1. You are close with your neighbors. It takes 40 minutes to get into town but it only takes 10 minutes to walk down the road. If you moved out there for solitude, you still only want so much. A dinner with neighbors is a weekly occurance.
2. You know the stars. Growing up in the suburbs, there wasn’t much light pollution so I thought what I was looking at in the sky was pretty much what was out there. Nope. When you’re in the middle of nowhere, especially in a mountain landscape, you can see everything so clearly. When the electricity went out in the suburbs, there was still random light from things– in the country it was a kind of blackness I’d never experienced before. Everything was more intense.
3. You make your own music. I would never sing walking down my block in Minneapolis. People can hear me and I suck at it. But when you know you’re completely alone outside, there’s no sense of embarrassment. Also, all the neighbors I did have seemed to be very musical, so gatherings always included covers of songs we grew up with, sung by the entire group.
4. There are more hours in the day. Every day seems like it’s midnight before I know it. They are packed with so much interaction and work and internet checking that I’ve started staying up later so that I can work after the hours people are around to text or chat. Even though in the digital age it’s just a physical distance from people and you’re still technologically connected, being out on your own gives you more time because you aren’t caught up in the hustle and bustle. I believe that natural beauty gives you perspective and it’s easier to stay the course on what is important to you.
5. The food is so, SO good. You can’t just go to the drive thru if you don’t feel like cooking, and it’s not practical to lug a bunch of processed food home from the grocer’s (because it takes up too much room and every trip to town at that distance is a bulk trip). Your food is hearty and your meals are nurturing.
6. You learn how to fix things. Because it’s REALLY expensive to get a handyman out to your house. However, your neighbor may be willing to take a look in exchange for a nice meal (see above).
7. Snow is a lot more difficult. There’s no plows, let’s consider that right away. Your driveway is longer and there’s no one to pay to come plow it. You’ll be shoveling or working your 4-wheeler a lot. I heard at the first snow this year that a guy up north put 20 miles on his ATV just plowing his driveway. You have to plan ahead to deal with the elements, and deal with them yourself rather than farming it out to civil servants.
8. You’re more sensitive to noise. You’re used to quiet nights. There’s animal sounds, sure, but it’s nothing like the fragmented conversations, honking, car alarms, and passerbys you hear when you live in a populated area. You might even start to get headaches when you’re visiting people because you simply aren’t used to constant noise.
9. You read more books. Blame it on the fresh air, it inspires you to want to be better.
10. You’ll grow faster. Being alone makes you more reflective. Living in the middle of nowhere makes you come up with your own stimuli, which turn out to be internal more often than not. You’ll figure things out about yourself–what you like and dislike, why it is that you hate or love certain things, what values you hold, and what you want in life. There’s a reason Thoreau did his best thinking at Walden Pond, with less distractions, focusing on the important things is easier.