Country living is becoming more and more attractive for many city folks. Media and misconceptions paint the lifestyle as easy to adjust to. The reality, however, is that rural, small-town, mountain living is not for the faint of heart. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in the country. I believe it is important to educate this community on all aspects of rural living, not just the highlights. Before you make the move, take my advice and brush up these “old fashioned” skills.
Know how to light a fire.
TV shows do a really good job of making this look easy. Having a wood-burning stove isn’t as romantic as it’s made out to be. It’s a messy, smelly science with a risk of injury. Kindling is my go-to trick. After a few failed attempts, you’ll figure out your own go-to method for starting a fire.
You must be able to live off the grid for periods of time.
Yes, I know how surprising this sounds in the twenty-first century. The grid still hasn’t quite figured out how to work in the country. Between power outages, natural disasters, and grid flaws, modern amenities aren’t always available. High-speed internet is really slow internet. Two-day shipping is five-day shipping. Cell service comes and goes. And the power, well, that depends on everyone staying on the road, the weather, and a bunch of other unknown factors.
Know how to cook.
Sure we have local restaurants—with a few catches. There is no fast food or delivery within 23 miles of my hometown. Eating out has a high price tag. Wait times can be anywhere from five minutes to hours, depending on tourism. Just learn to cook on YouTube. You can thank me later.
You must know how to plan ahead.
Absolutely nothing is a quick trip. Going to the store or running errands are well-thought-out trips to the city. The quicker you learn to make lists and use a calendar, the more time you will have.
Know how to drive in the snow.
The San Diego backcountry can get enough snow to stop you in your tracks if you are unprepared. Driving in the snow is a learned skill. Tip: if you can see the asphalt, you do not need chains.
Be okay with killing animals.
There’s no way to sugar-coat this one. The likelihood of you killing an animal is high. From animal infestations in your house to hitting animals on the road, living among nature is more than just being surrounded by trees.