Are you a City Person or A Country Person?
For years I wondered if I was a ‘country’ person or a ‘city’ person. Do you ask yourself that, too? Back before Garrett and I made the leap from urban Seattle to our country Farmhouse (more on that here and here), I would take every online quiz I could find and google things like “do I belong in the country?”. Ha!
Well 3 years of country-living later (and 12+ years of city-living before that), I think I finally know which kind of person I am. But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, I wanted to share all of our favorite and least-favorite things about country living and city living, too. So you can skip the online quizzes and get a real sense of what’s it like to live in both places 😉
When Garrett and I made the switch to country living 3 years ago, we were a little burnt out of the city. We were burnt out of our jobs, of school, of moving every year. We were ready for a change of pace. So when we saw an old Farmhouse just outside of our hometown (Ellensburg, WA) pop up on Redfin, we packed up the kids and headed for the country. Here’s what we love about living in the country:
A Wilder Childhood - the country provides a quieter, more spacious, and wilder setting to grow up. Every day we send our kids outside to explore and play. Sometimes we go with them, but often times we don’t. Our kids basically spent last summer up in their treehouse making up games and worlds of their own, catching frogs in the pond, exploring our property, and breathing in all that fresh, country air. It’s exactly the kind of childhood we wished for them.
Community - a big draw for us moving back to our hometown was the community we felt here. Not only do we have a lot of family in Ellensburg, but many of the people we grew up with have moved back. And that history creates a close-knit community with deep roots and tight bonds. I’m sure not all people that live in the country get to experience this, but we’re so thankful we do!
Outdoor Space - We spend way more time outside now that we live in the country. Our Farmhouse sits on 3 acres which leaves us plenty of room for a garden and a pond and trees and space for a soccer game in the evening. Being outside is just part of the culture around here. We often meet up with friends to mountain bike, run, hike, camp, or play in a mountain stream.
Less Expensive - We save a lot of money by living in the country! You can read how in this post.
Local Food - we eat more local produce and meat than ever now that we live in the country. Not only do we have the room to keep a garden, but we have ranching friends that give us beef and 4H kids that we buy a pig from every year. I can’t tell you what a luxury fresh, local food is!
The Pace - Things move slower in the country. There’s none of that hustle and anxiety you feel in the city. No one honks at you if you go 20mph under the speed limit. Road rage isn’t a thing. Traffic jams around here usually involve a tractor heading down the road rather than masses of commuters heading home. The slower pace makes me a kinder and happier person and I love that my kids are getting to experience that too.
Our Farmhouse, garden and master bedroom
Driving Everywhere - we drive 95% of the time (we’ll occasionally bike or run). Simple tasks like dropping off a kid at school, grabbing a gallon of milk, or going to soccer practice means getting in the car and driving the 10 miles to town. We do it almost every day, often multiple times (especially during the school season when the kids are in sports).
Predators - Yes, you read that right….predators. Animals like bobcats, raccoons, and hawks have killed almost all of our chickens. And the threat of cougars is real in our area (although very rare). Actually a big reason we brought Gibbs home was to help scare away those predatory animals.
More Work - 3 acres means a lot of time spent mowing/weeding/maintaining our property. We’ve been diligent about keeping landscaping as low-maintenance as possible (and successfully killed our grass this year during the kitchen remodel), but caring for our property is A LOT more work than it was in the city.
Restaurants - while our small town does have lots of good eateries, there’s just not the selection of amazing food that Seattle had. Especially kid-friendly places that are good and reasonably priced. Plus now that eating out requires a trip into town, we’re much less likely to do it. Garrett and I both miss eating out (but our wallets don’t).
Delivery - there is not a single pizza joint that will deliver to our house. There’s no Uber Eats or grocery delivery or Amazon same day (you’re lucky to get Prime in 2 days). GE wouldn’t even deliver our microwave oven to our house (we had to ship it to our Seattle Airbnb).
Garrett and I spent 12+ years in Seattle during our 20’s and the first half of our 30’s. We had both of our boys there and moved around a lot between 2 rentals and 4 home purchases. We lived in neighborhoods like First Hill and Wallingford and the busy edge of Lake Union. And it was such a fun time in our lives! Here’s what we love about city living:
The Dexter House (now an Airbnb)
THE FOOD! - that definitely deserves all caps! Seattle is a wealth of amazing restaurants and breweries. And oh my, the fancy grocery stores! I’m missing them just thinking about them.
Ditching the Car - Garrett and I LOVE to walk/run/bike/bus around Seattle! You can basically get anywhere without a car and it’s freeing. At our last house, I could even commute on foot the 3 miles home from work every day (I’d run with a backpack).
Access to Everything - I’m talking about salvage stores, parks, museums, jobs, clothes stores, world-class healthcare, the symphony, different cultures... It’s all close at hand in the city.
Energy - the pulse and energy that comes with a city is one of Garrett’s favorite things about living in Seattle. There’s action and ideas and lots happening. I’m not sure this would be a positive for everyone, but it is for us.
Activities - the city is rich with activities for kids and adults. Want to take a class on making cheese? There’s one! Want to sign up your kid for rock climbing? That’s an option too. Go to the ballet. Play at a water park. Walk through blown-glass sculptures. Get the kids’ wiggles out at a bouncy house. There’s no shortage of activities (both free and paid) in the city!
The Dexter House, entry and the view from the backyard
The TRAFFIC - I think most city-dwellers would put this high on their list of dislikes. Sitting in traffic is about the most frustrating thing on the planet (and one of the worst things for the planet too). And having to plan your day around traffic is almost just as frustrating.
Expensive - The city is an expensive place to live. Housing, groceries, childcare, parking…it adds up quick! In Seattle it’s become all but impossible to buy a house with the sky-high prices. It makes the city a tough place to get ahead.
Living a Few Feet Away From Your Neighbors - in Seattle’s urban residential neighborhoods, it’s not uncommon to live a mere feet from your neighbors. It’s definitely efficient, but there’s a lack of privacy that can be frustrating.
Competition and Crowds - sometimes it can feel like you have to elbow your way through the city. There’s always people competing for the same thing. Whether it’s a job, a house, a turn on the swing-set, or a good seat at the movie theater, there are just so many more people in the city.
Isolating - despite being surrounded by people, a city can feel isolating. It’s hard to carve out a niche for yourself in such a big place.
Anything you’d add to the list?
And if you’re wondering if I’m a ‘city’ person or a ‘country’ person…well I have to say both! Maybe 60% country, 40% city. At least right now, at this stage in life. And Garrett is a bit of both, too, although he leans towards ‘city’ more.
What about you? Are you a ‘city’ person or a ‘country’ person or somewhere in-between?