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Moving From a Big City to a Small Town

Moving From a Big City to a Small Town

Alex and I have lived in New York for two decades, but we still daydream about moving to a small town. I’m always fascinated by how different daily life might be and what we’d miss and what we’d love. So! I spoke to nine women who moved from big cities to smaller places, and here’s what they revealed…

Why did you decide to move from a big city to a smaller city or town?

“We were looking for a simpler life. At ‘Mommy and Me’ classes, other moms were already talking about putting their babies on waiting lists for preschools and what schools were the best. It all seemed defeating and competitive.” — Carrie, Chicago to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

“Living in Seattle was starting to wear on me. I had a difficult time with the weather and experienced terrible seasonal affective disorder. The increased cost of living also caused me stress. It was important to me to buy a place and I knew that would never happen there.” — Lauren, Seattle to Santa Fe

“We felt like every extra minute we spent commuting or working was taking away from time with our family. Money was not an insignificant factor, and we realized that staying in the city meant more work hours.” — Alyssa, Boston to Brunswick, Maine

2) What do you like about living in a smaller town?

“The town feels like a 1980’s John Hughes movie. We have a 4th of July parade, ice cream socials, and a Halloween festival. Kids walk or ride their bikes to school, and I love falling asleep on summer nights to cicadas. Oh, and parking lots! I could have thrown my arms and twirled around like Julie Andrews in Sound of Music when I first pulled into one.” — Carrie, Chicago to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

“Moving to the island has forced us to slow down. We see our friends not because we make actual plans but because there is only one beach, one brewery and one park. We run into someone on the way out of the grocery store and, because we have no plans, walk to the park with them for a play date. It’s as if moving to the island has put a sense of spontaneity back in our lives.” — Christina, Seattle to Vashon Island, Washington

“I like that when my GPS says it’s going to take me 10 minutes to get to the grocery store, it doesn’t actually take 45 minutes because of unexpected construction and/or one-ways that weren’t there before!” — Alyssa, Boston to Brunswick, Maine

“I value the lack of decision fatigue. Want to try that hip new restaurant that just opened? Great! There’s only one in town. In D.C., I felt guilty about all the things I wasn’t doing. I was constantly living in a state of FOMO, and I never visited all the Smithsonian museums.” — Michele, Washington, D.C. to Rochester, Minnesota

“My commute has gone from an hour and a half each way to ten minutes. Instead of getting home at 7 each night, we are both home by 5:30 and have the entire evening together as a family. When the weather is nice, this means beach dinner picnics or evening bike rides. Life just feels more manageable and we have the gift of time.” — Robyn, Chicago to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

3) What is hard about living in a smaller town?

“I learned I was spoiled growing up in Vegas. Most places are open 24 hours a day, and if I wanted Thai food at 1 a.m., I got it. In Rexburg, I have to plan my Target trips in advance because it’s a 45-minute drive each way.” — Jinny, Las Vegas to Rexburg, Idaho

“We lack the abundance of choices of activities for our son, doctors’ offices, gyms, etc. that we had access to around the city. We’ve had to settle on a few things that might not necessarily be our top picks.” — Alyssa, Boston to Brunswick, Maine

“The lack of diversity. I’m Peruvian-American, and back in D.C., the community was big and inclusive. But in Rochester, I’ve found a lack of a bigger Peruvian community difficult for myself and my family. I often struggle with if my children are ‘Peruvian enough.'” — Michele, Washington, D.C. to Rochester, Minnesota

“I definitely put pressure on myself to recreate a friend community like I had in Chicago. I’m learning to be more gentle with myself and remember that it takes time to feel truly at home.” — Robyn, Chicago to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

4) What do you miss about the big city?

