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

  • I live in the countryside and hate it.

    I don’t think there’s anything beautiful about muddy fields and that’s what the countryside is. I think most city-dwellers have a romanticised view of the countryside; it’s only pretty if you don’t see it day in, day out, and after seeing it for a while, you grow to loathe it.

    You’re not removed from shopping centres, chain stores or advertising. Generally you’ll have one shop in a small village if you’re lucky (most places round here don’t have any shops at all and perhaps not any even within walking distance) but if you want anything more than a newspaper you’ll have to drive to a chain store. Oh, and there’s no public transport/proper streetlighting/pavements, so you HAVE to drive (which is incredibly limiting if you can’t).

    In my experience, the close-knit communities you get from small villages generally fosters resentment and oneupmanship rather than community spirit. I don’t know anyone who gets on with their neighbours other than people who know them primarily from the Townswomen’s Guild or something rather than because they live near to each other.

    Possibly it would be different in other places but round here you can’t get planning permission for anything LIKE solar panelling, wind turbines etc. Modern houses don’t get it because they’re so tightly packed and everything else round here is listed.

    As you might have guessed, I see no benefits to country living whatsoever. And as for a minimalist lifestyle? City. There are many people round here who have to drive to buy a pint of milk and who have to spend the whole winter with several weeks’ supplies because if it snows, that’s it for them. And the amount of work you need to do for the upkeep of many country houses is insane.

    • Jennifer

      I wish I loved living in the country, but I really do not. I must admit that it really is beautiful out here, but we are so far removed from any conveniences (like grocery stores) that I fail to see the beauty most of the time. As far as minimalism goes, the only real disadvantage to being out here, is that we could not go car free, or even realistically be a 1 car family, as there is no way we could get away with walking anywhere. We live 7 miles from the small town we have our address in and 25 – 30 miles from any larger, yet still small, town that we must drive to in order to get reasonably priced groceries, buy our household supplies or even see a Dr. I think as far as how I’d like to “minimalize” my life, living in the heart of downtown would be better for me. My husband would probably completely disagree with me, by the way :)

    • Linda

      I am so sorry to hear that you dislike the country so much. I love it, sitting our under the stars, or feeling the wind on my face, or meditating in the quiet. Yes, I put up with snakes, wild animals and occasionally a well that goes out. The nearest town is 25 miles away and any real shopping 1 1/2 hours. But when I am out walking with my dogs and horses enjoying nature, I am in heaven. I can plant my garden and run around naked if I want (I don’t, cause I don’t want to scare the animals). I am blessed.

  • nyx

    I think there are advantages to both, I live in a city, I would still own the same amount of stuff which isn’t very much if I lived in the country, I can pack everything into my car, but I’d probably have a small garden in the country, I’m not a barter person, I’d rather buy something or groceries straight and be done with it.

    I think country living is different for everyone, to some it means owning land, a house and having privacy, others want a small garden, yet others want chickens and a dog. It all depends. I’ve realized that cities are very convenient but too populated.

  • Steve Austin

    Does it have to be either-or? Why not have a small outpost in both environments, and shuttle between the two every 6 weeks or every 6 months?

    What has been omitted in the above discussion is the in-between. Neither poster nor commentator has expressed the advantages of the sub- or ex-urb (if there are any). ;-)

  • Muji

    My happy medium is close enough to the city that transit links are easily accessed and far enough that real estate prices are a bit lower and one can afford a spot of a garden – best of both worlds. I guess it would be considered the inner suburbs maybe?

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Tonia. Tonia said: RT @minimalistrobyn City Life vs. Country Life […]

  • Lori

    We love living in the country. Sorry about your mud, Fern. :^)

    We live 20 min outside a university town, so shopping and culture are close enough. We limit our trips to town and we generally only drive once a week, sometimes more often in summer and even less often in winter.

    We are surrounded by beauty. We walk in the woods every day, picnic in our own meadow, sit outside and watch fireflies and shooting stars at night.

    We have a huge garden and no neighbors to complain if we want to dry laundry outside or keep chickens. (In fact, that’s ordinary rural behavior…)

    We built our home, and the upkeep is minimal, with excellent energy saving.

