Do you enjoy the hustle and bustle of city life or dream of peace and quiet?
Are you fascinated by towering skyscrapers and bright neon lights or favor the open sky and gentle moonlight?
Do you wish for a vibrant and dynamic lifestyle or prefer a slower pace of life?
If you find yourself leaning towards the second option, then it may be time to consider leaving the big city and moving to the country.
Living a simple life in the country may seem like a dreadful experience to many, but it could be a dream come true for others. If you’re tired of the hectic lifestyle, constant noise, endless crowds, and cold indifference of the city, the idea of peace and serenity, lush greenery, and close-knit communities might be quite appealing to you. Before deciding to move to the country though, you need to be well aware of the challenges of rural living as well.
So, when wondering “Should I move to the country?”, be sure to look at both sides of the coin – read on to find out the advantages and disadvantages of moving to the countryside, so you can make the right decision and achieve the life of your dreams.
Benefits of Moving to the Country
There are many good things about living in the country – clean air, abundant space, closeness to nature, lower cost of living, etc. All the advantages of country life, however, can be summed up in a single phrase – higher quality of life:
It’s well known that moving into the countryside can boost one’s physical and mental health. This comes as no surprise considering the numerous health benefits of living in the country:
Cleaner air – Moving to the country provides a breath of fresh air – both literally and figuratively. The further away you get from the city, the cleaner the air becomes (air quality in the countryside is much better than in urban areas because of the abundant greenery and less pollution) – and cleaner air means better breathing and a smaller risk of allergies, respiratory illnesses, and heart diseases. Keep in mind though, that it is not uncommon there to be factories in rural areas – if you want to move to the country for cleaner air, you need to choose an area with no industrial activity;
Closeness to nature – When living in the county, you’ll be surrounded by nature as soon as you step out of the door. Spending time in nature boosts the immune system, increases vitality, calms the nerves, and improves mood. What’s more, living so close to nature provides various opportunities for exciting outdoor activities which further contribute to better physical and mental health;
Easier access to organic food – Out in the countryside, there are plenty of farms where you can buy fresh fruits and vegetables – as well as milk, eggs, and even meat – right from the source (not to mention that there is usually enough land to start growing your own food if you want to). Eating quality, organic food can do miracles for your body and mind – your immune system will get stronger, your energy levels will increase, your focus will improve, etc.;
Less stress (see below) – It is the stress of big city living that causes higher rates of mental health problems. When living in the country, you’ll be more relaxed, so the risk of anxiety disorders and mood disorders will be much smaller and your psychological health will be better.
Life is slower and less demanding in the countryside – there are no hectic schedules, no urgent meetings, no big expectations, no social pressure, etc. You can slow down, shake off your anxieties, and focus on the things that really matter to you.
The peace and quiet of the countryside will work wonders for your nerves and your mental state. You’ll be calmer and more positive – your mood will improve and so will your concentration, your productivity, and your creativity.
In addition to the slower pace of life, lighter traffic in the country also contributes to decreased stress levels:
- You will be able to drive the greater distance in less time (as there will be fewer traffic lights and no traffic jams), won’t waste time in search of vacant parking places, and will avoid annoying and frustrating delays;
- You will feel more relaxed on the road as the risk of traffic accidents will be much smaller;
- Less traffic means less pollution and less noise.
All this helps reduce stress, boost well-being, and foster positivity.
Greater safety is another important benefit of country living. Statistical data suggests that crime is much lower in rural areas than in big cities – there are fewer people (and therefore fewer ill-intentioned individuals) out in the country, the percentage of police officers per capita is higher in non-urban areas than in urban areas, people know each other well and any strange behavior or activity becomes obvious immediately, etc. This means that crimes such as theft, robbery, homicide, and assault are less likely to happen in a small town or village – so when living in the country, you won’t need to worry so much about the safety of your loved ones and your property. You will feel more comfortable going out after dark, letting your kids play outside without supervision, or leaving the windows open while you sleep.
Because of the lighter traffic in the countryside, it will also be safer for your children to go to school alone, ride their bikes around the area, etc. They will grow in a safe and healthy environment and you will have your peace of mind – what better reason to move to the country.
More Affordable Living
The chance to improve your financial situation may also be a good incentive to relocate to the country. Less populated areas tend to have lower costs of living – you get more for your money when you live in the countryside:
Homes in the country are more affordable than homes in urban areas – buying or renting a property in the countryside will cost you about half as much as in a big city, as house and land prices go down the further out you go. Even utilities are cheaper in a small town or village;
Income taxes and property taxes are usually lower in non-urban areas;
Living expenses are also lower in rural areas – from groceries and household essentials to school tuitions and auto insurances, goods and services tend to cost less in the countryside.
Related: Lowest cost of living states in the US
Not only is it cheaper to live in the country, but you also have the chance to actually save money:
- You may have space to grow some of your own food – so you reduce grocery bills;
- You can add solar panels – so you spend less on power;
- You may be able to engage in various fun activities (town festivals, sports games, outdoor activities, etc.) for free – so you save on entertainment;
- There will be fewer overpriced temptations (such as fancy restaurants and luxury boutiques), so you will easily avoid overspending.
