This country is allegedly getting too crowded. I say well if that’s the case, why are rural properties so hard to sell? I know of several in my village that have been for sale for a long time. Why don’t people want to live here?
So, I thought I’d take a break from automotive rants to tell you why you might want to consider living a long way from busy cities.
Firstly, a few downsides. Work is probably the main consideration here. It isn’t easy, though I know people in cities who struggle to find work too. The chances of finding a job here that you really love doing are fairly slim. There are two options. Either find a job you can do working from home (yes, the countryside does have actual internet – 2.5mbps in our house) or accept that you might end up having to do a job which isn’t on your dream list, but which allows you to live somewhere marvellous. After all, an awful lot of people end up doing jobs they don’t necessarily love, even in more populous parts. That said, I do live in an area where incomes are typically on the low side. But, the views are free!
Secondly, if you’re the sort of person who loves to shop endlessly, or go clubbing every night, then you’re probably better of sticking to city life. In the countryside, life is at a different pace, plus there aren’t many shops or nightclubs. In fact, just grabbing a bottle of milk may require a drive of several miles. Convenience isn’t something you encounter very often, but it does feel more wholesome to be forced to plan. How many different tasks can you bolt on to that weekly trip into town?
That’s enough of the negatives though. What are the plus points? Well, this is a case of luck, but find somewhere really nice and you’ll get a marvellous sense of community. I’m pleased to say that we certainly have that here in rural mid-Wales. By and large, the incoming English and established Welsh get on very well, and there’s a great spirit amongst the people living here. The English tend to want a better quality of life, while the Welsh already have it!
You have to be prepared to make the effort though. A major turning point for us was going to a tea party to celebrate the Royal Wedding. Now, it’s fair to say that the monarchy isn’t something we really agree with. We certainly don’t care very much for it and wouldn’t normally consider going to a celebration of that sort. But here, if you want to meet people and get involved, you have to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone. That day, the occasion didn’t really matter. It was just an excuse for the community to get together. We drank tea, ate cake and met people who have become close friends. You then start hearing about other events and start meeting more people, and it all snowballed from there.
Getting involved with a community minibus scheme helped too, and certainly helped me get a better idea of the geography around here – and pronunciations! I remember sitting in an office in Solihull many years ago struggling to get the village name Ysbyty Ystwyth across to a chap in an office in the North East. Now I can very nearly pronounce it perfectly. It’s a few miles away.
We have friends of all ages now too, from teenagers to 80-years and beyond. We don’t just chat with neighbours over the fence – we pop around to each other’s houses for tea, or even Christmas dinner. We go to agricultural shows now, and spend more time at our local (the Hafod Hotel) than we ever thought we would. We’ve never even had a local before. Not one we felt we wanted to spend any time in anyway.
For a petrolhead, there’s sheer joy to be gained every time I go for a drive too. Loads of National Speed Limit roads, with barely any traffic on them (apart from tourist season!). Mind you, there is danger – stray sheep, cyclists, pedestrians, huge drops, fallen trees and tractors – you really do need to have your wits about you and remember that the roads are not just for cars having fun! Driving a minibus full of passengers allows me to enjoy the roads in a very different way – taking time to absorb the fascinating views that lurk around every bend, and marvelling at the lack of potholes as I drive as smoothly as possible.
It feels a very different life. It feels like going against the grain – ignoring the trappings of the life that consumerism would have you believe you should strive for. It really isn’t different though. This is how I wish more people lived. With community spirit and a real passion for life and less focus on must-have things that folk would have you believe you need. Who needs foreign holidays when living here is so amazing?. It isn’t perfect, and it can be very hard work at times. But, the reward is that inspiration can be found the moment you step through your door. While some sacrifices do have to made for this lifestyle, after a while, they feel like no sacrifice at all.