    I think the urban/rural choice depends more on your personality than the pros/cons of either location.

    We do creative work at home and prefer no distractions, so for us being located in the country is a huge advantage. We can socialize when we choose to but be hermits when we need to. We are inspired by the beauty that surrounds us, and the peace and quiet is conducive to doing our best work.

    The biggest minimalist plus is that your interaction with the outside world is completely in your control, and every choice is deliberate. You are free to fashion your own reality.

    • Jennifer

      Lori, I love your perspective on living in the country. I hope that someday I will be able to appreciate the benefits you have described. Maybe seeing them in writing will help me to be more aware of my surroundings.

      Thank you.

  • I grew up in the country, live in the city now – hate it. I’m just as much into self-sufficiency as I am minimalism, and, depending where you live, it is easier and cheaper to live off grid, grow most or all of your own food, etc. in the country. Some cities have affordable suburbs with enough yard to do some of these things, others don’t. Mine certainly doesn’t. Also, as Lori mentioned, our lifestyle is also creative and we’d love to have a more focused and private place for this rather than have our next door neighbors literally 12 feet away connected by a party wall.

  • Gil

    I am fortunate to live in a semi-rural area which affords beautiful views of rolling hills and farmland and work in the core of downtown Baltimore with it’s attractions and ammenities. We have everything we need near home as far as food shopping, etc, so we are not totally isolated.

    I am the type that I enjoy the energy and chaos of a city, but at night, the tranquility of the country is calming. Plus, living in the country blends well with my new minimalist life. As others have mentioned the choice to dwell in a rural or urban environmant depends on your personality.

    My wife and I stood outside last night and couldn’t believe how quiet it was in our development. I could not live in the city full time, but respect those who do. I know if I did, I could get rid of my car, lol.

  • I prefer a happy medium – I live in a college town (population of about 200k) so I’m within a few miles of museums, concert venues, lectures, libraries, etc. There is public transit, bike lanes, and walkability. I have outdoor space to garden, relax, etc.
    I’ve lived in more of a true city setting and it was nice to be closer to things, but made having a dog harder and was noisy. The country is beautiful, but too isolated for me.

  • I’ve lived in both the city and the country and in some of the best, like San Francisco, Boston, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, and the Ozarks. Whether it was a brownstone or a converted school bus on a mountain, I loved both of the lifestyles. Those cities, in particular stand out, because they are very walking-friendly, but other cities I’ve lived in that required driving left me feeling disconnected. Both settings are fine, but at this point in my life, I prefer living in the wilderness. It’s so beautiful and peaceful. And it’s not hard to be minimal when an apartment or a bus is about the same small square footage!

  • Michelle

    Right now I live in a small city but I grew up in the suburbs and spent a lot of time at my grandparent’s farm, so I’ve seen all sides of it. I am a “few possessions” type of minimalist, but I also have been striving to become more self-sufficient and I understand the frustrations that develop when trying to reduce your ecological footprint when you are stuck with the utilities provided by the city and building codes prohibit the installation of green energy alternatives.
    I think the best solution is to live in a large city where you wouldn’t need a car to get around, but to get involved and push for green initiatives within that city. For example, some cities are now starting to get their energy from wind turbine fields, or massive solar arrays, and I believe that they are just the start of this. Plus, most of the dying urban areas, like Detroit for example, that were once navigable only by cars are now being taken over by communities who are reclaiming the empty lots and using them as farm land, right in the urban centers!
    As for the suburbs, I don’t really know what hope there is for them. Unlike cities, (which are population dense by design and therefore more energy efficient), and rural areas (which tend to be “green” in the nature-sense to promote the growth of vegetation), the suburbs were designed to be spread out over large areas with the land mostly being wasted and used to grow nothing more than grass and inedible flowers and the only way to get around is by car. Added to that is the problem of the square-footage explosion and the fact that all entertainment options are costly in both money and resources and you have a recipe for unsustainability.

