As we battle traffic and supermarket queues, noisy neighbours and the high costs of inner city living, it’s reasonable to assume almost all of us have dreamt of moving to the country at some stage. It can be more idyllic in our minds than reality though, so before you dash off and buy yourself a more spacious country home, let’s consider if there are real benefits of living in the country.
1. Healthy Living
It’s true that it’s possible to keep fit and healthy in the city, with so many parks, gardens and beachfront walking and cycling trails, not to mention all the gyms, Pilates clinics and fitness centres. We also have our choice of food both at the supermarket and in restaurants, bars and cafes – we can dine in, takeaway or have whatever we want delivered right to our door from our phone. However, much of these conveniences exist because city life has different time constraints than country living. In the city you may spend the morning sitting in traffic, while in the country it could be spent tending to your pets (fresh eggs anyone?), walking kids to school or going for a run through the local national park – all before 9 am.
Our eating routines change too, depending on our location. Not only do we not have as much time (or space) to grow our own food in the city, we also have less connection to seasonal harvests and, in many cases, less time to prepare food and cook it for every meal. Country living means you may have less variety of food choices, but you have a much better selection of in-season foods, as well as plenty of time to care for and grow your own foods if you choose. Not to mention waking up each day to the sounds of nature, fresh air, big open skies and trees – a daily immersion that feeds our souls in ways we cannot underestimate.
2. An Idyllic Childhood
Although inner city kids will generally want for nothing with regard to opportunity and grow up to be independent, savvy and street smart, there is an element of their childhood that must be sacrificed for this. Children learn essential life lessons and develop strong community values by running around in wide open spaces barefoot, learning how to take care of a house and land and understanding the cycles of life that are dependent on humans co-existence with the land, rather than technology and devices.
Country living manages to deliver freedom and security to children all at once, by giving them a safe and familiar environment to explore their full potential in, without the overwhelming influences of city culture. It also offers the most valuable asset any family could wish for – time. With so much more time at your disposal, life can take on a different meaning. So much more can be done with 1 hour when the buzz of city demands is absent and your children get to live with the kind of parent you are, rather than glimpses of the one you want to be.
3. Financial Security
In almost every example, rural and regional real estate is much more affordable than inner city property. A sprawling family home can cost you the same as a one bedroom apartment and you live with much less emotional stress, knowing that you have a manageable mortgage to take care of and more than enough money to pay for your lifestyle. The general cost of living such as groceries, fuel, eating out and goods and services is cheaper too ,so you can find extra money in your budget that’s no longer being swallowed up by driving all over the city for example.
It’s true that employment options may be more limited in the country but there are solutions such as working from home for part or all of the week, or enjoying down time commuting on the train to the city – the best of both worlds. If you can sustain your old city income and apply it to your country budget, you may finally be able to start putting money towards all those plans that have seemed out of reach for so long.
Think before you leap to the country