How I can find out if small town or rural living is for me? (grain, lake)
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Any size citys have thier plus and minuses. I currently live in a small town, prior lived on island(may be worse than all) and grew up in large city, Los Angeles. I have complaints of all. The best thing in my opinion of living in small town is the traffic. Even though we have a fairly busy highway with trucker here, it is still relaxing to not be shuttling back and forth like I always did in CA. Hardly any lights too. It takes a sort of stress out of your life. Boring? Yes. Feel like missing something? Yes. I lived on island and even though I worked all the time it is so much worse than living in small town, where most small towns are ususally a drive to somewhere decent. That drawback is expense though. For me to get out for a day to a larger area, it costs gas and buying what we don't have.
Another minus for me is privacy. Here I cannot blend in I see the same people all day, the same "hi's" and waves(I hate waving in my car). To many this is a plus though.
Background / ethnicity? (feel free to remain anonymous if you are willing to be stuck in a hostile environment). White European
Budget !!!! rent of buy, ? Must be rent as don't want to take the gamble if not suitable. Less than $750/month (as low as I can get really).
willing to work for lodging? Yes
Do you need a job?, if so what career field? Maybe - depends on finances. Non-technical computer-based work. But I am willing to do/try all sorts of work to have the life I want.
How close to a city (airport, college, medical) do you want? (20 minutes or 6 hrs?) What qualifies as a city? Here it seems almost any size collection of homes and shopping is called a city.
But really, I don't need anything large or fancy (less than 50,000 pop is fine). I suppose I would like to be within 2-3 hours drive from one, so I could go once a month or so for stocking up on stuff I couldn't get locally.
I do lots of online shopping. I don't have a need to fly anywhere, at least not more than once in 2-3 years or so.
Interests / hobbies: (Gardening or playing music (which Genre) Am quite a homeboy so nothing to speak of. Might develop some new interests once I am there though?
How close to shopping / local town? 5 minutes (biking) or 1 hr driving) For essentials (what this is could change once I was there), I wouldn't like to be more than 10 mins or so driving or cycling.
I know I don't want: very hot, How hot is too hot? is dry heat OK (SW USA?) I don't want more than around 75 all the time. I can take a few very hot days here and there, but not regularly and not every year I don't want my life governed by A/C or the weather.
very cold How cold is too cold? little snow ok? or NONE?, or 4 months worth? No heavy snowy winters all the time. Little/1 ft or so is fine from time to time. Not less than about 20 degrees regularly, although I can handle cold weather better than I can handle heat.
or gloomy/overcast weather, What environment is your preference (ez growing of green stuff, or constant irrigating. I would prefer not to have a lot of trouble growing food around my lot, or using lots of water.
nor do I want featureless landscapes.
[quote=StealthRabbit;22257184]off the top of my head...
If you can deal with summer humidity... Mtn of WV, TN (NE), W NC, North GA, (a bit racial biased, but generally cheaper than the following) or... Have already ruled out those states although there maybe some suitable areas in WV & KY.
Northern / W Central Idaho, eastern OREGON, WASHINGTON, NW CA.(these three are VERY accepting of other cultures / independents.. NORTHERN ID can be rough on some (weather and survivalists). From maps. these areas seem to attract me the most. And also ME.
A few parts of UT, CO, NM, AZ. NV (nice areas / people, BUT long term water issues) I think these areas are too hot, flat or dry for me and as you said, have water issues which look like they will get worse before getting better. UT seem unfriendly/disinterested to those not in the LDS religion.
Last edited by ISTJ Vortex; 01-16-2012 at 10:40 PM..
Small town life or rural life can be great if you are realistic about your needs and your budget. The first thing you need to do is to decide what type of property is going to make you happy. Doing so will save a lot of time and potential heart aches in the future.
Since you have spent the majority of your life in cities, you might want to consider any number of places that exist where you can live out in the country and still be within mintutes from a town and within an hour of a major city.
Here is a check list that I recently prepared. If you are unsure how to answer some of these questions, consider staying a few nights on a dude ranch or at a country bed and breakfast in an area where you are interested in living.
