Ruralpolitans: Giving Up Urban Life for the Sticks

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Can you imagine swapping your cute shoe collection for a few pairs of work boots, giving up weekly nights out with the girls to shovel manure and mend fences, or foregoing frequent trips to your favorite take-out restaurant in favor of making all of your own meals? Trading Sex in the City for Little House on the Prairie might seem extreme and even frightening, but “˜ruralpolitans’ tend to think the benefits outweigh the sacrifices.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported the increasing ranks of city and town dwellers that are moving their families to the countryside. Sure, they’re giving up a long list of perks that come with city living – like public transportation, walkability, nightlife, shopping and diverse cultural experiences.

But with a shaky job market and no guarantees, the peace and security of living the simple life on your own piece of land can be awfully alluring – hence the new generation of surprisingly young urban refugees aiming for rural self-sufficiency.

“Most of these kids say they’ve just saved and want to put their money someplace that won’t go away,” Montana real estate agent Tom VanHoose told WSJ. “They see General Motors go down and AIG go down and they are asking, ‘Gee, can my company go down?’ There’s a lot of angst and anxiety.”

Considering that land in some areas of the country costs as little as $1,000 an acre and off-grid green homes can be built for a pittance, it’s possible to be debt-free and have extremely low living expenses when you own your own land. And you don’t necessarily have to become a farmer, depending on your crops for your income – access to high-speed internet makes it possible for people to keep their jobs and telecommute while hobby-farming or raising just enough food for themselves.

It’s not for everyone – nor should it be, considering that high demand for a rural farming lifestyle could encourage sprawl. But it also might be more possible than you think, even if you’re an unmarried city chick who’s never planted a seed in her life: many “˜ruralpolitans’ are single, and femivorism is an intriguing new trend as well. Or, perhaps you could have the best of both worlds with an urban homestead a la the Dervaes family’s “˜Path to Freedom’ house in Pasadena.

So, could you become a “˜ruralpolitan’? Do you think keeping your own chickens, growing your own food and raising your kids on a farm would be worth it? What would you miss most about urban life?

Image: hipiotix

Stephanie Rogers

Stephanie Rogers currently resides in North Carolina where she covers a variety of green topics, from sustainability to food.