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Old 02-29-2008, 09:34 PM
902 posts, read 3,304,184 times
Reputation: 602


Hi all –

I am having a strong desire to move to a rural area. For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted a one-lane highway surrounded by land and foliage, my residence perched on a large patch of dirt. Radical for someone who has spent [and is still spending] his whole life in Washington, DC suburbs.

Question is – how do I prepare for such change?

I’ve just begun my homework on living a simple life. However: I want the real deal. How do YOU live? What arrangements did you have to take/give up in order to adjust? What are the terms of owning a rural home as opposed as a townhouse in a large city bustling with suburbia? I’ve rented apartments, but have never directly owned a property, let alone a rural property!

Secondly; what type of property is best? I don’t plan to raise animals at all…OK, maybe some feral farm cats and dogs that gets dumped from neglected owners. I do plan to have a large vegetable garden and some fruit trees. I’m looking for something that is quite hard to access…

Lastly: WHERE? As I think more about it, I want to get away, far away from D.C. I also haven’t traveled around America too much – only the southern states below the Mason-Dixon line.

Thanks for the help!
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Old 02-29-2008, 10:27 PM
Location: Floribama
15,523 posts, read 32,275,036 times
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If you buy land that is wooded, keep it wooded. So many people buy rural forest land only to cut down the trees and plant a huge lawn. The problem with having a huge lawn is the amount of time you will spend mowing, and it can be many hours every week. It also helps to learn about plants and trees. You will need to be able to indentify invasive plants to keep them from taking over your land. If there is farmland nearby, be perpared to get stuck behind slow moving farm equipment on the road, and learn not to fuss about it. You will certainly need to accept your neighbors for who they are. Not everyone out in the country will keep their property as tidy as what you see in the suburbs and you will have to get used to that and not let it bother you. But, that's the best thing about the country to me, freedom to do as you wish.
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Old 03-01-2008, 12:41 AM
11,127 posts, read 12,811,698 times
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Well first of all, accept the fact that you just can't totally prepare for the experience. Expect things like culture shock, lack of convenience, silence and solitude, utility issues like power outages, stocking food, and neighbors who stop by that are both nosy and genuinely concerned for you.

You would be amazed at how many folks who come from a metro area to a very rural area struggle with the lack of "metro" things to do. Many people have a hard time with the thought of being isolated after having spent so much time in a city.

If you are moving to a rural to very rural area then getting a few acres of land shouldn't be a problem. Trees help with shade and are conducive to wildlife, cut down on wind and are nice to look at. You will want some clear land for things like a garden, a shed or outbuilding and maybe some room for family kids to play ball. Honestly, just find what suits your needs best and in time you can then alter the landscape to better fit your needs as you didn't plan for.

Biggest thing in moving from metro to rural or vice versa is simply time. It takes time to get used to such a dramatic change and I wouldn't invest too much in a large place or a place that would be difficult to sell if you find you don't like it.

For myself, moving from a large metro area back to my roots in the very rural of Appalachia has been the greatest experience of my life and I wouldn't trade it for all the tea in China.
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Old 03-01-2008, 01:21 AM
Location: The mountians of Northern California.
1,354 posts, read 5,808,015 times
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I think one of the biggest things to get used to is the convenience of city living. DO NOT complain to the other residents about the stores not being open on the weekend, or the pothole that takes months to get has been in the road for years. If you complain, they will not like you and the gossip will fly, lol. You make trade offs to live rural. It was very hard for us to adjust to not being able to just go to the market on a Sunday. But 10 years later there are a few stores open on Sunday now! Many store/office owners close for lunch and when they take vacations. Ordering goods on the internet has also helped a lot. So just used to that the fact that things won't be at your finger tips anymore.

I agree with TNHillTopper, stock up on goods and be ready for power outages. We have lost power for 2-3 days because of forest fires, big rig accidents taking out the back up generator 100 miles away, wind, etc. Being prepared is a must.

But once you accept a bit slower pace of life, it all falls into place. You have to find things to keep busy. Get a hobby that will take time. Join the local Rotary club or Elks lodge. You wil meet some great people and its a lot of fun to attend the local events. We have a lot of fun enjoying the outdoor recreation opportunities where we live now, so take advantage of what is around you.
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Old 03-01-2008, 05:31 AM
Location: Maine
6,072 posts, read 11,568,835 times
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Keep the idea that the "simple" life usually requires a lot more physical work since you'll be doing things for yourself rather than someone doing them for you. Be ready for some aches and pains. They go away and leave you feeling great.

Add something new, learn how to do it, then add something else. This will keep you from getting overwhelmed.

This one caught me by surprise and unprepared. If you have a well you'll lose your water when the power goes out. The well pump needs electricity.

Everything opens later and closes earlier here. The mom 'n pop store is open at 5 am but the stores in town don't open til 8 am. They close at 6 pm in winter, 7 pm in summer, an hour earlier on Sunday.
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:24 AM
15,450 posts, read 27,932,644 times
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Random thoughts.....Take out food, like one might be used to, is generally not a booming business. There is more of a make-do and reuse mentality than toss out and buy new. It's less about glitz and glamour and more about firefly shows and rocking chairs. The silence may be deafening until one gets used to it. To those that have been confined space wise it might take some getting used to all of the newfound space (indoors and out). To mentally prepare one must allow oneself to relax and let things happen rather than trying to create them or seek them out. Best of luck in your move and blessings to you.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:06 AM
Location: Cambridge, Nebraska
137 posts, read 557,700 times
Reputation: 192
Default The City Slickers

In my opinion, you are on the right track! My wife and I did it moving from Denver metro to southwestern Nebraska on a 5 acre windbreak surrounded by fields. My nearest neighbor is 3/4 mile away, and we feel like we found heaven here in the Cornhusker Nation.

I write a blog that is on the McCook Gazette newspaper's web site that you might find entertaining as well as providing someone else's experience of moving from the city to a rural country lifestyle. I'd recommend that you check the archives of the blog and start from the beginning as it covers some about our search and discovery of "the farm".

Last edited by Beretta; 03-01-2008 at 12:00 PM.. Reason: Sorry, cannot link to a blog.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:22 AM
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 24,047,474 times
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Although I experienced rural living for only a brief time before developers destroyed it, the biggest change is the lack of fussy neighbors. It was not uncommon for rural homes to have an abandoned car or two, grass that gets mowed by cattle, and dirt roads that you have to maintain. No garbage pickup, no street lights and no city water. You will marvel at the stars you will see in the sky, and big city sounds are replaced with those of bugs and animals. I want to get back to the country, and next time I am bringing my bowling lanes with me, I am sure that will take away any "boredom" that comes when I cannot go outside!
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:38 AM
48 posts, read 211,773 times
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Having moved in the opposite direction I can tell you what I have found different living in a large suburb as oppossed to a rural town.
People here honestly care about what kind of vehicle you drive, what neighborhood your home is in, how polished your appearence is, and what your house looks like (curb appeal). The don't in rural areas.
Be prepared to reuse instead of replace. Don't let your gas tank get low, you don't have a gas station open at midnight if you have an emergency and need to drive somewhere. Don't let your groceries get low in the winter, you never know when you will be cut off from the outside world.
This is important: Make sure you have a back-up heat source that doesn't not require electricty. Either one that can heat the whole house, or one that can heat a room that can be sealed up, usually by hanging some thick blankets over the doors to the rest of the house. Last ice storm in a rural area we lost power for ten days.
I have never lost power for more then a few hours in the suburbs. I've lived here for five years. At least once a year we would loose power for a whole day in the rural area.
A couple of times a year the town is going to STINK!! The farms outside of town will be spreading manure. No, they can't wait until a less windy time to spread it, sorry.
If your neighbor is in their 80s and you are a healthy person in the middle years, shovel their driveway. When we bought our house my husband shoveled the 80 year old neighbors driveway when we got our first snow fall. He came over the next day and asked what he owed him!! Where we grew up the neighbor kids shoveled the elderlys' driveways for free. It was an automatic thing, they didn't have to be asked, they just did it.
The first few times you walk in the local dinner, conversation will stop and everyone will turn to stare at you. We don't mean to be rude, we just don't know any better.And we are incredibley nosey. A year later, you will be one of the ones turning to stare at a newcomer and whispering speculations about them when they leave.
A great way to get know your neighbors is to volunteer at the local fire department. Call and ask what is required for someone to volunteer.
For us, and my family when they visit, there is absolutely NOTHING to do in the suburbs. We can't figure out why people say there is nothing to do in the country. I think I have started to figure it out, people in our current area like to do inside stuff you have to pay for. Plays, musuems, and other stuff. If you go to a truly rural area the only plays you are going to be able to see are at the local school (central school, in one building). Oh yeah, thats another difference. Here they have a lot of elementary schools and middle schools and high schools for one town. Where I came from they were all central schools, K-12 in one small building with one principal and superintendat.
The only sporting events you are going to see on a regular basis are high school sports, and college if you have a local college in the area. No professional sports or performances.
Here if someone was prowling around stealing our Christmas decorations we would call the cops. In a small town you will go outside and march them home to their parents, where they will be in a world of trouble and doing your yardwork for the summer.
The biggest adjustment to living in a rural area is the lack of convience. No delivery, you have to drive half an hour to get your pizza. You can't drive to the store at 8pm when you realize you are out of pull-ups because the store is not open. Like a previous poster said, the stores really do close at 6pm in the winter.
In the winter, play cards with your neighbors. In the summer go fishing, hiking, swimming. Participate in the local community day. Join an adult athletic league, usually softball.
Oh yeah, when you are in a bar and one guy says to the other, lets take this outside, they are really going to calmly put down their drinks, excuse themselves from their group, and walk out of the bar to brawl. I just saw it happen two weeks ago. First time I'd ever seen it in person. It was like something out of a movie. At that point, evening is done, time to go home.
The person driving the 20 year old rust bucket in front of you could be a millionare. They really don't care about stuff. Except their classic cars, they love those. That car on blocks could be their baby that they are going to someday (yeah right, lol) restore to its original glory. Dad's has been waiting for 20 years, this year will be the year!
The first night there go outside and look up at the sky. You will see STARS!!! I miss the stars and the night sky. And the dark, it is so bright in the suburbs, even at midnight.
There is not a lot of privacy in a rural area. Instead of being just a number, you are a person. But EVERYBODY knows your business. Last time I was at my parents my mom and i went to the bar and karoked. By the time we finished our last cup of coffee the following morning we'd had five calls from different people who knew all about our night out, even though they hadn't been their.
Okay, I could go on forever. Let me know if you have any specific questions.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:43 AM
528 posts, read 2,255,616 times
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one thing to consider (especially as you get older) is how far you want to be from good medical care....you may have a long drive if you develop health issues, and even emergency services that you probably now take for granted (fire, ambulance) may not be immediately close by. (Don't forget access to vet care if you are considering adding animals to your rural lifestyle). Living out in the woods is great until you need help. If you end up in an area that is prone to snow or ice storms, you could be without power for days, so factor that in, too.
The good news is that there are still places in the country that are very rural but still within a 30+ minute drive to a city with all the conveniences you may want or need...you may want to focus on those types of areas.
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