1. Will this property be your primary home?
2. If so, what is the furthest you are willing to commute or are you retired?
3. How important is high speed internet to you?
4. Why do you want a place in the country or mountains?
a. To live in a more natural setting where you are not staring at your neighbor’s house?
b. To avoid home owners association rules?
c. More space for flower beds or gardens? What types?
d. Room for children and/or dog(s) to run and play? (May want to avoid busy highways.)
e. Do you want chickens, horses, cattle or other livestock?
i. If so, how many?
ii. What type?
iii. What do you plan to do with them?
f. Are you wanting to hunt or fish?
g. Wanting to live off the grid?
h. Ready for a legacy property?
i. Are you wanting to farm or ranch?
j. Do you envision some sort of business, i.e., a shop, a riding stable, bed and breakfast, bait and tackle shop, dude ranch?
k. Is this going to be an investment?
5. Are you wanting: water frontage, mountain views, or flat land?
6. Trees or open?
7. What are your feelings about dirt roads?
8. What are you feelings about manufactured homes/mobile homes?
9. How close do you need to be to shopping and medical facilities?
10. Do you want to have some neighbors around or do you want to be in a remote area?
11. Do you have a 4 wheel drive vehicle? Would you get one if necessary?
12. Lastly, very similar as to in town:
What size of house do you need? How many bedrooms; bathrooms, features, age and condition of home do you prefer?
The answers to these questions will help you determine what location, type of road frontage, soil types, water rights, terrain, fencing and other amenities will be most suitable for your needs.
Best wishes in finding what you are seeking.
Last edited by greenfarmgirl; 06-12-2012 at 05:35 PM..
Reason: correct misspelled word.
I've got to experience both. I grew up in suburban Detroit and I've lived in Sacramento, Phoenix, Richmond, and Washington DC. I also lived in Bell, FL (pop. ~200). There are definite pros and cons to living in a rural area:
It's quiet, you can see the stars, you can pee wherever you want, and people in the town are usually friendly. We raised chickens and goats on our property, and I had a lot of fun with it.
Everyone knows your business (I taught at Bell HS, and I was always running into students and parents, so I really had to mind my P's and Q's in town), the store in town usually has higher prices (we had two stores - Scaff's and Dollar General. The closest Wal-mart, McDonald's, etc. was in Chiefland, 30 minutes away), and you have to drive great distances to get to the closest major city (it took us 45 minutes to get to Gainesville, and that's small by my standards).
As for me I'm a big city kind of guy, but that's not to say you won't enjoy it. My family enjoys it, but they're also reclusive people, whereas I am a social butterfly. Best of luck to you.
I was born in a major city and my best living has been 65 miles from a town of any size. In my family and travels, many people claim to envy me. I have found through their experiences, it may be best to get a job and rent a house or little hobby farm (a few acres) for a year.
If you own a house, don't sell yet. If you have a lease and good rentals are hard to find, try to sublet.
If you love it where you try - great. If you don't - you haven't cut all ties to an area where you can survive.
I have lived all my life in a rural area except for a brief time I lived in a city about 100,000. We are out in the sticks, which we call the boondocks.
It's fine if you can get used to the night sounds of wild animals and the lack of automobile traffic noise. The call of the fox is probably the worst to get used to....listen to the following for the fox when he is making his territory.
Then at another time a bobcat might be wandering around in your yard. The screaming they sometimes do is pretty frightening, let alone walking up on one .....or maybe a flock of wild turkey's might be pecking around for food while wandering around your yard and the whole flock gets up and flies your way.
We do have a big property so we can have lots of gardens. There are also lots of trees but it does mean picking up tons of limbs after a storm. But when you can go out and cut a bouquet of flowers that needs 5 vases, it's worth it.
You have to get used to going to the store and making a list....out in the sticks, you can't just run to the market to buy food for every meal. I go once or twice a month and stock up. There are always neighbors down the road a piece who probably have what you need if you are out of the item. And these same neighbors will drive by your house when you are gone on a vacation to assure everything is ok.
We have to depend on the local sheriff and his posse to control the crime. Not much crime goes on in the rural sticks but if there is an open field with an anhydrous ammonia tank sitting in the open, the drug peeps will tap into that everytime to be able to make meth. So the sheriff and his posse at times are busy....but nothing like city crime.
The mail is delivered to your rural mailbox and you personally know your mailman and his family. He also will watch your house while you are gone on vacation.
Living in a rural area.....you either love it a lot or hate it big time. There are pros and cons to anywhere you live. Hope you find somewhere that will suit your personality and lifestyle. Some people will never adjust while others fit in from the first day.
This thread is a bit confusing because it seems like people are talking about a broad range of types of living, ranging from all out hermit to moving out on a farm to simply moving to a "smaller town". Based on the original post it seems like you are just considering, as you said, a "small town/semi-rural" - that sounds about like where I grew up, in a town with a population of about 8,000 or so.
