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Just_Justine's avatar

Did you ever live in a city and manage to escape?

Asked by Just_Justine (6486points) March 18th, 2010

I guess I am tired of queues, fumes, traffic, forced intimacy with piled high apartment living. I am sick to death of it all. I yearn to escape to the country. Have any of you felt this and achieved it? How did you manage to pull it off? I am looking for a way out of the rat race.

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39 Answers

elenuial's avatar

I like cities. It’s where the people are. I like people. :)

I have quite a bit of family that lives out in the country, though. My brother is probably going to live in a hut in the woods somewhere (I prefer plumbing, thanks). I think if I ever wanted to move away from a city, having that family there would be a big help.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I live in NYC and absolutely love it here. It frightens me even thinking about living anywhere else – why would I leave a place that everyone (except you, :)) wants to come to? I don’t mind spending some time in the ‘country’ with nature and all that but I love the feeling I get when I’m in Manhattan too much – like I am amongst those I can speak to, can relate to. What people believe in and support matters to me and being plugged into activism and the community matters to me. I can see taking a summer to live elsewhere but I would either have to be removed from the kind of thinking that sometimes goes with people that avoid the city (remember I said sometimes) completely or live with like-minded individuals in Simone’s Utopia. And read all of this with the knowledge that I am a village ‘girl’ (not Greenwich, but tiny Russian) and I am fully capable of farming, interacting with animals, knowing my way around woods, etc.

Val123's avatar

Yep, if you can count Wichita Kansas as a city! I moved 14 years ago to a small town, and I’m MUCH happier here.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I’ve always managed to “avoid”. I like the suburbs, the country, the beach (if not too crowded), and the mountains.

noyesa's avatar

If urbanism is killing you, then your solution is probably good urbanism, not nature. The biggest problem with suburbanization is that it clings to the idea that the cure for the industrial city is nature and that we need to escape to a more natural, rustic setting to be civilized beings in a wholesome environment. I think this sentiment is shared by a lot of depressed city dwellers. If urbanism isn’t for me, then it must be nature, and I won’t feel cornered in nature.

That said, escaping to the countryside isn’t a bad thing either! I simply decided to escape. Me and my girlfriend will go on weekend trips to some small coastal towns and such.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@noyesa That’s an interesting perspective – and some people have found a balance between the two. We like Brooklyn, it’s quieter here and calmer but when we need to immerse ourselves in learning new things, we’re just at rain ride away from the city.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Bred and born a country boy. I love green, mountians and lakes, hate city buildings, and don’t even mind the occassional encounter with coyotes. What chance do you think I’d have in Manhattan?

elenuial's avatar

@noyesa Suburbanism takes the worst of city life and the worst of rural life and makes a true hell on earth wrapped in smiles and marketing telling us that it’s ideal. They’re bad for the economy and the environment. I really really really dislike suburbs, and rue all the foolish civic “planning” that created them.

ucme's avatar

I wish.Always entertained thoughts of having a cottage in the country someday.One day it will be mine, oh yes it will be mine.

marinelife's avatar

If you can make a living at a job that can be done anywhere (via telecommuting). If you can make a living at a job that is needed anywhere—even in rural areas (nurse, lawyer, etc.).

You can get a weekend place in the country,

noyesa's avatar

@elenuial Suburbs aren’t only the worst living experience possible, but they’re the most inefficient and unjust living arrangement conceivable. Honestly, it isn’t even conceivable since it doesn’t exist without massive and unjustifiable subsidy by the US government through cheap oil importation costs and the construction and maintenance of the massive US freeway system, which is the spine of most people’s daily life. People have mistaken the American dream for having a house in the suburbs with a car, which has become a symbol of freedom in this country. It promises quaint rural life with the convenience of the city, and in effect brings nothing more than all of the negatives of city living: pollution, congestion, high cost of living; and brings with it none of the conveniences, only marketable because everyone believes they’re escaping to their rustic cottage retreat in the countryside after earning their keep in the city. It is a delusion.

fireside's avatar

NYC was fun and all, but I’ll take a city of one million over a city of eight million any day.

The key for me was being willing to live one less than I was making in the city for about a year. That allowed me to find a job that paid less than I would expect to get in Manhattan and prove how valuable I was to the company.

