Updated: Dec 29, 2020
Growing up in a red, white, and blue town is an experience I will forever be grateful for. While all 35 of my classmates hated it, I loved it! Don't believe me? My senior year I got voted "most likely to stay in Julian." I was not your typical nerdy geek who could recite the textbook. I was the class geek in the sense that I could be your personal tour guide and assistant for Julian (my hometown).
This life isn't for everyone. That's totally okay. For those thinking small-town life is for you, I want to help you acclimate. As you consider embracing the small-town lifestyle, here are 16 things you should seriously consider before you move to a small-town, like my hometown of Julian, CA.
1. We are old fashioned on purpose.
You will notice this as a common theme throughout this post and other posts I have written on small-town life so I don't want to be too repetitive. I'm not saying you have to go completely off the grid and be a completely self-sufficient homesteader. In general, people who live in small-towns are friendly to people who walk by, we eat more homecooked meals, are active in the community, and tend to do things more on the traditional side.
The farther you get away from the city the more you can expect the weather to impact your life. This is especially pertinent to mountain communities where all the seasons are experienced. Those of us living in regions like this are prepared for snowy days, rainy days, windy days, foggy days, muggy days, cold and hot days. I personally love getting a taste of all four seasons. It really brings a storybook-like feel to your life. For some though, this can be a bit tough to become accustomed too. From preparing your home to brace for the weather to learning how to drive in less than ideal changes, and having to adjust your wardrobe it will take newcomers some to get used to this lifestyle change.
In the city, the animals have to learn to live among humans. In the backcountry, we live among wildlife. The skunks aren't afraid to throw a stink bomb on your day. The moths will invite themselves any time they get the chance. Just about every local has stepped (or almost stepped) on a snake. You'll have to evict the ants multiple times a year. The deer will eat you out of house and home. The spiders overstay their welcome. The mountain lions will drink from your birdbath. Don't worry, I'm only half-joking. Point is, when you live in nature, you have to coexist with nature. Honestly, there’s nothing more magical than seeing a deer out your window or hearing the birds sing. I just want you to be aware of this adjustment going into the move so you can be prepared and not caught off guard.
4. Conveniences (or should I say the lack thereof?)
You can't always just run to the store when you need something. There’s no hardware, office supply, feed, department, or drug stores within 23 miles of my town. When you need something you have four options:
1. Ask your neighbor.
2. Hope one of the local markets has what you need.
3. Live without until you go down the hill next.
4. Drive a half-hour or more to the store.
Oh, did I mention my town closes down by 5:00 every night? Don't worry, you'll get the hang of it at some point.