For your question on services and whatnot, it literally is no different than any big city. There's police and fire departments, a hospital, schools, garbage pickup, etc. These small towns will obviously have all of the "services" that a big town has, the main difference is things to do.
Once I graduated high school I moved to a much larger city for college (and have stayed here post college). The new city has over 100,000 people. I enjoy it much more here because there is a lot more to do. There are more stores, there are more entertainment options, there are more bars, there are more sporting events to go to, there is more everything. Back in my hometown, there is literally ONE bar, there is a small movie theater with just 6 screens (compared to SIX whole movie theaters up in my current city), there aren't many shops, etc. So I guess if you aren't too concerned with entertainment and/or a lot of options, then a small town will be just as adequate as a big city is for you.
If you are talking about extreme rural living, like going off and living way out in the country where you have no neighbors or something, then I think you should specify that. Otherwise, there is hardly any difference between big and small towns, other than the number of things to do in them.
Also for your weather/climate question - you should look into southern Michigan (my region), Indiana, or Ohio. Yes there is snow in the winter and some heat in the summer, but the extremes are not nearly as bad as anywhere else in the country. There will never be as much snow as you would get somewhere like Maine or Minnesota, and it will also never be as hot as it gets in the southern part of the country during the summer. Plus, unlike the central part of the country (Nebraska, Kansas, Wyoming, etc.) there are actually some good sized cities that aren't too far away if you ever do need to get to them (Detroit, Grand Rapids, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Chicago, etc.).
Have lived in a major metro area three times in my life. Now rural, small town-ish, it's an island so you don't get on a flight not expecting to be seated next to someone you don't know.
The biggest issue for us is not having the healthcare facilities that we've had before. Also, maintaining cisterns, septic and other daily maintenance issues takes up a lot more time than what we thought.
I like the post(s) about renting first. But I will say, even if we'd rented, we would have bought here anyway. It's been a great adventure; although we did keep our home in the contiguous states. We're still not sure why.
I feel that I would like living in a small town or semi-rural place but have no idea if I could be happy in such a place or how I would experience such a life.
I also feel that I would like living remotely / self-sufficiency, but I haven't done this before and I haven't a clue about the realities of this kind of living, as it is today.
I grew up in one of the largest cities in the world until a few years ago. I am currently living in a moderate-sized city.
There must be tons of things to take into account before making such a move and the things that I take for granted and which I probably don't think about much (because of my background) are the ones that I worry about the most and that they will surface only after the move has happened.
I know that I would worry about law and order and about people having their own ideas of what law is. Also, that because somehow I don't do what everyone else does, this might make me less welcome.
I also think about practical things and having access to all the usual services that everyone needs and which are likely be less available, possibly to a lower standard or be harder to reach in smaller/ more remote places.
Is there a book, checklist or good website where I can find out what small town /rural or remote living is like?
I would be living alone if I made such a move but I would probably get a dog or 2.
There is no way to know this without trying it. Research is the best way and what you are doing on the net will give you a great cross opinion
The biggest downturn to rural living is jobs if you need to work. The other adjustment many feel is lack of things to do, but I am a firm believer you can always find something interesting, whether it is working for a volunteer group, church, joining an art class, growing a garden, whatever. I have lived in huge cities and small towns, I have always stayed busy. Social life though can suffer, especially if you are very young and like to do the nightlife thing.
Places like here in NWA offer both a rural life but still access to services, shopping, medical facilities and decent dining for starters. There are many areas like this in the southern part of the mid west and throughout the south as well as in parts of OK, CO and a few other cities.
Impoverished or declining small towns are a different animal all together. Some counties have very little money for policing, hospitals, road improvements, schools, parks... you might find yourself in a place where you don't have the level of safety, support, and comfort you're used to. For me one of the worst things to deal with was the roads, narrow two lanes with large open ditches on each side. There was an older small hospital within a half-hour, but people there would rather drive themselves an hour to the bigger city hospital than go to the rural one.
I think you should also look for a place that matches your politics, especially if you speak your mind regularly. If you are liberal, there are some towns where you will be accepted and listened to. But at least here in the midwest, it seems like there are more towns that are highly conservative. There are Christian congregations that, as one example, still believe women are completely subservient to men. And of course there are Christian churches that are the most loving you will ever find. But check into that before you commit to a place. You don't want to end up in a place where people are hostile toward you. It can be very depressing.
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