If you are a good worker, the pay increases come naturally.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@marinelife What if you have kids, though and the weekends are the only time when the whole family can get together? There’s so much for our kids here and though it’d be nice to occasionally take them camping (and we plan on it), would it still be worth the money, you think?

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@noyesa… speaking of delusions, enjoy all of yours.

elenuial's avatar

@noyesa Let’s not forget all the ridiculous lobbying by the auto industry to foul up any decent public transit system in most of the cities in the US. I mean, San Francisco’s cable cars actually worked beautifully and were incredibly efficient for a while before automotive engineers screwed the pooch.

Skippy's avatar

YES,,,17 years ago we took a drive out in the country, about 30 minutes west of the city. We found a piece of land and walked it. The views were wonderful, and the air was clear, a nice breeze, and we know that was where we needed to be.
We bought the land, and over that next year, built our house. It was the best decision we ever made. We are 5 miles to the interstate in one direction, 4 miles to the local town, grocery etc, and another interstate, both meeting in the middle and leading into the big city.

The kids became “country boys” and still have the cultural exposure necessary to raise well rounded humans!

Just far enough away there are no city lights, and close enough that we’re still able to participate in everything the city has to offer. Just the drive home late at night is tiring, since the interstate in our area has no street lights until you get to the exits which are several miles apart.

wundayatta's avatar

I lived in the country, and managed to escape. I had no idea I needed to escape, and I thought that New York was the last city on earth I’d end up in. It was polluted and crowded and dangerous, I thought. Imagine my surprise when I moved there after college and loved it! Although, like @Simone_De_Beauvoir, I lived in Brooklyn, because, as I always said, “In Brooklyn, you can see the sky!”

My brother still lives there, and my sister has lived either in Tokyo or Beijing since college. I now live in Philly.

I like Philly because it is a big city with a small town feel. My first week living here I started running into people I knew in other parts of the city. I did not ever run into a single person from my neighborhood anywhere else in the city during the four years I lived in NYC.

Cities, of course, are the most efficient way for people to live. They are the least resource intensive way to live. They are the most environmentally friendly way to live.

I think I would be bored to tears in the country. Would they even have heard of jazz out there? Do they know any kind of dancing besides Contra? Ok, I exaggerate—I’m being mean—but it is much harder to find such stuff going on in the sticks, and it happens all the time in the city.

And a decent cup of coffee or a good bagel? Forget lox. Forget fresh fish. How about the Vietnamese, Cambodian, Thai, Indian, Chinese and American style restaurants I have that are all less than three blocks away from me?

The country is nice. Quiet is nice (although I’ll never sleep in it again due to my CPAP machine). I’d love to sleep near a brook or an ocean. I’d love to be able to step out my back door and go skiing into the woods. I’ve love to have wonderful back roads to ride my bike on. But the countries charms are also its banes. Quiet means no people. No people means loneliness and boredom (to me). It’s not for me—except in small doses.

liminal's avatar

I feel most myself when I am immersed in nature, but I want to be more than myself so I live in an urban environment.

I don’t think of the country or suburbia as nature, to me, it is still a developed civilization only it offers a different sort of living than a metropolis.

When I think of getting away I am wanting to get away from developed and planned out living. I want to be free of constructs, information, and store houses.

I want to walk naked in the moonlight. I want the brilliance of sunlight on water to invite me into a world beyond order. I adore disappearing into the blanket of stars and the loudness of silence that industrialized and farmed communities may block out.

I’ve learned to find the stillness of nature in planned environments and I appreciate the daily nature fixes they offer. I thank all you environmentally aware developers who understand such need. While I adore and realize the benefit of developed community life, I will always long for trees, water, fields, and mountains that remain untouched.

It is enough for me to meet my longing several times a year through canoeing, kayaking, hiking, backpacking, and cycling. I am fortunate to live in walking distance of Lake Michigan, I think it keeps me sane.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I’ve lived in both. I can adapt to either… I don’t think about escaping the city in a permanent sense – as I would stagnate elsewhere.

lilikoi's avatar

I’ve lived in both and each has it’s pros and cons. I grew up in the “country”, so it is what I naturally prefer. However, there are a couple of things I like about cities – the wide selection of eateries at all hours of the night, and the conversation with well educated folk. In the “country”, both can be scarce.

