I’m here to knock some sense into you.
You’re thinking of moving somewhere bucolic. Somewhere sparsely populated. Somewhere, to quote Tom Petty, into the great wide open, under them skies of blue.
Jonah Bayer, writing for Travel and Leisure, offers a practical, optimistic view of such a move.
I’m going to give you the pessimistic viewpoint.
I stay in the great wide open all the time. My husband’s family owns a cabin in the mountains. It’s a forested property in central Pennsylvania. It sounds charming.
I have a sentimental thing about the cabin – a rather long story about legacy – but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.
Bayer points out the amount of driving you’ll do when you depart for someplace more exurban.
Which is exactly the problem. Forgetting milk or shampoo or breakfast when you grocery shop means making the two-hour round trip to the nearest store to go get it – or just going without for a week.
And if you want Starbucks, bring your passport. It’s about four towns and one interstate road away, over the mountain and past the sign disparaging Halloween as the gateway to condemnation.
The perk, Bayer points out, is that you never have to worry about things like the Regional Rail being down.
Personally, I would rather sit at Jefferson Station all day, waiting on the West Trenton line, than have to dodge fourteen deer grazing on the mountain because I forgot to buy peanut butter.
Bayer recommends outdoor gear because spending time in nature is so gratifying. You’re probably thinking a pair of hiking boots will do the trick.
But you’ll also need hiking socks – light and breathable for summer, but also a thick pair for winter because you need hiking boots all twelve months of the year.
You’ll need several pairs of long pants, too, for different weather conditions and terrains.
And no, you can’t just wear shorts. The ticks and biting flies coat your skin like peppercorns on steak. They carry about eighty-seven diseases, most of which are painful and difficult to cure.
Pick up some blaze orange, too. You’re not a deer and it’s your responsibility to keep from looking like one.
Bayer maintains you’ll be happy with your move. Maybe so. But I’ll say this: During an extended stay in London, I took public transportation everywhere. I never missed my car. I never longed for trees or dirt paths or mosquitoes.
But when I’m at the cabin, I’d kill for a skyscraper. A bakery. A pizza place that isn’t an hour away.
Also, when you’re in the city, that green stuff on the ground might be last night’s Midori, but it’s never a snake.
Can’t say the same about the country.
Need help unpacking?
Bayer’s Travel and Leisure article can be found here.