Since land is so much cheaper than in the cities, you will probably be able to afford a spacious new home with a vast outdoor area when moving to the country. There will be enough space for a flower garden, a summer kitchen, or a backyard workshop – whatever you want. You will have a big yard where your kids and pets can play at will, where you can throw big barbecues and hold big dances, etc.
All in all, when you relocate to the country, you will have room to breathe and be yourself and your children will have the space they need to grow up strong and happy.
The strong communal spirit is one of the greatest advantages of living in a rural community – people in the countryside are kind and friendly to each other, supportive and helpful in times of need.
When you move to the country, you’re likely to make more friends within a couple of months after the relocation than you’ve made all your life in the big city. Everyone will be eager to meet you and ready to assist you in any way they can. You’ll be invited to every local event and asked to participate in every communal activity. You and your family will live in a peaceful and friendly environment and will be able to count on your neighbors and fellow townspeople to lend you a hand whenever you need it.
On the other hand, though, you need to know that social circles in some small communities may be difficult to break into – the locals may be suspicious of the newcomers and it may take time and effort until they begin to trust you.
Less stress, less crime, less traffic, more space, cleaner air, and cheaper living are all good reasons to move to the countryside. Yet, rural living is not for everyone – it poses plenty of challenges that may cause you to regret moving to the country, especially if you’re not well prepared.
Disadvantages of Moving to the Country
When moving from the city to the country, you will encounter a lot of difficulties – it is not all roses in the countryside, after all. Here are some of the greatest drawbacks of rural living:
Fewer Job Opportunities
Unless you’re already retired or have a remote job, a sought-after trade, or great farming skills, it may be hard to make a living in the country. Employment opportunities are much scarcer in rural areas than in cities, so it may be difficult to find a suitable job or follow your chosen career path in the countryside. You may have to settle for a job below your education level or desired salary or to deal with a long commute to the nearest metropolitan area.
Limited Access to Healthcare
Even if there’s a good doctor in town, specialized medical facilities will be far away. If you or a member of your family requires regular care, you need to ensure that you will have access to an appropriate medical facility in the area you’re moving to.
Fewer Education Opportunities
Most small towns and villages have only one school – and no institutions of higher education, of course. If you have children, you need to consider their educational needs, make careful research, and choose an area with a good school to move to – or plan for long commutes to a nearby city.
Fewer Entertainment Options
The quiet life in the countryside may prove rather boring – you may miss the vibrancy and diversity of the big city, the exciting nightlife, spectacular cultural events, etc. Not to mention that there may be only one restaurant in town and the nearest movie theater may be miles away.
You may not even be able to enjoy some of your favorite activities, as there may not be a properly equipped place where to practice your hobby or a group of people who share your interests.
Limited Services and Conveniences
When you live in the country, it will take longer to get anywhere and services will be less reliable:
- You’ll have to drive for hours to access supermarkets, pharmacies, clothing stores, etc.;
It may be difficult – or impossible – to order food to your door. Deliveries may cost you more since you live far away from the convenient big cities;
- You may not be able to grab a snack after 10 pm. Even the gas station may be locked after midnight;
Your internet connection and TV connection may not be reliable and there may not even be mobile coverage in certain areas;
- You may have to learn some home maintenance skills, as there may not be a qualified plumber or electrician in town or they may be fully booked for weeks ahead, etc.;
- There may be frequent and long-lasting power outages as the risk of downed or shorted outlines is higher in the country (because of the abundant trees) and rural regions have lower priority after big storms (because of the fewer residents);
- Country roads may not be as well-maintained as urban roads and may be blocked by snow and ice for a long time in the winter;
- Public transport may be very limited or may not exist at all – you can’t do without a car (a sturdy vehicle) when living in a rural area and you’ll have to drive A LOT.
There are a number of unique challenges you may have to deal with when living in a rural area:
- Wildlife – Depending on the specific area where you live, you may experience run-ins with mountain lions, bears, coyotes, snakes, and other dangerous animals. Smaller critters like weasels, raccoons, squirrels, and mice can also cause a lot of damage to a country home;
- Bugs – Mosquitos, spiders, termites, and other insects – some of which can be quite dangerous or harmful – are abundant in the countryside;
- Forest fires, river floods, and other natural disasters are not likely to affect a city.
When you move to the country, you’ll live far away from everything and everyone – your social life will be almost non-existent and you may feel quite lonely:
- It will be difficult for your city friends to visit you or for you to visit them;
- It will be difficult to attend a social event in the city;
- There will be fewer people to befriend in your new area;
- There will be fewer social activities to engage in in the country;
- You may be trapped in your home for weeks (due to blocked roads, adverse weather conditions, etc.)
Last but not least, living in the country is toiling and requires a lot of hard work – especially if you decide to farm. From taking care of the livestock and tending to the garden to splitting firewood and shoveling snow from your driveway, there will be always something to be done, and sleeping in will become a thing of the past.
See also: Things to know before moving to the countryside
So, is moving to the country a good idea? It depends on what you want from your life, what you enjoy and what you dislike, what you can and cannot live without, what changes you’re comfortable accepting, and what compromises you’re ready to make. There will always be trade-offs, of course, but they may be worth it. Just make sure you carefully weigh the pros and cons of moving to the country before making the big step – and ensure a smooth and successful relocation if you decide that country living is right for you.