But I hear you. I am in the same position myself. I’d like to move to a rural place, but there aren’t any decent paying jobs out there. If you aren’t wealthy, I think the surest best to rural living is to obtain a wide variety of marketable skills – like trades, sales, etc. – things that are common in rural areas and make a living doing more than one thing. I see a lot of people doing that. Other people make their wealth in a city, then quit their jobs and move. But I’m not sure if that is what’s holding you back or if it is something else?

Berserker's avatar

I love big cities. Nevertheless, we all need a break sometimes. I have no money or means to get away from anything, which is why I am fond of tranquil river shores or small woods. They at least emulate peace, in a way, even if you always hear the drone of traffic somewhere.

On the other hand, while I am slightly introverted and reserved, I couldn’t live in a desolate, small country place. I like the life of a big city, and right now I feel pretty depressed in this small town that I live in. :/

semblance's avatar

Yes. We live on 120 acres in the middle of nowhere.

To pull it off you need to be in a profession or some type of business where you can work long distance via computers, Internet, etc.

Or be independently wealthy.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I live in a midsize midwest/upper south city and live in town. All the pollution, traffic jams, etc. is the throngs heading out to the burbs. Me, I can walk to coffee shops, the grocery, book stores, music, restaurants. My grocery even delivers. I’m an easy 12 minutes to the airport. My neighbors talk to me. There’s a thriving arts scene, gorgeous city park within walking distance, most of my neighbors are college educated. What else could I want?

Coloma's avatar

I have ‘managed’ this lifestyle for many years now, single for 7.
I have the best of both worlds.
Live on 5 acres in the Sierra foothills but am only 20 minutes from 2 local towns and 35–50 from the major city where I work.

I love my space, peace and privacy, keys in the car at all times, NEVER lock my house, don’t even know where my house keys are! lol

I have friends come visit from different big cities and they are always stunned that I never lock my house.

I just returned from 2 weeks out of the country and everything was wide open for neighbors to come take care of things.

I do have a gate across my driveway that I close on rare occasion, mostly when I let my animals out in the yard. NOT because of traffic..there is none, I am one of 3 houses on a deadend road spread out over about 30 acres total.

I LOVE this lifestyle!

Doors & windows open all night in the summer, never a fear or a worry.

Peace at it’s finest!

I loved being in the high energy of Taipei city but coming home is always where it’s at!

Whenever I am coming home out of the city my heart just sings! :-)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Alex and I were further discussing this q on the train coming home today and I said that it makes sense to want to escape the city when it’s not a city you don’t like. It’s like this: you gotta love your city like I love New York, it has to feed you energy, it has to excite you. If your city’s full of noise and pollution and obnoxious people and it does nothing for you, then being in nature is by FAR the best solution to that.

jazmina88's avatar

I escape to my home paradise. quiet peace within….surburbia where dogs walk their people, everybody waves, the dog and the fireplace. zen rocks.

YARNLADY's avatar

I live in a very nice suburb of a large city, and it is exactly what I always wanted.

Just_Justine's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir thanks for thinking of my question further it’s an odd thought, some people chatting about my question in NYC, its kind of surreal loll. You are right. I wont play the “but I cant game” I just feel I cant move because of my job you know? and my age bah! You have a good point though. Cape Town is fantastic a lot of my friends left for there and are inspired. I have a thought now, for a new question :) thanks again. (I still hanker for a shack in the woods though).

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Just_Justine Oh definitely, when the fluther questions are good, they stay with me for a while – we always discuss some topics outside and I think about many of my statements over and want to add more.

Val123's avatar

I’ve never been to NYC. I want to go, though

downtide's avatar

I escaped TO the city FROM the bleak, empty, no-job-prospects, no-public-transport, nothing-to-do countryside. I wouldn’t go back, not for anything.

Val123's avatar

@downtide If I may…how old are you?

downtide's avatar

I’m 43 now. I moved to the city when I was 20. Prospects where I came from are even worse now than they were 23 years ago.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I lived in Cincinnati, Ohio for a couple of years. I hated it! I “escaped” when I left GE and went to work for Exxon. : )

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@CaptainHarley Now that’s a city you would need to escape. Love the Bengals though.

CaptainHarley's avatar


LOL! Been there, have ya? : )

CaptainHarley's avatar


I don’t blame ya! : D

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