City / Town Or Country - Where To Purchase A Family Home
Of course, every family is different. We all have different ideals, and different perspectives on life. What may suit one family, may not suit another. This is an article based only on my own thoughts and opinions concerning the subject of 'Where to Purchase A Family Home?'
It's a subject I have been thinking a lot about, recently. We are in a position where we are looking to move house, and at the forefront of our minds is the location. Presently city dwellers (be it a fairly small, low key city which could perhaps also be described as rather large town) we have been thinking whether or not to give all that up and relocate to somewhere more rural. We wouldn't even want to move a great distance away - just out of the city and into the nearby countryside.
What has ignited this potential for change? Well, firstly the fact that we cannot find a new home of the right specifications in the area where we currently live. There are nice properties, yes - however, they are all far too expensive. But we have grown out of our current home and must make the change - we need more rooms and, though not essential, would like more outside space.
But even if we had the money, outside space is hard to come by in the area we currently reside in. And don't many of us harbor a similar desire - to see our children grow up in fresh, clean air, tearing about in the great outdoors, experiencing nature, climbing trees, planting vegetables, perhaps caring for hens who faithfully lay us eggs for our morning breakfast? When I think about it, it sounds like a dream. Perhaps it is - some do it and love it, but would it really be for you? I try to imagine it when the winter nights start pulling in and the air is chilled, for it is very easy to look at things through rose-tinted glasses. And whatever way we look at things, there are several points that need careful consideration.
If we were to live outside the city where we work, we would have to be prepared for a daily commute. Commuting can be tiring and time consuming - depending on the distance and amount of traffic congestion, it will add a fair chunk onto an already busy working day. On top of that, we would have to pay for the privilege of car parking upon arrival. The distance from home to work might not even be all that great, but once the rush hour gets underway, we would undoubtedly end up going nowhere fast.
Perhaps, in an ideal world, relocating to the countryside works best when you are actually working where you live - maybe working from home, either in an home office or on your own farm. Or maybe you are going to be running another business from home. But we don't always live in an ideal world, and we have to make decisions based on what we have already. In my opinion, if you are going to commute, then the shorter the journey the better.
Perhaps if there is a 'best' time to relocate from the city to the country, it is when your children are still young enough to easily adapt. Although not all children are alike (I have a friend who has just emigrated with her older children and they are both happy), many children become much less open to change by the time they reach the age of ten or eleven or so. Despite my romantic ideals of a happy family in the countryside, with my children cavorting around and drinking in the fresh air, my oldest child is not a fan. Why not? The answer is simple - because of his friends. He wants to go to secondary school with his favorite friends, and what's more, he likes them to be well within the nearby vicinity, so that he can call on them to play.....a lot.
Of course, one could argue that families move around all the time, whether it be from the city / town to the country, or just to another city. Children do make new friends - even when they are older, they are still adaptable, just more stubborn and set in their ways. The thing is, though, that as a child gets older, he starts to acquire increasing independence. My oldest child is at the stage where he is just beginning to venture out of the home alone, to go to the local shop or to visit a nearby friend. In a couple of years time, I know that his boundaries will have widened. Perhaps he might walk to the park with friends, or to the skate park, or to the shopping mall (which is currently a walkable distance). He even walks to school alone. He loves this newfound independence, and I happen to think it is very good for his self development. Were we to relocate to the country, a lot of that would be taken away, because he would have to rely on us, his faithful parents, for a lift whenever he wanted to go out. And this can only mean more planning and less spontaneity - the days of rash plans and nipping down the road to see if a friend is free would more than likely be over.
Aside from that, I have arrived at the conclusion that cities can actually offer quite a lot of facilities which appeal to young people. There are numerous skate parks (a great place for boys to let off some energy), BMX dirt tracks, recreation grounds, swimming pools, bowling alleys, cinemas, clubs, events aimed at children which are put on during school breaks - the list is endless. Children and young people need things to do, to keep them focused and out of mischief. Of course, the argument could be that there would be less peer pressure in the countryside. Perhaps that is true - personally I think it would depend on where you moved to.
But of course, the countryside can be the best playground ever, so long as a child has someone to share it with, like friends or siblings. With large amounts of space on which to roam, children can enjoy the freedom of an idyllic childhood. Think dirty knees, windswept hair and rosy cheeks - maybe you're almost persuaded? Dreams of the Good Life might have you hooked - it's the kind of image that lurks behind many a potential relocator. But you've got to get it right, or you might just find that children already accustomed to an urban lifestyle only end up pining for their former life.
