Rural Property Bulletin
Escape to a Small Town: Create a New Life and Fulfill Your Dreams in a Place Where You Can Breatheby Lisa Rogak, Lisa Angowski Shaw
About the Author
Lisa Rogak is the author of more than 25 books, including The Complete Country Business Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Rural Entrepreneur, and lives in rural New Hampshire. See more details below
About the Author
Lisa Rogak is the author of more than 25 books, including The Complete Country Business Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Become a Rural Entrepreneur, and lives in rural New Hampshire.
Rural Property Bulletin
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Read an Excerpt
Just as one city differs from another, every small town that you'll encounter can be vastly different from another. The question you must ask yourself is, "What sort of small town do I want to live in?"
Many of us think of a small town as a bustling downtown made of pretty white buildings and corner lamp posts, quaint little coffee shops and towering church steeples filled with friendly people who wave as you pass by. Others see it as a plot of land surrounded by trees where the chirping of birds effortlessly mixes with the sound of the wind blowing. Some of us see green hills that look like giant emeralds, while others foresee a placid lake dotted with little fishing boats that make a gentle whirring sound as they move from channel to channel. There are different kinds of small towns and you must decide which one is for you.
If you wish to move to a place where people don't ask you to be on the school board or go to the church pot luck supper, if you would rather spend a day without hearing another voice or the sound of an automobile, then the cute little town with the coffee shop and corner lamp posts is not for you. Your wish is for isolation, which means you should consider moving into the outskirts of a small town. But you should be aware that if you are leaving a big city where screeching tires and loud boom boxes on every corner are the norm, the shock of complete silence may be more than you can take.
It's a good idea to take a vacation to a cabin in the mountains without a TV or radio and see how the silence affects you. Many people who live in noisy neighborhoods dream of being completely isolated from the human race until they realize that silence can be just as bothersome as noise if you're not used to it.
Likewise, if you think you'd like to live in a bustling village, make sure that is what you really want. The anonymity and impersonality that often accompanies city living will not be readily available in a close-knit small town. You may find the gossip and familiarity residents have with each other to be charming at first, but you should realize that if you show up at the general store in the middle of the day too much, rumors will start about how you don't work, or how you must live off a trust fund, and so on. Don't laugh: this happened to me when I first moved to a small town. It took time for people to get to know me before those rumors faded away. And even today, because I drive a 20-year-old Mercedes I bought for $1000 from a salvage yard, people in my small town consider me to be wealthy.
Be aware that since you are new in town, you will be talked about. In a small town filled with traditions, anything that's new or different will stand out. But at the same time, you should realize that most of these people lead very busy lives, and their days are not consumed with talking with you. It may even be scary to hear people talking about your cousin from Los Angeles coming to town just moments after you heard it yourself.
Don't be alarmed if none of these visions of small town life fit your ideal, because in a small town, nothing is black and white but instead is made up of many shades of gray. Another type of small town living is the happy medium between the two lifestyles described here. This is the kind of life where you can be as involved as you want or as solitary as you desire and it is all up to you. Certainly, this is the most appealing of the lifestyles because of the amount of freedom involved. The question is, how do you find this kind of small town?
When you start looking for your small town, try to find a place with much
privacy yet relatively easy access to shopping, culture or whatever aspects
of life are important to you. Achieving this happy medium depends on your
ability to understand the community that you think you want to become a
part of. Many small towns have a bureaucracy equal to city hall, so it may
require taking a day off here and there to attend a planning or school
board meeting. What this will do is allow you a look at the powers-that-be
in the small town you are thinking of calling home. Once you get a feel for
the people you meet, you will have a better handle on the kind of small
town you are moving to.
Excerpted from Escape to a Small Town; Create a New Life and Fulfill Your Dreams in a Place Where You Can Breathe by Lisa A. Rogak. Copyright 1999. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
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