My whole world changed when we moved to the country. While I never considered myself to have a "city girl mentality", I did grow up in a city. Not a huge metropolitan city, but a city nonetheless. So as excited as I was to move out to the middle of nowhere, I experienced a touch of culture shock the first year.
Some of these aspects of country living I knew going in, but I didn't fully grasp until I experienced them firsthand. So if you are thinking about moving to the countryside any time soon, here are some differences you can count on.
Say goodbye to your GPS. If you move to an area among the gravel roads and corn fields, your GPS is not going to have a clue where to send you. Part of this might be due to the fact that the street names are really only there for looks. No one in the area knows the name of the streets. They all use landmarks.
In the first few weeks in our new home, I worked hard to memorize all the roads and signs in our area so I could find my way. But then I asked my father-in-law for directions one day and got a list of landmarks to follow.
"Go down this gravel road for a ways until you cross the train tracks and see a blue silo on your left. Then you'll wanna take a right at the corn field and drive until you get to Farmer Jim's hog barns..."
I got so incredibly lost. Do you know how many hog barns there are where I live? And I had no idea who the hog guy was. But my father-in-law wasn't the only one to give directions like this. Every one I've met out here uses the same exact method.
But hey, I've started learning the ropes and can now give directions to out-of-towners like an old farmer pro, too!
Travel is more treacherous in the winter.
Driving in winter weather conditions isn't fun anywhere. In the country, it's a whole new world. Well, at least it was for me. The wind blows harder in wide open spaces which means more blowing snow, more snow drifts, and less visibility. Not to mention, back country roads don't have street lights, so it's pitch dark at night during a storm.
I learned the hard way to not take risks to get somewhere. If the weather's bad and you're living in the middle of nowhere, the best plan is to hunker down and wait it out. It is not fun to end up in a snow filled ditch and have to call for help. Plus, by calling for help, you're making someone else risk the same scenario.
Winter storms in the country are the perfect excuse for getting cozy on the couch and drinking hot cocoa while watching your favorite show.
Groceries are more expensive and farther away.
Small town grocery stores charge more for their groceries than the big chain suppliers. It costs more to ship the groceries to their town and the customers are fewer. It's inevitable, but not the best of situations. And, running to the grocery store because you forgot something on your list isn't always an option. Depending on where you live, the grocery store could be up to half an hour away.
I had to learn to be more efficient at the grocery store and to divide my groceries between different ones. I'm all about supporting small business, and I go to the small town stores for small grocery trips. But I also have a budget. So I got myself a Sam's Club membership and make big grocery trips every now and then when I'm in a bigger city and stock up on the pantry staples in bulk. Between stocking in bulk and growing and preserving my own food like I talked about in my post The Benefits of Country Living, I've actually been able to reduce the amount we spent on groceries in the city. It takes a little more effort but is totally worth it in the long run.
Sometimes the fresh air isn't so fresh.
Most people love to have getaways in the country to escape the city smog and breathe in some fresh, clean air. Well, going to a vacation cabin is going to give you exactly what you want. Actually moving to the wide open spaces, maybe not so much.
We moved to farm country and in such territory there's inevitably livestock. And once you put some cattle in a pen, hogs in a barn, and some horses or sheep out in the pasture, there is going to be some stench in the "fresh" air. But as with anything, your nose gets accustomed to the smells and pretty soon you don't even notice it, until an out-of-town family member visits and makes a comment about the hog smell coming from the neighbor's place down the road.
There are no secrets.
In the rural community there are no secrets. Eventually, everybody and their mother finds out about you and what happened last weekend. Trust me. Did you know that the local newspapers list out the names of all the people who got a ticket or violation during the week and what the specific violation was? Yep. It's right next to the obituaries. I will never live down the fender bender I got in with my truck last winter. I told you I learned the hard way to stay home in bad weather. Not only did I have to pay a fine, I also had to deal with people talking about my incident for months after the fact.
People are much more friendly and social.
Even though people talk and gossip out here in the rural world, they don't intend any harm. I love the social aspect and the community. Although it did take some getting used to.
When we became the new kids on the block, so to speak, everyone wanted to meet us and know all about our lives. Well, mostly mine since Brighton grew up in the area. I was not ready for this. I wasn't ready for random check ins from my neighbors or questions at the grocery store from some lady I had never met before about how my in laws were doing. It was a bit overwhelming.
Now it's great. I love seeing familiar faces wherever I go and having neighbors who truly care about my family's well being. I feel safe and secure with them.
There are pros and cons to both city life and country life. But either way, we can adapt to any of it. Adapting to country living was easy for me because it was a dream come true. But would it be easy for you? Comment below about some aspects of country living that might be difficult or strange for you.
Busy days and hectic schedules can be hard to keep up with. Here are some tips and lessons I've picked up along the way to make life a little more fun in the midst of crazy.