The Pros and Cons of Rural Living
I've written a couple articles exposing the lessons I've learned transitioning from city-life to rural-living, but after writing my recent Ladybug Farm post, I thought it was time to compose this! I was born in Toronto and spent the first few years of my life there before moving to a smaller city in the Greater Toronto Area.. and that was the only way of living I knew. As I came into my spirituality, I longed to fulfill that secret fantasy of living in the forest among the animals - and the closest I could get to that was to buy a house out in the country; far from the metropolitan area. It's been a blessing and a learning curve, but honestly.. as the eco-friendly and conscious person I already was, it was more about getting used to what's different. If you're considering a change to rural living, read on to learn what I have to say about what to consider!
Jump to my Pro & Con list at the bottom!
SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE HOME
Unless you're able to get yourself a newer build, chances are that your house is going to come with some history! I like the charm it added knowing our house was built out of - what was - a farm that was part of a much larger property 50+ years ago. And because of this, I was easily able to learn more by simply typing my address in on our village's museum website. Because these types of properties are commonly rebuilt, you need to be clear on its age! Properties that are 100+ years old aren't eligible for most insurance (which is one requirement you usually need to fulfill in order to buy a home), so that would be an obstacle [or deterrent] right there. And even some "newer" looking homes were completely rebuilt to sell... so they don't show their true age.
Unless the "insurance based on age" situation is a problem, there actually isn't a huge con here - aside form learning how to keep an eye on your overall property for (1) weather-influenced damage, (2) pest activity. My basement is more like a cellar; it's the original stone wall below ground, which causes water to drip in, which can cause shifts over time if not looked after. This is why we had to set up an elaborate dehumidifier system that pumps all the water back outside (into a rain barrel) during the warm months... so this may be something to consider if any similar findings come up in your home inspection. But if you don't have to worry about anything remotely like this, then you're good!
It's rare to find a country home that's available for rent (so be sure to jump on it if you can only rent and do find one!), which is why I'm only talking about home ownership here. There's truth to the fact that newer [country] homes sell for 150K+ MORE than the others, so if keeping costs low is a consideration of yours, then you'll want to entertain these older homes. I remember looking at other houses that looked a bit newer then mine (pictured above) on the outside, but the inside of this house blew me away with how spacious and updated it is. (Just some food for thought - don't judge any house until you have a walkthrough!)
My bottom line to share:
Pick the house that you fall in love with and will care for - this is more important!
GET READY TO ROLL UP YOUR SLEEVES
|Ready to maintain more lawns, gardens, or start growing vegetables?
Make sure you're willing and invested in doing so!
With more property space (and home ownership!), comes more responsibility! Having lived in rentals my entire life, I didn't learn how to properly care for everything because there was always someone else to call. And since moving to the country more often means you'll be switching from city water & sewer systems to well water & a septic tank, you learn a lot pretty quickly! Knowing I was signing up for this, I started educating myself while we were awaiting our closing date. For starters, your water supply comes from the water gathered by your well - which comes from the ground - which means no chemical use outdoors. EVERYTHING that goes down the drains ends up in your septic tank.. so know that stuff has nowhere else to go but back up into your house if something goes horribly wrong. And dumping the wrong stuff down your drain could also mean dropping thousands of dollars to replace your septic tank.
In places like where I am, there's no city collection of garbage -- you have to compost yourself, properly clean and sort the acceptable recyclables, and [unless there's a pick-up service you can pay for] you drive your garbage & recycling to the dumpsite. THE TRADE OFF: There's no water bills to pay, lower taxes due to less services, you become more self-sufficient, and the only maintenance needed (for water & sewage) are monthly bacteria treatments to drop down your toilet and adding salt to your water softener/filtration system. Yes, you'll need to call a company in every other year or so to empty out your septic tank, but the costs pale in comparison to what you pay living in a city!
Further to being less services available... there's also the reality that you are no longer in arms reach of food delivery services - or, at best, have very limited options. Personally, this was a win because I often give in when these things are too easily in reach. Alternatively, I have a 2-hour window every week where I drive into town to get my groceries, run my errands, and pick up that one fast food meal to feed my french fry craving. You get used to this.. along with the need to shop groceries more smartly so that you plan ahead for days where you're only up to cooking an easy meal, or late night cravings where there's nowhere to turn but your fridge and pantry cupboards.
HAVE RESPECT FOR MOTHER NATURE
It goes without saying that moving out into a rural area means more animals and greenery... since that's exactly why I wanted to live out here! Even though the surrounding area has farms for various animals, conservation areas full of wildlife, and lakefront spots to swim, canoe and fish in... it's an abundant area for both enjoying and hunting. I am NOT a hunter, so I admit I had to get used to seeing the crews of camo-clothed people and the nearby gun shop (of all stores needed in the middle of nowhere! LOL). I realized I had to take that with a grain of salt while noting I can play my part in protecting the animals that live on my property. I've set up bird feeders, bird houses, a controlled bird bath, and always keep a watchful eye from a distance... and this is honestly enough since you don't want to either domesticate them or tamper with their natural way of living.
All of this came with lessons! Every once in awhile, on the most wet and windy days, the smell of manure from the farms makes it way over... causing me to close my windows, which is something I've become fond of living out here with all it's fresh air and the constant song of birds. I had a hanging bird house that was in use earlier this year, which unfortunately was pulled down and torn open by a predator at night -- causing me to switch to bird homes that can be screwed into the fence. It wasn't the first time I had to hose bird bits and feathers off my walkways, which I had to accept as being a part of the circle of life. So no matter what the situation, or how you look at it, you're pretty well living hand-in-hand with wildlife, so you're better off enjoying it the best way you can!
There's hardly a con here unless you're squeamish about any critters (or creepy crawlers!)... but the truth is that even I, as a arachnophobe, haven't had a problem. I find this to be a PRO because it's such a huge contrast to living in a city. Long gone are the days where the only animals I would see are roadkill, and it's literally a breath of fresh air to be able to have windows open and not be disturbed by any sound or smell pollution.
Find the most appropriate way (for you) to embrace country living!
☆ Ample space to plant gardens and vegetables
☆ People are just generally much nicer; neighbours become friends,
and you get used to waving back at random people while walking your dog
☆ Bonus for dog lovers: I haven't seen a house/family that doesn't have at least 1
you'll be right at home (with no adjustments needed) out in the country
☆ A shift to lighter, freer, and more connected [to Mother Earth] energy for Empaths
☆ Exposure to more wildlife also means exposure to more wildlife death
☆ It can be tough to find other small businesses or list your own since small towns & villages tend to be named by region/area depending on the online platform
(only a con if you're up to no good like throwing late, loud parties;
while properties may be spacious, it's quiet enough to hear everything!)
☆ You can't slack on lawn maintenance or dressing appropriately; ticks are in these areas in higher numbers, many will warn you about the risk to both people & pets