Have you been dreaming of moving away from the hustling pace of city life into a quieter, more laidback, rural setting? It seems somewhat romantic when you think about it. A huge backyard for your kids or pets to play in, sunrises over mountaintops and trees– so many trees!
For you and your family, it may be the right move to escape from the noise, the pollution and the headaches of modern society, but there are plenty of new obstacles you might encounter along the way. Make sure to set yourself up for success before moving to a rural home.
Here are our 9 things to know before moving from the city to a rural area:
1. Finding a Home
If you’re relocating to be close to family and friends, you probably won’t have much research to do. But if you are moving somewhere you are not familiar with or don’t know anyone, searching online for real estate and the home of your dreams has never been easier. You can take a virtual tour of prospective homes, and even learn more about the community where you plan to move with the ease of a few mouse clicks.
As you research living in a rural area, examine what’s most important to you, whether that’s job opportunities, the live music scene, fine arts, or local shopping. You can’t expect the extensive array of choices you would find in a city or even suburban area, but you might be surprised to find the amount of lively activities and amenities many small towns have to offer.
2. No Short Trips
One of the nice things about living in a populated city or urban area is convenience. There are grocery stores, mini-malls, gas stations and restaurants everywhere. If you only need one thing, like a loaf of bread or a gallon of milk, simply jump in your car and quickly go get it. Your new rural home could be many miles away from these types of services and stores.
Start making grocery and to-do lists for all the essential tasks necessary on these long excursions. You‘ll need to plan your shopping trips, gas fill-ups and outings more strategically. Most likely, you’ll have one or two grocery runs to town per week, so don’t forget to top off your gas tank while you’re there.
3. Medical Services
Living in a rural area may make it difficult to conveniently access medical services. If you’re used to the ease of booking a doctor’s appointment and being seen immediately, you may have trouble adjusting to the lengthy wait times for medical services in small towns. Seeking specialized treatment, like with a psychiatrist or a physical therapist, might require even greater waiting times and a good distance to travel in order to be seen.
Another important issue to keep in mind; if there are any medical emergencies around your home that require professional attention, you might have to become your own medical transportation. Living many miles from your closest emergency hospital will lengthen ambulance response times a great deal. In situations like a heart attack or stroke, time is of the essence when it comes to getting medical attention.
If you depend on technology for work, play, and everything else, make sure your new town has a fast and reliable broadband Internet connection. Sure, you can tether your smartphone to your computer or purchase a portable Wi-Fi device through your cell provider, but you’ll still need solid service, and the new area you want to live may not have great cell reception at all. Do your research on this before you move, and find the carrier that has the best reception for the area. Especially if you are working from home, you’ll need good internet services.
In addition, you may want to examine the availability of cable services in your new town, although many rural area residents rely on satellite TV, instead. As long as you have a fast Internet connection, you can get rid of broadcast television altogether and rely on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and similar streaming services.
5. Limited Public Transportation
Convenient transportation is something that city dwellers might take for granted. There will be no taxi services waiting at your doorstep and your chances of finding an Uber or Lyft in rural areas are non-existent. Also, even finding a bus with multiple departure times, a nearby train station or airport will be a difficult task.
If you’re lucky, the town may have a daily bus that leaves once or twice a day to neighboring towns and a weekly bus to far off cities. Possibly, a train that only comes through the middle of town once a day in the wee hours of the morning. In any case, owning a car is a must if you plan on living in a rural area.
6. Limited Delivery Services
While it’s still likely that a large company like Amazon may still offer delivery services in your area, other services like food delivery services may not be available. Living in a rural area will make it difficult for smaller delivery services like Postmates or Grubhub to deliver to your area.
7. Limited Restaurants and Fast Food
If you’re dependant on eating at restaurants or fast food places, living in a rural area will be a big change when it comes to where you get your food. But hey, it will probably turn out to be more healthy. When living out in the sticks you need to be more mindful of shopping at grocery stores and stocking up on food to bring back home. It’s likely that food will be miles away and having to drive that far every time you’re craving something or missing an item will be something you’ll have to get used to or plan for.
8. Everyone Knows Each Other
If you have been living in a city or urban area your whole life, then you’re probably used to going out and not running into anyone you know. That situation and lifestyle is very uncommon in a rural area. Even if you live miles away from your nearest neighbor, you’re likely to meet them eventually at the supermarket or local hardware store. Meeting your neighbors and people in your area is a must.
If you’re from a place where strangers ignore each other every day, being approached by people you don’t know will seem odd at first. You’re bound to run into people from all around the general area over and over, and people will want to socialize. Don’t forget that most people living in the country are welcoming and just want to get to know you.
9. Helpful Neighbors
Living far from a major town or city, it may be more difficult to get a plumber or electrician to come out to your place. If they have the option to take jobs closer to where they live, they probably will. You may find locals who know how to do those jobs and will be willing help around your house.
It’s important to get to know your neighbors and ask them about local resources. Often, rural areas have a local resident handyman, mechanic, animal vet and so on that aren’t necessarily listed in the phonebook or online.
Living in a rural area can be the wonderful life you have always dreamed of, but it will take some getting used to. The true delight of quiet open space and tremendous benefit of moving somewhere with fewer people, a slower pace, and less pollution can do wonders for your soul. Once you’ve adjusted, it’s not difficult to live a beautiful, happy life in a rural area.