Before the move
Moving is a big step, whether if it’s to another apartment, house, or to the country. Like any move, you need to consider the ramifications as much as possible before you re-locate. Why do you want to move to the country? Do you want to farm and if so, as a hobby or as a fulltime job? Do you just want to have “five acres and a horse,” like so many people do? Do you plan on just living in the country or on becoming part of the community? One of your first lessons is wave when you meet a vehicle on a rural road. Chances are the driver is a neighbor. Ignoring this simple ritual is not acceptable and it labels you as a person who is not friendly or even weird.
If you do not live alone, have you asked your family how they would feel about becoming rural residents? Would they mind the isolation? Can you make a living? Will you and/or your spouse have to work off the place? Are there good schools close by? Are your children young or teenagers?
First you need to answer these questions and determine if the move will unite the family or if it will be an uphill battle. The lifestyle changes may be more simple but not necessarily easier. You will learn how to do things you never imagined you would do, if for no other reason than you have never had the opportunity to do them. Can you and your family rise to the challenges?
For example, there is a vast difference in occasionally riding a friend’s horse and having full responsibility for one. There are feed bills, veterinary bills, equipment needs, perhaps riding lessons or the expense of a horse trainer. Money is the answer to these considerations. But time cannot be bought. The stalls have to be mucked out and the horse fed and ridden. These might sound like relaxing, interesting activities; you just need to realize the horse represents everyday chores — not just weekend or when you feel like it.
Consider a teenager or even a younger child who is below the age of employment and perhaps has no interest in sports or other activities. The chores they have may in town consist of taking out the trash once or twice per week, making a bed, and emptying the dishwasher. What does such a teenager do with the balance of his or her free time? A move to the country might awaken an interest in some aspect of nature, such as gardening, domesticated or feral animals, rock collecting, fishing, or hunting. It is the opportunities that are available in the country which create outlets of interest and open doors to unlimited possibilities.
The benefits of country life may outweigh living in town — or they may not. Thinking through the opportunities and the difficulties will allow you a smoother transition if you do make the move.
Sanders is national award winning columnist and author. She can be contacted through peggysanders.com.
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