At first glance, the thought of moving from the hustling pace of urban life into a quieter, rural location may seem to be a romantic idea. There may be much truth in the idea of escaping from the noise, the rules and the headaches of modern society, but there are still rules in the countryside, too. Some are written, of course, but others are unwritten and can seem rather subtle to the outside observer. Anyone with the idea of becoming a rural transplant would be wise to observe these three transitional cultural habits.
A Big Change In Anonymity
Urban and suburban dwellers make many more trips to the local grocery store than the average rural resident. When doing so, there is little expectation that they will come across someone they know. The purposes for their repeated visits are often for a few small items and the goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible.
In the country, stores aren’t typically close enough to one’s property to facilitate numerous trips for incidental items, and a store’s hours of operation are much more limited. Shopping at a country store can often be an adventure in itself and the longer one lives in an area, the more people they will get to know. Homesteaders, farmers and ranchers spend a lot more time working their property and don’t often have the social interactions afforded urbanites. Because of this, a trip to the local store could lead to some very interesting and extended conversations.
Store owners, especially those in farm and ranch or hardware stores, are often interested in the projects people are buying material for. The recent rural transplant may find the questions and advice to be intrusive or unsolicited, but in reality they are offered as a sign of friendship and genuine interest. Take time to slow down from the pace of city life and get to know the neighbors — wherever they may be found. As time progresses, the rural citizen will be recognizable from the vehicle they drive to the clothes they wear.
The skills and demands of living on a suburban lot or in a city apartment pale in comparison to those of country living. Fixing a leaking faucet or a hole in a fence is not often as easy as picking up the phone and calling a service company. Water wells can run dry without notice and an unwanted herd of cattle could end up grazing a neighbor’s field. In times like these it is essential to be a person of honorable character and friendly demeanor. If a neighbor looks like they need help, feel free to offer a friendly hand. Such a gesture may not always be received, but it will be remembered. There may come a time when a situation arises that the homesteader may not be able to address on his or her own, and help will be necessary. It is improbable that an unfriendly neighbor will be able to receive suitable assistance in such a time, but those who are remembered for their cheerful service are likely to receive the help they need.
The “Outsider Syndrome”
This may sound somewhat contrary to the first two points, but it may be necessary to endure a short period of skepticism when first moving to the country. Urban citizens rely much more on local infrastructure for things such as safety and security, but in the country trust is an essential commodity. Strangers are not often shunned, but they are oftentimes given a longer hand of welcome. The longer trust is maintained, the more likely the initial skepticism will dissolve. The new rural transplant would be well-advised to maintain a friendly demeanor with everyone they meet. Word will get around if a questionable character trait comes to light, and such things can be more difficult to repair than to prevent.
What other tips would you give people moving from the city to the country? Let us know in the comments section below.