Have you ever considered picking up sticks and moving your life out to the mountains, right in the heart of nature, where there’s no shortage of fresh air, clear water and stillness? As more and more people move into the cities, there is a steady trickle heading the other way, away from smoggy skies, crowded streets and white noise. While many are so thrilled at achieving their dream of exchanging urban squalor for a natural idyll, they often underestimate the challenges of living out in the sticks. Yet, with some sound preparation and good planning, you can prevent your dream from turning into a nightmare.
Rural life can be quite challenging
The challenges that people face when they first move from the city to the country can vary enormously, depending on the terrain and climate they are moving to. More on that in a moment, but first, let’s take a look at general challenges people face in rural life and how to deal with them:
While the serenity of such a life appeals to those who have escaped the rat race, it also brings its own challenges. You’re likely to be much further from schools, hospitals, shops auto repairs, gas stations and fire departments than any city dweller could ever imagine. In order to avoid having to spend most of your country life sitting behind the wheel, driving into town – even risking running out of gas – you’ll have to be like the boy scouts and be prepared!
Time to stock up
This isolation means you should be stocking up on a lot of things – fuel (don’t forget all the different options you have, including gas, propane, coal, wood and so on), canned food, water (if you live in a dry area), cleaning supplies and any medication you might need. There are so many ways you could be cut off from the rest of civilization – flooding, roads blocked by fallen trees or avalanches, forest fires etc. You should turn part of your home into a kind of general store for this reason.
Have a stock of medical and first aid supplies and send every member of your household on a first aid training course. True country living is full of hazards, from chopping logs to frostbite and sunstroke. As you may be hours away from an emergency medical center, you should prepare as well as you can to deal with emergencies.
The same applies to fire hazards
You need to take extra care to prevent fires as you might be far away from help. Anti-inflammatory fabrics should be used where possible, in conjunction with smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. Keep different types of fire extinguisher indoors and have a hose and ladders available outside to attack fires in trees or on the roof.
In terms of home and personal security, rural areas are generally much better off than their urban counterparts. Home invasions, though rare, do happen, and so it’s important to keep valuables and firearms in a heavy, locked, secure container. Even if you don’t plan on keeping a shotgun or a rifle, you should consider carrying a pistol if you live in an area with bears. Should you startle a grizzly bear while out hiking, it may well attack you and you will need at least .45 caliber bullets to stop it.
Prepare for heavy snowfall
In areas with heavy snowfall, a shovel just isn’t going to cut it. You’ll likely need to choose a snow blower from somewhere like SnowShifts to deal with serious amounts of snow. You should fit chains to your truck’s wheelsbut avoid traveling altogether if possible.
In other areas, the problem is reversed. Extreme heat and lack of water are deadly threats in rural desert areas. With running water, electricity and air conditioning, it’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Take that away for a couple of days and you could be in big trouble if you haven’t prepared generator fuel and adequate supplies. If your vehicle breaks down in the open desert, try to stay with it as your chances of being found are minimal otherwise.
Watch those bugs
Be aware of the flora and fauna around you and learn how to deal with common bites and stings which you may be exposed to. Pick up the habits of others who live in the area, such as not leaving your shoes on the floor, sleeping with mosquito nets or checking your skin for ticks after being outdoors.
With these things in mind, you’re less likely to have any nasty surprises when you start your new life out in the country. With good preparation, you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and clam of a rural lifestyle without any stress at all.