at night. Those houses sell for upwards of half a million these days, and the only crimes they have are teenagers-smashing-pumpkins types of things.

My husband and I moved a few years ago to a rural location from a large city, and non-rural people ask me all the time if I feel safe here at night when my husband isn't home. They also ask if I feel safer now that we have a fence around the property. The fence is to keep out deer. This, on a gravel road where our neighbors drive over to give us eggs, have helped push my Mustache-mobile up the hill when the new gravel was too deep for it, or brushed snow off my car (unasked) while I was out of town so I wouldn't come home to a big icy mess. I feel much less safe in many brightly-lit urban areas than I do here.

And finally, my MIL calls my beloved mossy, ferny PNW hiking trails "spooky" because they're not bright and sunny like her Florida beaches.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on July 22, 2020, 05:51:59 PM
We have little ambient light so the stars are incredible but it also dark as hell at night.


+1


Though I like  the absence  of light pollution at my rural location if I did live in a city I would enjoy  its splendorous,  nighttime cityscape.

While I have no desire whatsoever to live in the country, it would be really nice to live in a place with less light pollution.  The stars always surprise me when I'm somewhere with a dark sky.

A friend of mine dated a young woman who had never been away from Los Angeles where she was born and reared.

As most people know, Los Angeles is smoggy.

And lights are everywhere.

When they visited  me  my friend's SO was amazed by all the stars she'd  never seen before.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: John Galt incarnate! on July 22, 2020, 06:08:30 PM

 This, on a gravel road where our neighbors drive over to give us eggs, have helped push my Mustache-mobile up the hill when the new gravel was too deep for it, or brushed snow off my car (unasked) while I was out of town so I wouldn't come home to a big icy mess..



A "neighbor" (I don't know who they were)  received a misdelivered package   in their mailbox.

Since my address was on the package they drove to my house and placed it on my front porch with a note explaining that "it was put in our mailbox by mistake."

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: GuitarStv on July 22, 2020, 09:22:27 PM

 This, on a gravel road where our neighbors drive over to give us eggs, have helped push my Mustache-mobile up the hill when the new gravel was too deep for it, or brushed snow off my car (unasked) while I was out of town so I wouldn't come home to a big icy mess..



A "neighbor" (I don't know who they were)  received a misdelivered package   in their mailbox.

Since my address was on the package they drove to my house and placed it on my front porch with a note explaining that "it was put in our mailbox by mistake."

I've had the same thing happen to me . . . and we live in Toronto, not in the middle of nowhere.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: dang1 on July 22, 2020, 10:42:27 PM
We have little ambient light so the stars are incredible but it also dark as hell at night.
+1
Though I like  the absence  of light pollution at my rural location if I did live in a city I would enjoy  its splendorous,  nighttime cityscape.

While I have no desire whatsoever to live in the country, it would be really nice to live in a place with less light pollution.  The stars always surprise me when I'm somewhere with a dark sky.

A friend of mine dated a young woman who had never been away from Los Angeles where she was born and reared.

As most people know, Los Angeles is smoggy.

And lights are everywhere.

When they visited  me  my friend's SO was amazed by all the stars she'd  never seen before.

that's terrible- a little road trip up 395, owens valley, east to nevada, down to baja- and no man-made lights at all, all moon and starlight.  https://www.lightpollutionmap.info/ eastern half of the US has fewer places not light polluted
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Mighty Eyebrows on August 01, 2020, 10:51:42 AM
Haha, I'm pretty sure that is rural! Any time you make a claim to have a forest (even "small"), I don't think you're in suburbia anymore.
Don't be so sure about the "forest = not-city" idea:
https://fh-sites.imgix.net/sites/3492/2019/11/02235119/October-Ice-Cave-Adventures-3.jpg
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Chris@TTL on August 01, 2020, 12:45:59 PM
Haha, I'm pretty sure that is rural! Any time you make a claim to have a forest (even "small"), I don't think you're in suburbia anymore.
Don't be so sure about the "forest = not-city" idea:
https://fh-sites.imgix.net/sites/3492/2019/11/02235119/October-Ice-Cave-Adventures-3.jpg

Haha, yes, Vancouver is green. Where we are in Virginia, the city's central park is a 550-acre wetland covered in forest.

The point though was that the OP *owns* a small forest.

I'd think, in Vancouver, you'd have to be quite an exceptionlly wealthy person to "own a small forest" within the city limits.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Mighty Eyebrows on August 01, 2020, 01:07:17 PM
The point though was that the OP *owns* a small forest.

I'd think, in Vancouver, you'd have to be quite an exceptionlly wealthy person to "own a small forest" within the city limits.
Ah yes, I missed the ownership part.

You are right about Vancouver. However, there are many Canadian cities where you can own 5 or 10 acres of forest within a 30 minute drive of a major shopping area.

Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on August 01, 2020, 01:12:47 PM
The point though was that the OP *owns* a small forest.

I'd think, in Vancouver, you'd have to be quite an exceptionlly wealthy person to "own a small forest" within the city limits.
Ah yes, I missed the ownership part.

You are right about Vancouver. However, there are many Canadian cities where you can own 5 or 10 acres of forest within a 30 minute drive of a major shopping area.

True. I live in the urban core of a major Canadian city and my family owns a significant chunk of hill forest about the size of a small ski hill a 25 minute drive from my door.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: InvincibleChutzpah on August 03, 2020, 11:00:54 AM
The idea of living in a small town/rural area really appeals to me. What worries me is that I am a gay woman in an interracial relationship. That's not weird at all in the city, but small town folks aren't exactly the most open minded. We live in the Houston suburbs now and the gawking is enraging. We aren't even a particularly touchy couple. Last week just a "Hey bae should we get the regular mac n'cheese or the low sodium?" at the grocery store got a huffy grunt and look of horror from the old lady a couple feet away.


I guess I'm worried that moving to a rural area will get us a cross burning on our front lawn or the word "faggot" painted on the garage door.


It's unfortunate that open minded nearly always means high cost of living.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Malcat on August 03, 2020, 11:56:55 AM
The idea of living in a small town/rural area really appeals to me. What worries me is that I am a gay woman in an interracial relationship. That's not weird at all in the city, but small town folks aren't exactly the most open minded. We live in the Houston suburbs now and the gawking is enraging. We aren't even a particularly touchy couple. Last week just a "Hey bae should we get the regular mac n'cheese or the low sodium?" at the grocery store got a huffy grunt and look of horror from the old lady a couple feet away.


I guess I'm worried that moving to a rural area will get us a cross burning on our front lawn or the word "faggot" painted on the garage door.


It's unfortunate that open minded nearly always means high cost of living.

My hometown is an ultra progressive community which very openly welcomes everyone; but it isn't at all LCOL, so you might be onto something there.

ETA: sorry, that wasn't at all clear, they are hostile to outsiders to a degree that a lot of small towns are, but they are extremely accepting of LGBTQ, actively fundraised to sponsor a refugee family to join the community, and is populated by a large proportion of artists, so no amount of personal flair is ever blinked at. Most of the business owners have posed for a nude calendar to raise money.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Lucky Penny Acres on August 03, 2020, 12:32:13 PM
The idea of living in a small town/rural area really appeals to me. What worries me is that I am a gay woman in an interracial relationship. That's not weird at all in the city, but small town folks aren't exactly the most open minded. We live in the Houston suburbs now and the gawking is enraging. We aren't even a particularly touchy couple. Last week just a "Hey bae should we get the regular mac n'cheese or the low sodium?" at the grocery store got a huffy grunt and look of horror from the old lady a couple feet away.


I guess I'm worried that moving to a rural area will get us a cross burning on our front lawn or the word "faggot" painted on the garage door.


It's unfortunate that open minded nearly always means high cost of living.

You just need to find the right small town in the right area of the country. Try looking at some of the smaller college towns - they tend to be pretty liberal and more diverse.

I live in a rural area in central New York state. It is very non-diverse racially.  My wife and I are an interracial couple with a multi-racial child and we haven't had any racial issues at all.
Title: Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
Post by: Chris@TTL on August 16, 2020, 01:27:40 PM
The idea of living in a small town/rural area really appeals to me. What worries me is that I am a gay woman in an interracial relationship. That's not weird at all in the city, but small town folks aren't exactly the most open minded. We live in the Houston suburbs now and the gawking is enraging. We aren't even a particularly touchy couple. Last week just a "Hey bae should we get the regular mac n'cheese or the low sodium?" at the grocery store got a huffy grunt and look of horror from the old lady a couple feet away.


I guess I'm worried that moving to a rural area will get us a cross burning on our front lawn or the word "faggot" painted on the garage door.


It's unfortunate that open minded nearly always means high cost of living.

You just need to find the right small town in the right area of the country. Try looking at some of the smaller college towns - they tend to be pretty liberal and more diverse.

I live in a rural area in central New York state. It is very non-diverse racially.  My wife and I are an interracial couple with a multi-racial child and we haven't had any racial issues at all.

Iíd agree with this. Weíre pretty familiar with the Charlottesville, VA area for example which is home to UVA. Charlottesville isnít a big town (pop 48K). But itís quite progressive for being in a rural area of a southern state. That said, itís still surrounded in quite conservative rural country, which while pretty inexpensive in some areas (yet still has access to advanced medicine, forward thinking startups due to UVA, etc), has also been home to some very aggressive protesting around mostly conservative topics. Itís been in the news for some violent outbreaks around those topics, sadly, too.

You could make the argument thatís largely because of the growing diversity of the area.