  • Kim

    Country girl here! We live on a small 5 acre holding way way out in the country. Our property is mostly woods (3.5 acres), sheep keep another acre “mowed” and then we have a small 1/2 acre yard and garden.

    Country life requires a bit more stuff. It simply takes more tools to maintain property, fences, animals, and gardens. We do all our outdoor work with old fashioned human powered tools. That keeps me pretty busy during the day.

    Each trip to town is carefully thought out. As we transition from a traditional consumer mentality to simplicity and “minsumer” it helps that I can’t just walk down the road and into a store. We have to home cook our meals (vegan) because there is no vegan takeout within about an hour of us. That alone is saving us a substantial amount of money.

    We have a 1500 square foot home that shelters me, my husband, our 2 adult children, a dog, and 2 cats. Since seriously minimizing our stuff we have lots of extra room. There is a new peacefulness in the house.

    I feel free here. Free to think, free to be, free to discover.

  • Red

    It just depends on how “city” or how “country” we’re talking. For instance, I live in Knoxville, Tenn., and though it is urbanized, it also has many of the benefits of country living if you don’t live in the downtown area. Our library system is quite large for our city’s size, so I feel totally comfortable not owning books or movies at all.

    But when I lived in a much smaller town growing up, our library was smaller than my current apartment (640 square feet). The only thing they carried were romance novels. Not my thing, though seeing the stars at night is magnificent.

  • I have always lived in the suburbs in NJ/PA and commuted to major cities, I guess because housing was more affordable. I was always concerned how hectic living in a city would be and wanted some space. Even moving to Santa Fe, it doesn’t feel like a city, but I like being close to public transportation and other resources. I think there has to be some kind of happy medium, one that you can taylor fit to your lifestyle, what works for someone may not work for you. The only way to go about it is try it out for yourself. Live in the city, live in the country. Then you can speak from your own experience. Maybe one day, I would like to live in Portland, OR or something like it, but I’m just an artist living in the desert now.

  • Heather

    Both have their good points but I now prefer a little more city. I like easy access to the things I need and quick trips. I also work right now, so being closer to work and home is important. We also like to visit new restaurants and entertainment places. I have a plot of land that I turned into a vegetable/flower garden, which makes for easy maintenance. I think I like the spot we are in because we have several homes around us but the way the house is situated, it feels secluded. : )

  • After recently becoming a vegan, I couldn’t possibly imagine living in the “country.” I’m absolutely horrendous at throwing meals together or thinking creatively in the kitchen, so if Whole Foods weren’t in my life, I would probably die, haha. That being said, I often fantasize about being “off the grid,” sitting on the porch, just enjoying the peace and quiet of wind blowing and animals scurrying about. Maybe after graduate school… :)

  • I feel like I have the best of both worlds at the moment. We live in town, but we’re not a big city like Chicago or NYC or anything. Probably 40-50,000 people or so. Because of where we live we have a yard where I can have a good sized garden. Shopping is close, but its not within walking distance.

    I’ve lived in a smaller, more rural town and while it was nice it was a bit difficult shopping-wise because we had only one grocery store. Everything else was either the small local shops that weren’t open past 5 (and I didn’t get home until 5:30), or you had to drive 1/2 hr or more to go elsewhere.

    I very much prefer where I live compared to the more rural area, and while I think I could handle living in a bigger city there’s just something about this middle ground that I love.

  • i am a 100% city girl. and at this point cannot imagine a country side lifestyle. but love the way you ended by saying that you love the city for its vibe but do not rule out a farm house.

  • I’ve gone back and forth on this for years, and always settle on city. I grew up in the suburbs: nothing within walking distance, but neighbors all around in your business. The worst of both worlds! So, cities it has been. I’ve lived in some beautiful ones: Boulder, Santa Barbara; and then made it to New York City , which I loved beyond measure for the three years I lived there.

    I finally got sick of how hard it is to just “be” in NYC, and moved to western Mass, where I have the best of both worlds: I live in a pretty, friendly, walkable town that is affordable. It has all the city amenities: museums, libraries, grocery shopping all within walking distance, etc, and all the country amenities: community gardens, tons of places to bicycle, swimming holes, and plenty of surrounding farms.

