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Moving to the country
Moving to the country is something done by a number of urbanites who are seeking a quieter, less rushed and more fulfilling lifestyle than the one they're experiencing in the city or suburbs. There are numerous terms for this shift, including tree-change and sea-change, denoting swapping out buildings and concrete for trees and sea (or perhaps other water bodies if you're going inland).
Whatever the reason behind why people move, many people who make such a shift need to consider income, level of skills concerning whatever they're planning to do (be it farming, running a B&B or writing the next blockbuster) and whether they can handle a drop in the creature comforts offered by city life.
If you're wanting to move to the country
If you're contemplating making a move to the country and leaving behind your urban life, it's likely that you may be wondering about whether or not this is a good decision for the lifestyle you're seeking.
Here are some things to think about and ask yourself before making your decision:
- Are you planning on selling up or giving up your home in the city or can you afford to keep it? Sometimes hanging onto it can be an important lifeline back to your old life if things don't work out as you'd hoped in the country.
- How will you make a living? Are you moving to the country to do something you've already lined up or are you simply going there and hoping for the best? Perhaps pre-move is a good time to improve your skills and to learn about doing whatever it is you're planning to do, so that you're properly prepared before the shift. Do you even know what you're planning to do yet?
- Are you ready for a rapidly reduced pace of life? While this might seem wonderful while you're choking in the rat race, it can be a shock to suddenly have things move at snail's pace.
- Can you get internet access in an affordable and timely way? Is it good internet access? Does this even matter to you?
- What does your immediate family think? They need to be keen on the idea too. Think about the differences in schooling, work opportunities and friendship chances.
- Can you still get the things you value the most? Does it matter to you that you might not be able to source favorite foods, clothes and goods? Is it going to be a problem that you might not be able to stroll down to the corner for your Sunday morning café visit?
- Is power likely to be an issue? Are you moving somewhere that experiences load shedding or power outages? Is power connected? Is power reliable? Are you going off-grid in full knowledge of what this bodes for your daily needs?
- What is the post like? If you want to order in things you cannot get locally, you'll need reliable post at an affordable price.
When you decide to take the leap and you move from city to country, here are some things to think about on your arrival:
- Be friendly and get to know people. However, don't expect everyone to warm to you. Some people will likely be reserved at this new townie turning up without knowing why you've come. Others may just be too wrapped up in their own affairs and cliques to want to let you in. But persevere, over time you'll meet people who have big hearts and welcome your friendship.
- Ask the locals for advice. The best way to find what you want is to ask the people who know and have lived in the area for many years.
- Look for the places you need, from stores and fuel suppliers to cafés and community centres. Mapping these out early on will make settling in a lot more comfortable for you.
- Get to know the places your family needs to be attending, such as schools, medical facilities and workplaces. In the case of medical needs, the nearest hospital might be hundreds of kilometres away, so factor this in if anyone has medical issues in the family.
- Consider signing up for some community groups and community activities. You'll meet lots of people and be a part of the local social and fundraising activities.