My family and I live in a rural community, a twenty-five minute drive from the closest major city. There are dense forests, steep mountains, dirt roads, and farm fields. There are no stop lights, spotty cell phone service and one general store that closes at 7:00 every night. Most of our friends and family who don’t reside in our town compare it Siberia. As much as I would love to be able to drive down the road and buy a fancy coffee and bagel or run out for a quick errand and go to a 6:30 yoga class, it would require a ridiculous amount of time and driving. However, I have learned to go without my fancy coffee and bagel because I love where we live and how removed and sheltered our location makes me feel.
There are five major reasons why I love living and raising my family in a rural community.
- I have become a master planner and saver. Living at least 25 minutes away from major stores and businesses means that on average, it is an hour round trip by car to complete almost any activity or errand. Because I live as well as work in my community, it is often a pilgrimage just to go to the nearest grocery store. Therefore, I have been forced to become a meal planner. There is no swinging by the store midweek because we are out of spaghetti sauce, bread, milk, and coffee. I go to the store once a week with a drawn up list of every ingredient, snack, and household product we will need for the next week. Meal planning was not always something I was an expert at, but the requirement has saved my family both time and money.
- With the exception of an occasional tractor or elderly driver, there is rarely any traffic. Due to the lack of any stop lights and a small population, I have never found myself stuck in gridlock.
- As much as I love going to a pilates or spin class, living off a dirt road in the middle of the woods provides my family and me endless ways to exercise and recreate. During the summer, we swim in the river, bike, and go hiking right out our back door. In the winter, we snowshoe, go sledding and snowboarding on the hill outside our house.
- Living in the middle of the woods allows my child the opportunity to develop a deep connection with the natural world. He is able to walk out into the woods and explore, pick up birch bark, identify deer poop, find mushrooms, and collect rocks, and pine cones. He has plenty of space to builds forts, run, jump, and make noise. He knows which trees the birds like to build their nests in, and where the rabbits like to hide. This connection is by far my favorite reason to live rurally.
- Lastly, our town is small and many of its residents have lived here for generations. If you don’t know someone personally, you have seen them at the general store, town meeting, a community potluck or out walking their dog. Because of this, there is a profound sense of community in my rural hometown.
I feel lucky to live in a rural community where people take care of each other, lend a helping hand, or go out of their way to make sure that you and your family are doing alright.
Do you live in a rural or urban area? What are some benefits to your community?