    I ask: Why can’t we have the best of both worlds all the time? Why can’t our cities have tons of green space and our rural areas have walkable town centers? Now that I know it is possible to have both at once, I wonder why we should have to choose.

  • Mia

    Hi MM! I’ve lived in both small towns and large cities and my choice so far is where I am at the moment. A city that doesn’t feel like one. Berlin. :) It’s relatively cheap compared to other European capital cities, you have opera houses, museums, public libraries and restaurants nearby, public transportation is efficient, it’s so green with lots of tree-lined streets and parks, lots of wide open spaces and wide sidewalks, it’s not filled with skyscrapers not crowded. The architecture may not be as lovely as in Paris, Vienna or Prague and there’s graffiti everywhere but you can’t have everything, I guess. :)

    But on the other hand, we’ve also toyed with the idea of being self-sufficient. Living in the country, growing our own food, buying a house and installing solar panels. But I guess that’s for later if ever our priorities change.

  • Julia

    It also depends on which city or rural community you live in. I’m in Houston which is the 4th largest city in the US but we have a dismal public transport system, so everyone here drives. (It’s an oil town and lots of politics prevent public transport from happening, but that’s another issue.) But we do have a lot of the other amenities you mention: libraries, cultural institutions, arts, etc. We have some nice art museums with a few masterpieces in them but nothing on par with a Tate or National Gallery. ;-) Our public parks aren’t that special either.
    I would never want to live in the country around here unless you find barren prairie land with an interstate running through it beautiful, which I guess some might. I think if I lived in a place like Colorado or Utah, I might be able to do the country thing if the view & outdoor areas were spectacular.
    Also, most rural communities around here depend solely on one store like a Walmart for their provisions. The people living there seem to be suspicious of anyone left of center politically as well, so building a community might be hard for a transplant from the city. Just my two cents. =)

  • […] community garden plot, and are back at it again this year. Miss Minimalist had a recent post about City Living vs. Country Living, and it got me thinking about having the best of both […]

  • I think in the country the possibilities are limitless. Sure you do not have all the ‘conveniences’ of city living but that makes you all the more resourceful.
    But in the long run it is all what you make of it.

  • I’d hate to live in the country, or even a small town. It’s okay to visit and get away for a few days…but I couldn’t sustain a life there! I love the amenities and all the other trappings of the city (except the traffic). You can still grow veggies if you live in the city!

  • City life most definitely lends itself to greater lifestyle economics. Especially when it comes to the availability of public transportation, or the lack thereof. I’ve often daydreamed about ditching the car and relying on my own 2 legs or public transportation to get around, but I’ve have to leave the suburbs to do so (at least here in CT).

    Unfortunately, for me, I could never see myself adapting well to city life. I cherish my relative privacy and I’m also very sensitive to noise that others don’t even seem to notice. The sound of city traffic at night, the lines and crowds, dirtier air….ugh.

  • We purposefully chose to move from the city to a small town (5000 people) last year, and we couldn’t be happier. We had no yard in the city, and we wanted to be able to grow our own food rather than buy it. We were able to sell our city house for the same price we paid for our small town house, and we now have 3/4 of an acre for growing things. We’ve put in a 14 tree orchard, 27 raised veggie beds, and a berry patch with about 15 bushes. It will be a few years before we get much from the trees, but we’re already harvesting things every day from the gardens. Definitely one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We both work from home, and we’re able to get around our little town completely by bike. We only have to go into the big town 10 miles down the road two or three times a month.

  • […] Minimalist weighs up the pros and cons of city vs country life (No contest, it’s city life – although preferably suburban life, to be precise – […]

  • I grew up in the country and hated it. I spent 20 years in a mid-size city in the American midwest, which was nice, and one year in Los Angeles, which I hated–too noisy, crowded, and inconvenient. I now have the ideal situation for me: a college town in the Pacific Northwest, an hour from a major city, an hour from the Pacific coast. I thought I would be going to the city more often, for cultural and entertainment reasons, but I find I have what I need here. We have a year-round farmers’ market, shops and restaurants just block from my house, and a good public library. I have room for a small garden, where I can grow some of my food. I’m almost 50, and would probably have been bored out of mind here when I was in my 20s and 30s, but now I enjoy the slower pace, the simpler lifestyle, evenings drinking wine in the garden and reading or chatting with my husband. Everyone is different, and different places are right for them.

