City Life vs. Country Life

cityvscountryI’ve lived in cities most of my adult life, and have found them to be quite conducive to my minimalist lifestyle.

For example:

* Being close to large, public libraries eliminates my need to buy books and DVDs; I’d much rather enjoy something once and return it, than have it sit on my shelf for eternity.

* My proximity to museums, cultural institutions, and other venues means I don’t have to outfit my apartment with “entertainment” options, like a big screen TV or video games.

* I have no need to purchase art, as both the Tate and the National Gallery are just a Tube ride away; I’d prefer to stroll through galleries of masterpieces than hang something on my walls.

* I consider the city parks to be my “backyard.” Not only are they spacious and beautifully maintained, I don’t need to pick weeds, mow the lawn, or own a garage full of equipment.

* Public transit enables me to get by without a car (and pretty soon, my husband will be able to do the same).

That said, last weekend my husband and I stayed on a farm on the Isle of Wight (located off the southern cost of England). We spent our days walking its cliffs and downs, and its pastures and meadows. We lounged in fields of wildflowers, and picnicked on ledges overlooking the sea. We sat outside our little cottage each night, gazing at stars and listening to the waves.

I began to ponder the minimalist benefits of living in the country:

* Being entertained by the sights and sounds of nature

* The ability to grow my own vegetables instead of buying them

* The peace that comes from being far removed from shopping centers, chain stores, and advertising

* The relationships formed with neighbors, which often allow for barter and “non-consumer” exchanges

* The potential to live off-the-grid, and use more sustainable energy sources like wind and solar power

Certainly, I think city living enables one to get by with owning less stuff; so if you define minimalism as having the fewest possessions possible, it’s the clear choice.

However, country life offers more possibility of being self-sufficient; so if you define minimalism as buying as little as possible (including food and utilities), it’s an attractive option.

Personally, I think minimalism is what you make of it, and can be practiced just as well in urban and rural environments. It’s all a matter of having just “enough” to meet your needs—whether that’s season tickets to the opera, or a handful of goats and chickens. For now, my place is in the city; I enjoy the culture, the diversity, and the overall vibe. Yet I wouldn’t rule out a little farmhouse should we someday choose to settle down.

So do you prefer the country or city? And do you find one more conducive to a minimalist lifestyle than the other? Let me know in the Comments.

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57 comments to City Life vs. Country Life

  • Tracey Dixon

    I hooked onto this as a matter of trying to cope with my own feelings of living in a country/seaside area.I grew up in Sydney ,lived most of my life in Sydney in the Eastern Sbs and across the rd from a beach ,but still in a city,and I miss it to pieces.The work ,the people,,the ease of public transport and the general vibe of Sydney.Where I live now about 3 and 1/2 hrs south of Sydney,is a beautiful coastal area ,with a small town with everything in it ,supermkts,library,movie theatres,clothes shops,cafes,some restaurants etc,but its just not the same for me,I don’t know why,I guess I miss the city ,because it’s my home really.I now own a car,which is pretty neccessary here ,I never did in Sydney,infact I couldn’t drive !!I learnt to drive at 48! because I had to!I own more here than I did in a one bedroom apt in Sydney.I would happily go back to a one bed room in Sydney but my husband loves it here.I’m not saying I hate it here,I have friends,I have a gorgeous dog,a garden full of flowers and veges,but I’m a city person and I do struggle with the sea change.I miss the cultural diversity,the different faces ,the cosmopolitan feel of a city,my darling mums still there,so I drive up every second week and see her and get my city fix.

  • Tina

    I’ve only lived in cities and suburbs. I like close in suburbs because you can walk or take public transportation most places, yet it is quieter and less densely packed than the city. I don’t know how I would manage somewhere 50 miles from a town and there are places we’ve been to that are very far away from population centers.

  • Laurie

    I live a simple life on a small farm in the mountains of western North Carolina. I am becoming more minimalist as I get older (52 now). I find that I like local seasonal food, either from my garden or the local tailgate and farmer’s markets. I enjoy the vibrancy of big cities as a vacation, and the same with the beach, but I’m happiest on my small farm with my animals and the mountains and countryside.

  • Tina

    If we lived far out in the country, we would have to become more self sufficient. I would be able to have a big garden and my husband would like it for his bird watching and astronomy. The downside is that now we walk to the library, grocery store, barbershop, and my volunteer work.

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