“It can be hard to hear about a fantastic Broadway play or a cool new restaurant opening and know I have to miss out.” — Tovah, NYC to Charlottesville, Virginia

“There was a certain clout that I felt walking around the city and knowing that I belonged there. We still visit often and I feel a little bit like an outsider. We recently took a trip back and when we checked into our hotel the concierge asked where we were visiting from. I said, ‘We live in Maine but we used to live here!’ I don’t know why I felt the need to say that.” — Alyssa, Boston to Brunswick, Maine

“I miss the diversity of ethnic grocers and vibrant cultures.” — Amy, Los Angeles to Bend, Oregon

“The take out is limited. It’s basically pizza.” — Carrie, Chicago to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

5) What is the community like in the smaller town?

“We moved to Idaho with our three-month-old baby in tow. After an exhausting 12-hour drive, we had a large moving truck to unload, by ourselves, with a baby. This was simply too much for me. I headed to Taco Bell to pick up lunch and figured we’d unload the truck when I got back. I came back 20 minutes later to an empty moving truck! While I was gone, all of our neighbors had come out of their apartments and helped my husband unload the entire truck. One woman even brought us vegetables from her garden.” — Jinny, Las Vegas to Rexburg, Idaho

“Our apartment complex was full of newlyweds and young families. Game nights and shared family dinners happened a few nights a week. There was even a Facebook page where people posted if they were giving away a stroller or if they needed babysitting. I once posted because I needed an onion for dinner and seven people responded offering me onions!” — Jinny, Las Vegas to Rexburg, Idaho

“The first thing I noticed is how nice strangers are. At the local grocery store, people walking by smile, give eye contact and say ‘hi.’ It actually caught me off guard. My ‘hi’ back was always delayed. I’ve been surprised by how easy it has been to make friends.” — Carrie, Chicago to Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin

“Friendly and warm. We moved to Charlottesville exactly one month before neo-Nazis and white supremacists rallied here, traumatizing the town. Afterwards, from other white residents, we would hear things like, ‘That is not Charlottesville, that hatred absolutely does not represent our town.’ But from African Americans, the response was a bit more like, ‘Yes, but…’ The silver lining has been the opportunity to examine the legacy of systemic racism that a large swath of the liberal, white community (including myself) was unaware of or ignoring, that may not have been addressed otherwise. It has been humbling and inspiring to watch this community repair bonds and try to improve living conditions here for everyone. There is much work still to be done, but the people here are fantastic.” — Tovah, NYC to Charlottesville, Virginia

“The community here has amazed me. I found it so difficult to make friends in Seattle. The ‘Seattle freeze’ is very much a thing! I find people here much friendlier. I feel like I’m a part of the community here and I’ve never felt that way before.” — Lauren, Seattle to Santa Fe

“I’ve made some incredibly close friendships, especially with a few women who also commute by ferry to work. On Thursdays, we have what we call ‘boat parties.’ Someone brings candy, and someone brings a can of wine that we all divvy up between our coffee mugs. We laugh about what are kids are up to, we complain about work, we cry about hard things.” — Christina, Seattle to Vashon Island, Washington

“When someone faces a hardship, people come to their aid with meals, babysitting, and assistance. For example, there was a devastating fire at a local farm. The community threw a potluck fundraiser to help the farm rebuild. As we watched a local band play in the Agricultural Hall surrounded by community members from all generations and walks of life, our children ran outside with new friends, and I felt incredibly blessed to be a part of this community.” — Robyn, Chicago to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts

“It’s like Simplicity Parenting says — when you have too many toys, you don’t play deeply with any. When you live in a small town, you make deep connections with your community. You know that feeling when you have a local restaurant and the owners know your name? Living in a small town is that feeling, (almost) all the time.” — Michele, Washington, D.C. to Rochester, Minnesota

Where do you live? Do you live in a big city or small town? Have you lived in both? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

P.S. Where do you live, and where do you want to raise kids?

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow.)