So then, does all this mean that moving to the country is not a good idea if you have older children? Well, it all depends. As I mentioned, we live in a nice, safe city, with low crime rate. If we lived in a less desirable area with little optimism, where I felt much less confident about letting my children out to play, then I would see that as a negative impact upon their development, and would certainly jump at the chance of a relocation to the countryside. Life, after all, is not black and white, and relocation depends on many factors. There are pockets of deprivation where parents are afraid to let their children out the front door - or perhaps high traffic volume makes roads too dangerous for you to even think about allowing your children to cross. There are areas with high drug use and high crime rates. There are cities with schools which struggle to control pupils, thus holding back the chances of others. In all those circumstances, I would be off on the back of a tractor with no looking back....presuming I had a tractor, of course. In the end, you just have to weigh up the pros and cons of your own situation, and decide whether a relocation is something that would greatly benefit your family.
Enjoying the Countryside
There are many wonderful places to live in the countryside, but not all areas are the same. If we were to make the move, then we would choose our location with great care. Not so long ago, we visited the home of a family member who had relocated to a small village surrounded by wonderful countryside - except that it was almost all private land, as we were politely reminded when we set off for an afternoon walk. However, that is not a reflection upon the countryside as a whole - there are many villages on the outskirts of beautiful, public land which can be enjoyed by anyone. It's just that choosing your location should be made with careful consideration. If you are in the right place, then having the chance to watch your family grow up alongside nature is a wonderful opportunity. And if you intend on aquiring a few chickens or a goat, or maybe even a horse, then so much the better. Some studies have shown that children brought up on farms are more resistant to illness. Most children have a natural affinity towards animals, especially when young - plus they can help you, and there is nothing wrong with a little bit of work to teach responsbility and to keep them off the computers.
And, at the end of the day, there is little more soothing than watching the sun set peacefully, bleeding over an unblemished horizon. There is a certain beauty in the countryside, which is difficult to match even in the nicest towns and cities. Perhaps it is that feeling of really being away from it all - it's invigorating; almost soul-cleansing. Even if you only visit for a day, or a couple of hours, time in the countryside can leave you happy and content.
A Lot Of Driving
Do not relocate to the country if either one of you cannot drive. I certainly wouldn't want to. Stuck out in the middle of nowhere might start to feel like a long prison sentence if you cannot get away. There might be a bus - but the emphasis is on 'A' bus. If you are from a town or city, then you are probably used to ample bus services throughout the day. Not so in the country, I'm afraid. In some locations, you are lucky to get more than one service per day. Trust me, I know people who live in places like that. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that not being able to drive could lead to a rather isolating life.
Still on the subject of driving, were we to make the move to the country, we would need an additional car. Presently, we only have one family car, and I know that that simply wouldn't do. It would be an added expense, on top of the relocation. And as a person who is used to walking from A to B, as much as possible, I am very aware of the fact that a relocation to the country would more than likely mean that we would have to drive more or less everywhere. Rural villages do not have everything at your doorstep, like a city does. if you want something, you have to get in the car and drive to it. There are no two ways about it. And whilst I love the idea of living in the countryside, driving everywhere does go against my environmental beliefs, somewhat. I am proud of the fact that I drive my car very little during the week. Most of the time it sits parked outside my door, saving fossil fuel and leaving the smallest carbon footprint possible. I'm not deluded enough to think it would be the same, living in the countryside.
A Feeling Of Community
Rural living can often offer many benefits. People get to know each other more easily. There often seems to be an increased sense of community, and perhaps a more simplistic way of living. Many people relocate to the country because they hope to escape the constant rat race and the incessant bustle of modern city living. On the flip side of the coin, some people may feel the pace of country living too slow and yearn to be back in the action. I have known at least one person like this. Also, I have to ask myself the question of Would I Really Want Everyone Knowing All My Business? I'm not sure, having never experienced this kind of friendly intrusion. Perhaps it would take a little getting used to - but for a better life for my family, I know I could.
Will We Do It?
Not yet. For now, we will be staying where we are, or at least somewhere nearby. At the moment, our lives are still too tied up in the city, both practically and, in the case of my son, emotionally. However, I will never say never - maybe one day in the not too distant future, the time will be right for us.
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