Last updated on July 27th, 2023 at 04:24 pm
It’s been a big dream of mine to live in the countryside without neighbors nearby. Be careful what you wish for …
Suddenly, I find myself surrounded by all kinds of country–complete with chickens, roosters, and farm dogs. Every morning I awaken to the sounds of chickens. Nature surrounds me. It is grounding and calming.
Many birds call this place home, too, including hummingbirds. We see deer nearly every morning—squirrels, lizards, hawks, sheep, frogs, and more. I feel like some Disney princess talking to all of the animals that seem to enjoy living here too.
The big move seems to be working. My parents are less than two hours away. Several friends from high school in Germany live here, and catching up is great fun. We have kids now. And many a joke has been made about being old. I’m the youngest by 2-4 years, so to be honest, the terrible jokes are all mine. These friends have swooped in and helped me unpack. Now, that’s what I call friendship.
Prior to moving to this place in the country, I had no idea how much work went into growing and harvesting food. It is not just the back-breaking labor; the best farmers do intense planning to support their surrounding ecosystem. They recycle. They care about the environment.
I’m starting to see the point of spiders. I’m actually letting them live. Unless they walk across my face at night, those ballsy spiders are asking to be murdered.
The biggest blessing of this change is knowing in my bones that we are right where we’re supposed to be.
Through the hectic last few weeks, I’ve questioned whether I was making the biggest mistake of my life. Being surrounded by loved ones in this house in the countryside, I am overwhelmed with a feeling of fate. This is where I am supposed to be. Besides, all these new wild animals are looking for me to sing…
Let me tell you, though, moving from the city to the country can be a significant adjustment, especially if you are used to the hustle and bustle of urban life.
Here are 12 of my tips that have helped me adapt to my new country lifestyle as a former city girl:
1. Embrace the slower pace: Life in the country tends to move more leisurely than in the city. I am learning to embrace the opportunity to slow down, relax, and enjoy the tranquility of nature.
2. Get to know your neighbors: Community bonds are often strong in rural areas. I’ve taken the initiative to introduce myself to neighbors and get involved in local activities. Building connections with my new community makes transitioning from our old life smoother for me and my son.
3. Learn about local customs and traditions: Each state and region has unique customs and traditions, especially in the U.S. Take the time to learn about the local culture and history, as it will help you better understand and appreciate your new surroundings.
4. Prepare for limited amenities: The countryside may not offer the same range of amenities and services as a city. Plan ahead for grocery shopping, medical facilities, and other essentials that might be farther away. Taking kids back and forth to school and play dates can put some miles on your vehicles.
5. Develop outdoor hobbies: Take advantage of the natural surroundings by developing outdoor hobbies like hiking, gardening, or stargazing. Country living offers ample opportunities for exploring nature. You can even find a new appreciation for bugs, like spiders, and their important contributions to the ecosystem.
6. Embrace self-sufficiency: Country living often requires more self-sufficiency. There’s a lot more cooking from scratch, which is good for my son and for my autoimmune disease. It’s fulfilling to stretch out the grocery bill and prepare meals with fresh ingredients.
7. Adapt to wildlife: Depending on where you move, you may encounter more wildlife than you’re used to in the city. Learn about local wildlife, their behaviors, and how to coexist peacefully because I have no plans to encounter skunks. Please. God. No.
8. Prepare for weather changes: Country weather differs from city weather. Be prepared for temperature fluctuations, seasonal changes, and potential weather-related challenges. Also, it’s important to have an electricity backup plan in case the power goes out. Depending on where you are in the country determines how quickly utility crews can get to you to fix a problem.
9. Stock up on essentials: Living further away from a large grocery store means stocking up on essentials in advance. Keep a supply of non-perishable items, especially during harsh weather conditions. Rice and beans are great staples.
10. Be patient with yourself: Adjusting to a new lifestyle takes time. There will be moments of frustration and homesickness, but remember to be patient with yourself and give yourself the space to adapt. I uprooted my life and changed everything to relocate here in the country. Some days it’s the best experience ever, and then there are days I do miss my old home. It also gets to me if our son feels homesick. We share our feelings and discuss ways to help. Maybe we can call someone we miss or watch a favorite movie—homemade cookies help.
11. Maintain connections with city friends and family: Moving to the country doesn’t mean completely cutting ties with city life. Stay in touch with friends and family, and consider inviting them over for visits to share your new experiences. A garden tea party complete with hats would be fun. A girl’s pj and movie night too.
12. Enjoy the night skies: One of the perks of living in the country is the absence of city lights, which allows for stunning night sky views. Take time to appreciate the stars and celestial beauty. The night sky here makes me feel like anything is possible. It’s so vast and magical. I am in awe every time I look up.
My new country life has its own rewards with its natural beauty, bustling ecosystem, and sense of peace it provides. It’s helping me to embrace this big change and the next chapter in our lives as we learn to make the most of our new environment. I can’t wait to see what our life will look like in a year.
As actress Josie Bissett says, “Dreams come in a size too big so that we may grow into them.”
We’re most definitely growing.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, ImanWoods[dot]com.
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