  • I’m sorry to say I don’t look at living in the city or the country in regards to being a minimalist, but rather which place is better to raise a family. I grew up in the burbs of Cincinnati and so far life has lead me to farm country where hubby and I are raising our three boys. I love the small town and small school, but I have to admit it takes me longer to get anywhere. I found your post every interesting due to the minimalist point of view.

  • Cat

    I am pleased to live in north Georgia in (the little-bitty ‘tourist’ city) of Helen; quaintly nicknamed ‘Little Bavaria’ due to it’s charming theme. I am an hour north of Atlanta offering all the culture and nightlife a person could want. And Helen is an hour southeast from the rural mountains of western North Carolina. I am a little bit ‘city’ and a little bit ‘country’ girl. I love them both!

    I lived in rural Germany for a couple years back in the 80’s and walked to a nearby village to get my groceries from an open air market. It was the typical thing for locals since freezers weren’t common and I have a similar experience here. I do have a freezer, but I like to pretend I am back in Germany and like to frequent the shops and ‘Betty’s’ Grocery Store.

    Helen is a fun little village with its horse drawn carriages, boutiques, gift shops and eateries. I walk to work at a T-Shirt shop by day and work from home as publisher of a little monthly paper called ‘City & Country Leisure’ by night…and I develop websites.

    My office is the front room of our house which is surrounded by old growth trees on the edge of town. The national forest is out my back door and just a short distance out my front window I can see a huge dutch windmill. I love this place! And this is LIVING! Prost!

  • cynthia

    This posting is perfect timing in my life. I’ve single parented my 3 kids and started thinking about what I really wanted for the next chapter of my life so I went through everything little thing I had and have stored it in the garage for a sale this summer and craiglisted the rest. I am so done with having so much stuff. Then, I started wondering if I was doing the right thing. I live in what I would say is the perfect place…rural. 20 minutes from the city but on 2 acres and only 2 neighbors that I can see on a private road in a beautiful picturesque area. My ex and I built this house and the nature and peace and simplicity of living is critical to my happiness. So I’m torn. Do I give everything away and become the minimalist I used to be b.c. kids and have extra time and less stuff, or do I stay and tolerate the extra stuff to have the self sufficiency and country life I’ve grown to love. You can’t be a minimalist in the country and you can’t be self sufficient in the city. You need food stocked in case the stores run out in emergencies and a wood stove for your own heat, and a generator for power losses,etc. and that’s where living in the country is smarter. But it sure would be nice not to have to fix and repair and maintain things. It would be great to live free and light but I don’t like how vulnerable it makes me feel having to be dependent on the economy to survive. As a 47 year old woman, this house is just too much work but I just can’t decide what to do.

  • Teresa Walters

    I have lived most of my life in the country and i love it
    everything is some peaceful and calm. i currently live in an apartment in the city, and i hate it but with gas prices so high i cant afford to live out in the country and drive45 miles one way to work and go to college and also my daughter goes to city schools, i do not like our county schools they are full of kids with no morals.when i was a child i lived in Letcher, county in kentucky in the country. now i live in hazard, kentucky in the city. i can not wait to finish school and move back home to letcher county Kentucky.

  • Kathryn

    I have enjoyed reading the comments on country v city. I live and work in London and love it but I long to be in the country. I realise this is probably very romanticised and the reality may be far, far different. There is also (I feel) a bit of a one upmanship between the city and country here in the UK. As I get older, I can see why it is easier to live very close to a large hospital and GP surgery. I also travel everywhere by public transport, I don’t want to have to buy a car to get to the nearest supermarket or wait ages for an infrequent bus. Let’s live and let live and see the pluses in both?

  • Interesting question – I think I’d have almost as much stuff in a city as I do living here in the countryside – perhaps no gardening equipment.