  1. Donna S. says...

    I believe that any thing, any place and any business…is only as good as the people who make up that thing, place or business. We are responsible for our own actions and we are responsible to stand up for what we believe in. “Stand for something – or fall for anything”. I was raised in Denver, moved to Ca at age of 36 (smaller town), and now, at one month from 70…am in the smallest town I have ever seen. There’s nothing wrong with that – a town of only +30,000, but business is done a little differently in my opinion. OK, in my opinion, until your town, city or business has a good mix of people, places and ideas…your town will be stalemated-forever.
    Growing up is hard to do.

  2. Jenny says...

    I was born and raised on Vashon Island, and do agree with Christina that living there forces you to slow down. If you miss one ferry, you have no choice but to wait for the next one, and you truly can’t go to the grocery store without running into someone you know! There were definitely some down sides, and it’s becoming more and more popular every year, but visiting family who still live there became my escape when I lived in Seattle and now that I’m in London, I’m counting down the days until my next trip home.

  3. My husband and I decided to move to a small community from the city after I read a Cup of Jo article that planted a seed of thought in my brain a few years ago (it was called A Pink House Surrounded by Cows). We moved from a 720 sq ft condo with almost no windows in Vancouver, BC, Canada (one of the most expensive places to buy property in the world!) to a sprawling 2400 sq ft rancher on almost half an acre on the Sunshine Coast, BC – only 35 mins away from Vancouver by ferry crossing. We knew no one here and neither of us had actually visited the Coast until the day we viewed our now home!

    We’ve been here for one year now this month and the toughest thing (other than being further from family!) has been being pregnant with my third baby here without many friends – it’s been isolating so far but I know that it takes time to make new friends as an adult, especially when nap times make it virtually impossible to schedule a playdate. And OH GOD DO I EVER MISS CITY FOOD. There is pizza and sushi locally here but I miss my faves – mostly Middle Eastern food!

    But it’s been SO nice to be able to enrol our eldest in a really amazing preschool a few weeks before the start of term; in Vancouver you have to be on a waitlist almost from infancy. Sure it’s farther for us to get to the stores but as others have mentioned in this article, it’s amazing that we don’t have to fight for parking (or PAY) when we get there.

    I think our favourite thing by far though has been GAINING SPACE – nothing beats watching your kiddos run barefoot in the sprinkler your own yard and I had NO idea gardening would become so therapeutic for my anxious mind (I call it Dirt Therapy). Say what you will about Canada but Vancouver has a mild climate and we get about 5-6 months of warm weather so I love that our kids will grow up knowing where food comes from because we bought a property with raspberries, figs, peaches, blueberries, blackberries, kiwis… the list goes on. It’s a wonderful life that we never ever could have afforded in Vancouver. Plus we’re a 5 minutes walk to the beach now!

  4. Ashley says...

    I just want to share something that just dawned on me THIS WEEK after reading this…

    In August I moved to a different small city for school, and it is culturally and politically worlds apart from Minneapolis. I know good people are everywhere technically, but I found myself discouraged by MAGA and religious flags, hats, and bumper stickers around town, in stores, and in gas stations. Since I moved here, this was the first county in the US to vote on banning refugees (thankfully didn’t pass). Recently a local artist’s proposal for a mural of Greta Thunberg was nixed due to arson threats on the building! The racism against Native Americans is so blatant from people I just casually meet. I don’t ever want to accept this as normal or okay!

    But it’s true that good people are everywhere. I stumbled into volunteering with a group that fund raises to purchase accessible bikes for children with disabilities. The people I’ve met are interesting, funny and kind. It dawned on me last week that this is how you create your bubble of good people. Each small town is different – they can be idyllic or claustrophobic – but as Teddy Roosevelt says, “do what you can, with what you have, where you are.”

  5. Jennifer says...

    Wow, I found this so interesting. My parents moved me, my brother and sister when I was 7 from the suburbs of Sacramento, CA to a rural village in Michigan (less than a 1,000 people but the school district was large and each class year was around 125 kids). As a kid I was sometimes seen as an outsider, but for the most part (maybe because my dad’s family had been in the area for 100 years) I was accepted. My childhood was filled with swimming in the local lakes, bike riding, playing in the woods and ice skating/sledding in the winter. High School was harder as I was very motivated to attend college and most of my classmates weren’t. Multiple people asked me why I was attending the University of Michigan instead of saving money and trying out community college for a few years when I was a senior.

