If you are a Big City person, you may find it hard to believe that anyone would ever want to give up on the vibrant, exciting and dynamic city life and move to a sleepy small town somewhere in the countryside. Yet, more and more people, tired of the hectic lifestyle in the metropolises or disappointed with their unfulfilling reality, decide to do exactly so. Most of them claim it to be the best decision they’ve ever made. Others regret it every single day.
Moving from a big city to a small town may, indeed, result in a culture shock at first (there is just one pub in town?!?), but it usually lasts only until the newcomer becomes a part of the community – and this process takes no longer than a couple of months in the smaller cities. At this point people realize just how much safer, happier, steadier and more enjoyable their lives have become after the relocation or, from a different point of view, how incredibly boring and lacking in opportunities their new world has proved to be.
So, what are the pros and cons of moving to a small town? And why would you (not) want to move there?
What are the benefits of moving to a small town?
Your reasons to move to a small town may vary from financial struggles (big city life is not easily affordable) to psychological factors (longing for peace and serenity), but the final result of your relocation is likely to be one and the same – increased quality of life, higher disposable income, and greater peace of mind. Why is that, you may ask? It’s a direct result of the numerous advantages of moving to a small town:
1) Higher quality of life:
- Higher safety – Crime in most small towns is about 50% to 80% less than in big cities. This means that you won’t need to worry about the safety of your property and the well-being of your loved ones. Your kids will grow up happier and more positive in their outlook in such a safe and friendly environment;
- Better health – Pollution has been rapidly deteriorating human health over the last century. With the exception of some heavily industrialized country areas, though, it is mainly a big city problem. Air quality in the countryside is several times better and tap water is much purer and healthier than in the large urban areas. Besides, living in the countryside provides various opportunities for exciting outdoor activities and going back to the nature. Therefore, moving to a small town will have a very positive impact on your and your family’s health – respiratory diseases, allergies, and many other chronic health conditions will be alleviated or even cured in the clean environment;
- Less stress – Another factor that greatly contributes to the large variety of physical and psychological problems in our modern society – stress – is also much more limited in the countryside. No hectic schedules, no big expectations, no constant pressure, no over obsession with material possessions – when living in a small town, you can slow down, take life easy and focus on the things that really matter to you;
- More time – Time is the one thing you never have enough of when living in a big city – your days are usually booked, morning till night, several weeks ahead and you don’t have a minute left to spare. When you move to a small town, you will suddenly have extra time on your hands – there will be no social events to attend, no urgent meetings, no overtime work, nothing to keep you from your family and your passion projects. You will be able to spend much more time with your kids, to practice your hobbies, to rest and step back and reflect on your life;
- More space – Housing options in the countryside are much more abundant and way more affordable than in the big cities, so you will probably be able to buy/rent a spacious new home with a vast outdoor area when moving to a small town. You will no longer suffer from lack of space and will be able to realize all your dream projects – a lush garden, a personal workshop, an artistic retreat, a summer kitchen, etc. – anything you’ve ever wanted.
2) Financial advantages:
- Affordable housing – Buying or renting a property in the countryside will cost you about half as much as it would cost you in a big city. Even utilities and property taxes are much more affordable in a small town, so you can easily get your dream home there;
- Lower cost of living – Commodities are cheaper in rural areas, it’s a certain fact. From groceries and household essentials to school tuitions and professional services, living expenses tend to be much lower in a small town. This means that the same income will give you a much greater purchasing power;
- Different employment perspectives – Career opportunities in the countryside may not be as diverse and lucrative as in the metropolises, but smaller cities offer more support channels and less competition, so you have every chance to get a good job in your field of expertise. In a small town, it is relatively easy to develop relationships with people in your line of work and the local industries tend to be welcoming and supportive because they’re usually small and extremely close-knit. Therefore, you may be able to easily get your own small business or career off to a flying start in a small city.
Last but not least, you’ll have fewer temptations (no fancy restaurants or high-class clubs to frequent, for example) and fewer things (no luxury boutiques or jewelry stores) to spend your hard-earned money on. Besides, many of the fun activities you may want to engage in will be free – town festivals and sports events, games and outdoor activities, etc. It’s only logical then that you’ll be able to save more and feel financially comfortable when living in a small town.
3) Friendlier community
People in small communities are kind and friendly to each other, always ready to lend a helping hand if necessary. Your neighbors will care about you and will be glad to assist you in any way they can. You will know almost everyone on a first name’s basis and you’ll make more friends within a couple of months in the small town than you’ve made all your life in the big city. You will be invited to every local event and your children will be included in every activity they want to participate in. You and your family will live in a peaceful, safe and friendly environment, and will be able to appreciate the small joys of life without any stress or fears.
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Why not move to a small town?
Now that you’re familiar with the greatest benefits of moving to a small town, you may want to have a look at the disadvantages as well:
- The infrastructure will be very different to what you’re used to. Public transit may be very limited or may not exist at all, so you’ll have to drive a lot when living in the countryside. The roads may be much narrower and not so well maintained. You will certainly enjoy less traffic, but you may get stuck behind a large vehicle with no lane to pass it or you may find the gas station locked if you happen to run out of gas after midnight;
- There will be less job opportunities available for you (your main options will be in the sphere of agriculture and house maintenance), so you will have to research your employment perspectives well in advance and make sure that you’ll be able to earn a living in the countryside before making a final decision to move to a small town;
- Small town schools have better discipline and more personal approach towards the students than big city educational institutions, but the facilities (sports equipment, arts supplies, school libraries, etc.) may not be as good as the ones in the large cities;
- Services will be limited and less reliable. Your internet connection may not be stable or fast enough, there may not be mobile coverage in certain areas, and you can expect power outages from time to time. If you need a plumber or an electrician, you may have to wait for days because the few specialists in the area may be already booked or may be out of town, etc. Even access to specialized medical care may be very difficult;
- There won’t be as many conveniences as you’re used to. There may not be a mall or a large supermarket in the vicinity and you may have to drive to the nearest big city to get the brands you want or to go on a Christmas shopping spree. There may not be a club where you can practice your fancy hobby (yoga, for example) or a sports center where you can enjoy your not-so-common favorite activities (such as ice skating or curling) on a regular basis. You may not be able to get a doughnut at 4 am or order pizza to your door. Deliveries may cost you more when you are away from the convenient big cities. And so on, and so on;
- You may find life boring without the constant buzz and colorful dynamics of the big cities – you may miss the exciting nightlife and the spectacular cultural events that take place every second night in the large urban areas, the multicultural environment and diversity of the metropolises. The peaceful life in the countryside may be just way too quiet for you;
- You may suffer from lack of privacy in such a close-knit rural community. If you are a shy person who prefers to keep to yourself, you may find your overfamiliar neighbors too noisy and too indiscreet.
SEE ALSO: What should I know before I move to the countryside
So, what do you say? Are you eager to pack up and leave the big city, or do you scoff at the very idea of moving to a small town?