    I’ve lived in both cities and the countryside over the years, and, while I can still drive, I’m staying firmly in the country. I can visit cities when I want a culture fest, but for day to day living; the peace, isolation, and lack of pollution are great. I also get to keep chickens and a very noisy cockerel!

  • Morgan

    I confronted this dilemma about 18 years ago when I found myself a single mother of a baby girl. I was inclined towards the country but I ultimately decided city (actually, old suburb of city) for these reasons: As a parent alone, I needed a community in which to raise my child. In the country, I had just a few good friends with diverse ages and backgrounds. During the child-rearing part of my life, I really benefited from the company of other parents of young children. They were my extended family in case of trouble to to share joy. The other reason was that many of the friends I grew up with had their children before me and raised them in the country. They found that when the children were young, the county life was excellent, days of stream dam building, berry gathering, animal watching,etc. But as soon as they needed to pull away from their parents and have their own social life, there wasn’t much for them to do. As county teen agers, a lot of them spent their free time riding around with their friends in trucks and maybe drinking beer. I heard this story from people my age who were raised in the county, too. So I chose this in-between neighborhood and made a point of getting out to the country as often as possible throughout my daughter’s childhood. Seems to have worked: she is now a young lady who loves the natural world, but also loves the concerts and museums and cultural diversity available in our home town. And I have a tight-knit group of dear friends who are into backyard chickens, gardening, sustainability, and most recently, beekeeping. I guess we hit a happy medium.

  • MelD

    How interesting to hear such different opinions!
    At the end of the day, it seems to depend a lot both on personality/demands but also on location. In Europe, it is quite hard to be totally rural like some places in the US, so that country is still a whole lot more convenient and not miles away from anywhere.
    I grew up in cities, both central and suburbs, though nothing like huge cities with millions of inhabitants (greater Birmingham UK and Geneva, Switzerland) and appreciated the ease of transport and amenities. Since I’ve had a family, I’ve lived in both small towns and villages, but always had excellent public transport even at times when I had no car. Now I live in a town of about 22’000 inhabitants, very central, 3-4 mins on foot to the train station (40 minutes to an international city) and yet our house is within secluded greenery and I can let my dog run on open fields not 5 mins away – on foot! My neighbours grow all their own veg. I still have a tiny, old car, but if and when it dies (it’s 16 yrs old), I will be fine without it. Our town has all the shops I need and I can walk or cycle. I can take the bus or train out to country areas for different activties, since museums and galleries tend to be spread around the small towns here, rather than all being in the city. For the most part, even my husband can use the train for work. It’s not just minimalism, it’s the simplicity involved that is appealing.
    For my daughters, they enjoyed growing up in a small village of 1500 inhabitants where they always walked or biked to school, ran errands for me in the village stores (general, butcher, dairy, post office…) and played for hours in the village stream and fields on their own, but could easily take the bus into town (only 6 km away) for music lessons or movies etc. When we moved to town when they were around teenage, it was even better for their independence! One daughter is 20 and still hasn’t bothered to learn to drive because it’s just not necessary for her school or work. They like to go into the city occasionally or to other small towns, but mainly stick nearer to home. Larger events encourage visitors to use public transport and make it cheaper and easier compared to arriving by car, which is great. We are really lucky to have all this infrastructure and the best of all worlds.
    I don’t know if there is anywhere in the US like this!

  • ElizMcK

    I live in a small beach side communitee that is about 45-60 minutes from a very large city. To the north and east are rural communitees as well as vineyards. I often hike in those areas. They are beautiful places to visit, but I would not choose to live in any of them. The natives complain about one lane roads, access to shopping and the flies (from lots of horses). There is nothing wrong with living in the country or the city. I just prefer to reside between the two extremes and to take advantage of both of these worlds, along with living in my own small town near the ocean.