    My community as a child was predominantly white (probably 98% non-Hispanic Caucasian) mostly people of German and Polish descent. Something to think about if you are wanting to move to a small community is the demographics/religion and fitting in a place where people have lived since their great-great-great grandparents got off the boat.

    Since graduating college I have lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, Berlin and currently reside in NYC. More and more I think about a peaceful life in the country and commuting 1.5 hours to Detroit or an hour to Ann Arbor every day. But I’m just really not sure where I belong anymore…

  6. I run the website Urban Exodus, where I interview and photograph people who left city life for the country. I moved from Seattle to a small town of 4,500 in Maine. It was a major shift that initially was difficult but now I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. I will never take for granted this fresh air, the abundance of nature, the quiet and the access/ability to grow my own food. Living rurally has shifted what I value in life. I focus more time on relationships, more time being outdoors and more time learning new skills versus hiring others to do things for me (sometime out of necessity but mostly because I want to know how to be more self-sufficient). I might live with less here but my life feels so much richer and unencumbered by smog, commutes and the underlying stress of living in a busy metropolitan area. http://www.urbanexodus.com

  7. I live in Minneapolis near downtown in a lovely neighborhood. But, the traffic, parking and commute time is getting on my nerves more and more. But, once winter is done. I’m sure my tune will change:)

  8. Autumn says...

    While I absolutely believe smalls towns are probably better for families with young kids, I often wonder what happens during the teenage years. Having spent my childhood and teens in a small Michigan town we were so bored and restless. I was always so amazed and jealous of the teenagers I saw when we visited Chicago. They could go to a friends house without needing a ride! They could take the train on their own and it just seemed like they had so much more freedom and independence.

    Also, as a parent, when my kids are old enough to need less of me, I still want my husband and I to be able to do the things we enjoy, like going out dancing, to art openings, and new restaurants.

    All this is to say, I’m sticking it out in the city with two little kids because the thought of raising teens in a small town terrifies me!

  9. Sydney says...

    I am from a town of 5,000 and looked up some of the “small towns” listed throughout this blog and they are more like small cities. But, anywho, I relate with almost all of these answers. I was born and raised in a small rural community and relate a lot with the answers about, “what is hard living in a small town.” The diversity in cultures is often very limited. The same reasons that people love their small communities is the same reason I loved mine! You run into your family friends at the grocery store and have 4th of July parades like in the movies! This blog provides great insight for anyone who is thinking about downsizing cities!

  10. Paige K. says...

    Small towns? Most of these are small *cities*! 😂 I currently live in a town of <5000, and I find the hardest part is actually how remote the place I live is. The nearest Target/Trader Joe's/non-thrift shop clothing store/etc. is at least 3 hours away. I'm moving back to a city in a couple of months because after a few years here, I'm ready to get back to the ease, convenience, and diversity of civilization! :P

  11. My husband and I lived in Zurich, both as foreigners, and while we had great friends, it was almost impossible for us to integrate with locals. When I was pregnant we decided to move within Switzerland to a small town. Risky, given we knew nobody and I’d spend out first months there out of work and mostly at home.
    What I’ve learnt is that even I. A foreign country, smaller towns are more welcoming. The community of people I’ve met and made friends with here have changed my perspective on this country so much. Plus, it’s a French and German speaking wine-producing region with a lake, what’s not to love? I don’t miss Zurich at all, bar our wonderful friends there, but they’re still our friends and they come to visit often.

  12. Alison says...

    This made me laugh! Rochester, MN is a small town compared to DC, I suppose, but I grew up 10 minutes from there and it was the city to us! It’s over 100k people compared to my actual small town of less than 3k. It’s all relative I suppose :) now that I don’t live nearby (and do live in a larger city), it does seem smaller. It still has a lot to offer though.

