Do you live in the city or suburbs and sometimes think about moving to the country? Perhaps you long to get away from the “rat race” or to live a more simple life. At least in the USA this is a very idealized concept. Often when people take vacation in scenic areas they think, “You know, I’d like to live here!”
Why do people “go rural?”
There are a number of reasons people think about this kind of move. As already mentioned, there is usually a tranquility to be found in rural places. Personally, I treasure the sound of the whippoorwill singing and the night sounds which waft through our bedroom window at night. Rural places usually have a slower pace of life which contributes to a more peaceful atmosphere.
Moving to the country can net a person more space to raise things as well as more privacy. In rural areas one can usually find much more economically priced property. One might purchase house with land, a stream, out buildings and a pond for under $100,000, the very same set up, located in a suburban environment would likely run in the millions of dollars.
There is generally much less regulation in rural areas and there are advantages and disadvantages to this. On the one hand, there is freedom. On the other hand, there must be tolerance. When one is free to do what they want, usually… so is their neighbor.
When we moved from New Jersey to Oklahoma I was concerned that I be able to bring our poultry with us. We were raising a very rare breed of chicken. Out East, in some places there are strict laws about poultry. In fact, at the time, there were places which didn’t allow individuals to have chickens within a mile of a commercial chicken farm. Well, there was a chicken operation right behind the place we wanted to purchase. I expressed my concern to the realtor who raised her eyebrow and exclaimed, “Sir, this is Oklahoma. What you raise on your own place is your business.”
“Sir, this is Oklahoma. What you raise on your own place is your business.”
We pretty well decided to buy our place, but when we got back to NJ, I looked up the owner of the chicken operation and asked him if he minded that I brought my chickens with me, if I bought “the Hannah place.” I can still remember his friendly tone, over the phone, as he exclaimed, “This is Oklahoma. What you raise on your own place is your business!” I was truly happy to hear this! Later, i was impressed with his tact. Just before cleaning out his chicken sheds, he offered to give me all the chicken manure I could want, for my garden. I accepted, and afterwards I hardly noticed the smell of his operation. I was simply thankful to have my own pile of free manure!
What to expect when moving to the country
Expect Less Money
First of all one will find that there are fewer jobs and lower pay. Most homesteaders also have to work an outside job. It probably won’t pay a lot, so determine to simplify and economize in order to get by. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great lifestyle, but for most, there will be a period of adjustment. Economizing necessarily necessitates less travel, less eating out, more do-it-yourself repairs and projects, and probably less expensive clothing. For some, it takes time to come to the point of contentment with the necessities of life (1 Timothy 1:8 “And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.”)
Expect to adjust culturally.
Moving to a new area with another way of life necessarily involves some culture shock. People will have some different values and definitely different ways of doing things. Norms concerning conversation, interpersonal interaction, generosity and punctuality will most likely be different from where you came from. Just a small example. Where I’m from, when going to see someone for a favor or to ask a question, people tend ask right up front. But where we presently live, that’s not how it’s done. Here, one asks how the other person and even their family is doing, visiting a bit before getting down to business. To skip this social nicety makes a bad impression. i believe this custom is meant to show that relationship is more important than “task.”
Tips for the new arrival in “the country”
- Go light on comparison. It’s just natural to compare everything with where you came from, but be discrete. It’s better to keep your thoughts to yourself. Newcomers can lose out on relationships and opportunities if they play the “comparison game.” When adjusting to a new culture one is often tempted to judge, when in fact, they may not even, first, understand. Just wait. Learn, and then, after some years you may actually be ready to compare. Remember “different” isn’t necessarily wrong.
- Be patient in relationships. In some small town cultures a person is still a newcomer for several years after arrival. That means, from the community’s perspective, they’re waiting to see if you work out before they really embrace you as part of the community. In some cultures any attempt to rush acceptance generates distrust.
- Be a learner. Most people really like it when someone respects them and what they do. Being a learner and expressing appreciation for skills shared will go a long way toward building good will.
- Seek ways to contribute to the community. I like to think of it as having something to offer that folk appreciate and then, sharing it freely, without asking anything in return. This can go a long way in building relationships.