  • I live 7 miles outside a midsize town which is 30 minutes from a LARGE metro area. Because of proximity to the larger metro area, our town has not grown much or have many of the the small city features to it. I did enjoy country living while my kids were small, they are all grown now and my yard does me no good whatsoever, except to have to keep cut.
    My next thought would be to live just inside a smaller city that does have it’s share of shopping and art and culture, yet small enough to have a community feel to it.
    Hubby and I are preparing to venture off in an RV and explore. Shall be interesting to see what we find!
    Wonder Woman doesn’t live here anymore

  • I can see the benefits to living in a city. But for me it’s country all the way. I dislike most things about cities. They are unnatural and unsustainable. Population density of cities is over the carrying capacity of the land. As long as it continues to be possible to ship products into cities and people have enough money to pay for this luxury I guess cities will go on.
    I live 50 miles from big chain stores, shopping malls, restaurants, large grocery stores, etc. There are only 2 traffic lights in the entire county. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
    My country life requires that I have certain tools, a car, and good planning skills. I can only get so minimal here…but seeing the stars in the sky, growing my own food, the quiet and solitude, nature, etc are something I would not want to do without.
    In the end I guess it’s a personal choice (if you’re lucky enough to have the choice).

  • Kim

    Having lived both extremes, I can say they both have pros and cons. Living in the city it was definitely easier to live with less stuff. We walked or used public transportation and used the public library. Living in the country trying to be self-sufficient takes more tools and equipment. However, the kids now have very little use for toys–they play with animals and whatever they find in nature. We have also significantly reduced our clothing budget. We wear our clothing out, patch it, and wear it some more. We line dry our clothes, raise our own food (or are at least supplementing to the best of our ability), and entertain ourselves. In either case, we can live a non-materialistic lifestyle refraining from over-consumption.

  • I am 41 years old and was the first 19 years of my life in the country, I then lived the nex 19 years in the city….. then three years ago decided to move back to the country with our three kids…. we are in the process of moving back to our house in the city as i miss the convenience of the city. At least in the city you have real friends… in the country everyone talks to each other…. they also talk about their so called friends as soon as they turn their back….. city life rules and country people are just soooo bored and thrive on other people lives… FACT…

  • Devon

    I’m 36 and lived in the country as a child for 8 years and in the city the rest. I didn’t have the responsibilities an adult would but really appreciated my time there in the country and miss it a lot. We were surrounded by farm land with pigs, cows & chickens. Things I miss about the country are cornfields, country roads, creeks, potbelly fireplaces, red barns, covered bridges, grain silos, farm equipment, windmills in your yard, helping my mom in her garden or hang clothes on the line, my big childhood home and tree & porch swings. We lived so far apart from everyone and I didn’t have little girl friends to play with so I played in the dirt, on my swing set, with my dogs and cats, rode my big wheel off our front porch, did that once on a tricycle and lets just say it didn’t end well. I loved the wide open space and not being on top of each other like we are in the city now. In the city if your windows are open you can hear each other cough, sneeze, argue or flush a toilet. I loved the peace and quiet, watching the clouds in the big blue sky whether it from my yard or from the back window of my moms car while she was driving. The stars, oh how I miss the stars while living in the country. I have never been able to see them in the city or anywhere like I did then. We lived 9 miles from town, 18 from hospital & Kroger grocery store and 36 from major shopping area. School system was advanced compared to city and while the country had a few school bullies the city seemed much angrier with cursing and fighting/violence. I live in a high crime area in the city, very sad to see it’s effects. We’ve ranked from #1 to 3 in most dangerous cities the past couple years. I despise the traffic, road rage, hustle bustle, go go go all the time. I much prefer country living. Would it be the same love as an adult as I remember as a child I don’t know but I’d sure give it a go if I could. I used to drive my neighbor crazy in the city because I still hang my clothes on the line in the summer. I love it! Our swings are on gliders now and we still drink our sweet tea. I love to see an old beat up truck because it reminds me of the country and I have an odd fascination for anything John Deere.