    • I grew in Rochester:) and you are for sure right on how it’s all relative. I remember friends that grew up in surrounding towns and thought Roch😜 was so big. Now it definitely is getting there:)

  13. K says...

    I’m right here with so many of you. My husband and I live in San Francisco and are saving to move out in the next year or two. I’d love to live in Sonoma, but the truth is, it’s just too expensive now too. Now we’re looking at a bunch of small towns in northern California with hour long commutes to decent work to make our small town dream come true (and we’re still incredibly worried about fires, but we’re not sure what else to do…just have a big enough downpayment that we can pay high cost fire insurance bills [shrug]). I do commute 45 min each way in the city on public transit every day (to go 3 miles), so maybe an hour long highway commute won’t be too bad. I work in accounting — which makes a move to most areas feasible. But the truth is, we’re expecting to cut our salaries at least by a quarter to half when we make the move.

    • I lived in Napa CA, and commuted into Vacaville, CA for my teaching job. Vacaville is great, It’s about an hour away from San Fransisco, 20 minutes from wine country, and WAYYYYYY less expensive. Fairfield gets a bad rap, but it’s great too! Good luck to you in your move!!

    • Emily R. says...

      We currently live in SF (Inner Richmond) and are moving next month to a small town in the North Carolina mountains to be close to family. Prior to that, we had considered somewhere in Marin or even further out (and much cheaper!) in Davis, where they still have good coffee shops & decent restaurants because of the university, and is very close to Sacramento & also not TOO bad of a commute to SF! :) good luck with whatever you choose!

  14. Hilary says...

    It’s fascinating to hear so many fellow Denverites chiming in here! I’m a 5th generation Coloradan (if anyone’s been to the Four Mile House – the turn of the century victorian farm in Glendale – that used to belong to my family! My nana grew up in that house!) I agree 1000% with the sprawl and constant construction. It’s like we can’t possibly have an open field or a patch of green, we have to develop it into condos at all costs and it’s frankly, gross.

    That said, I lived in San Francisco for 8 years and it’s been hard to come back to Denver. SF had culture, diversity and inclusion that Denver is still working on. And yes, the density and cost of living in SF are bananas (SF rent is more expensive than even new york – fun fact!) but it feels like Denver is headed the same direction, but without any of the good stuff.

    Ugh housing gives me agita!

    • Katie says...

      Have you checked out Louisville? Very cute one block of town and easy trip to the airport.

    • Allison says...

      I went to Four Mile Historic Park for day camp when I was a kid. I really wanted to be a pioneer, so your family members were my heros! My family left Denver in the early 2000s and it is unbelievable how much it has changed.

  15. HeeSun Lim says...

    I live in Toronto which is a big city. It’s funny though because I could relate to so many of the families’ comments on why they love living in a small city. So I guess Toronto is a really big city that acts like a small one :)

  16. Hilary says...

    What a lovely breath of bucolic fresh air :-) I know I’m late to the comments, but my husband and I have been thinking about moving out to a small town outside of Denver. We need to be close enough to an airport to make 1-2 trips a week (consultant life), but we’re not sure which ones to look at…

    Also, if anyone is looking for some small town bibliotherapy… highly recommend Evvie Drake Starts Again. Based in Maine (in all of its complexity, Linda Holmes doesn’t shy away from that) with a hunky baseball player and an inspiring (but not hooky) storyline

    • I am from Boulder myself but I have a couple of friends and family members who live in the Louisville/Lafayette area. Both have a very small town feel but are relatively close to the airport and they are right in between Boulder and Denver. They also have some of the most beautiful views of the mountains!

    • Kathy Worsley says...

      I do love Louisville! But not sure about airport commute…. we are in Littleton, but thinking of moving to somewhere smaller and slower!

  17. