Author Topic: Talk to me about living in a rural area  (Read 14914 times)

Sun Hat

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Talk to me about living in a rural area
« 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?


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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #1 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #2 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).

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #3 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.

ketchup

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #4 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

Monkey Uncle

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #5 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.

Malcat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #6 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...

Cpa Cat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #7 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.

LifeHappens

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #8 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.

Sun Hat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #9 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.

LifeHappens

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #10 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.

Imma

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #11 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.

Malcat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #12 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???

sui generis

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #13 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.

Malcat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #14 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.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #15 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!



« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 06:47:07 PM by John Galt incarnate! »

Nickel

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #16 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.

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blue_green_sparks

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #17 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.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #18 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.

Sun Hat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #19 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.

Sun Hat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #20 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....
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 05:25:37 AM by Sun Hat »

Dee18

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #21 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.

Malcat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #22 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.

SachaFiscal

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #23 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.

FINate

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #24 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.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2019, 11:08:49 AM by FINate »

Rural

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #25 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.

Trudie

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #26 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.


Imma

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #27 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.

FINate

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #28 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.

happy

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #29 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.




Car Jack

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #30 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.

Sun Hat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #31 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!

Mighty Eyebrows

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #32 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.

John Galt incarnate!

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #33 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.

familyandfarming

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #34 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.
« Last Edit: December 16, 2019, 11:32:01 AM by familyandfarming »

Imma

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #35 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.

Sun Hat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #36 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.




Malcat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #37 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.


Imma

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #38 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.

GuitarStv

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #39 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.

LifeHappens

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #40 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.

Malcat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #41 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.

familyandfarming

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #42 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!
« Last Edit: December 17, 2019, 11:33:38 AM by familyandfarming »

Sun Hat

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #43 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).

familyandfarming

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #44 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!

Shane

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #45 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.

Fishindude

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #46 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.

pab88

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #47 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.

Linea_Norway

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #48 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.

SunnyDays

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Re: Talk to me about living in a rural area
« Reply #49 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.