  • Bill Will

    After experiencing(listening, observing,and living)at both ends of the spectrum i am undecided which is the best one overall.However when i stop and consider what has driven me most of my life i can see the pros and cons of each as it applies to me.Looking back im glad that ive tried them all except for the huge cities which
    i like to visit and then leave.I am not he type of individual that likes listening,observing,partying and eating as a source of entertainment for extended periods. Active physical and mental participation were my choice for employment,hobby,fun ,education and friendship.I took pieces from each way of living made my life for better or worse.
    In conclusion, looking back i think it would have been ideal for me to have experienced living starting with

  • IWon'tSay

    I prefer the country life. Although it has its downs, its more peaceful. Also, I feel free, because I don’t have to worry about keeping all my possesions/clothes from getting dirty. I actually like working hard for what I want. And, to Fern(the first person to comment here) you must have had a small peek of the country. I am not stuck in my house for weeks when its snows. I don’t have much work to do on my house. I have barely any enemies. I don’t go into town to a buy a pint of milk. I go when I need a little to alot of everything. Last but not least, isn’t mud a primarily what is used in spa’s? You just have to find a way to use it, hun.

  • rachel

    im a 100% city girl. i have lived in new york city and living it here now. i love broadway and cinemas and shopping malls,BTW, u have more opportunities in life to succeed in the city. its not like i dont like the country its just….not suitable for me.and the living standards at the city are way higher, im still in a university but the city is awesome!!!!

  • Jim

    -No privacy
    ±Lots of people (for some people good, others bad)
    -Homeless people/Bums
    +More Jobs
    +More Shopping

    -Few Jobs other than farming
    -Longer commute to city
    +Lower Crime
    +Clean Air
    +Wide-open spaces, lots of privacy
    +Lower cost of living
    -Fewer stores, less selection
    -Fewer employment opportunities

  • I’v permanently lived in the country for two years now having commuted back and forth to a semi in Coventry UK for the five years previously to that. I love it here now but it took me all that five years to get to that stage. It’s quiet but I enjoy the peace instead of the rat race. I miss the bustle, the shops being close by, the short trips to town, cinema etc but I have got used to the fifteen mile trip when I want those things now, I didn’t use them that much anyway. I have lots of friends, I did in the city too but they were too busy to see most of the time, these aren’t they make more effort to be with us because thats how the social life is here,being with people. I don’t miss traffic, road works, fast food etc, I cook more, eat better, walk more, love the birds, animals and stars at night!

  • […] time ago, Miss Minimalist had a post about City Living vs. Country Living, and it got me thinking about having the best of both worlds. I think about this a lot […]

  • Brooke

    I personally am 100% a country girl I’ve lived in a small town 2 hours away from LA I love it in the country everybody always complains about how far it is to the town, but I always just ride one of my 5 horses down to the store to get some food . I’ve lived in the country my whole life on 20 acres Riding horses since I was two.I’ve visted the city serval timesMy opinion of the city is 1 it’s dirty 2 crowded 3 noise4 you can’t ride a horse any where no outdoor space you can’t have chickens and goats when I’m in the city I feel trapped I just really don’t like it

  • Stephanie

    I have lives in small villages, small cities, and then made the move to the country. Spend time in our home and you could literally go days without seeing a car. The stars at night are truly amazing and the tranquility is unparalled. The view is gorgeous. It’s a very quiet private life. We have met wonderful, friendly people. There is absolutely no traffic. Now the negatives: grocery shopping is at least a 30 minute drive as is anything else. There are no shops, restaurants, or entertainment areas to be found. You have to drive your children everywhere. Friends can live as far as 40 minutes away when your children attend a rural school district. I am always in the car. There are no sidewalks and walking on the country roads can be extremely dangerous. There is nowhere for our kids to ride bikes except up and down the road. My sons sports teams require an hour or more travel time to find teams to compete with. My girls are dancers and spent hours per week in the studio, meaning I spend hours per week driving them to the closest studio 30 minutes away. More hours sitting and waiting for them because it’s not worth time to head back home in between. The novelty of the country life has worn off for this family and we are seriously considering moving to a small city. Someone mentioned the low cost of living in the country, while this may because we live in NY, it is not cheap! The amount spent on gas for one, but taxes are outrageous (we pay 10,000 a year for a modest house on less than 3 acres). All goods cost more more due to the lack of competition.

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