Note: Sorry for the delay in posting, our internet was out of service since Friday morning. Ironically, related to the piece below.
Living in a big city offers lots to do, lots to see and lots to hear. For people who are fans of culture, restaurants and night life, there’s nothing better. Want to go see a play? Long for a gourmet dinner? A live concert? All these are available seven days a week.
But all those amenities come at a cost. So says National Public Radio in a feature this week on “Are Big Cities Overrated?
Most housing in the big city is built vertically rather than horizontally. When I lived in the city of San Francisco, a small studio apartment cost me half a month’s income. The great tragedy of my foray into city living was that I couldn’t afford any culture. The cost of city living depleted me of the ability to eat out or go to clubs or sporting events.
One day, as I sipped coffee, I looked at real estate listings for my neighborhood. I realized that my tiny studio would cost well over $300,000. I had no savings. I would never be able to buy a place of my own. That was the day I traded in my city living for rural living by moving to the mountains of the Sierra Nevada.
Maybe it’s not so much that big city living is overrated, but that rural living is underrated. The benefits of rural living are many. A house in remote parts of Colorado will cost you far less than a condo in Lower Downton of Denver. In addition to your 3 bedrooms, you’ll probably get a fair amount of land with your purchase.
Ever gotten a good look at Denver in summertime? The smog hangs over the city, and hot days can bring unhealthy air quality. Get away from metropolitan areas, and you’ll have a lot cleaner air to breathe.
I find rural living not only saves me money, but leads me to lead a healthier life. Instead of eating out, consuming too much French fries, I tend to cook more. Making summer salads, grilling fish or chicken is better for my heart.
Probably the greatest benefit I find living in our mountain home is the access to recreation. I love the fact, that we can just walk out our door and find a Forest Service trail to go for an evening walk. Want something more challenging? The many trails of the Indian Peaks Wilderness are a mere 15 minutes away. My friends from Denver have get up in the wee hours of the morning and drive more than an hour to experience wilderness.
Studies have shown the benefits of connecting with nature on a regular basis. Even being able to see trees and birds outside your window can increase mental health. Rural areas offer this room with a view each and every day. No special trip to the city park required to get your dose of greenery.
One of my biggest motivations of buying my first home out in the country was my desire to adopt a dog. I wanted to have a yard to throw ball with him. Places to walk to with my dog with trails to roam. Though I know people do it, I can’t imagine having a dog in a high-rise apartment, where I would have to take an elevator up and down just to get to a fire hydrant he could pee on.
Is city living overrated? I guess if you have lots of money and want access to “culture”, maybe not. But if you want to have money in your pocketbook, and experience the wonder of nature each and every day, maybe the country is for you.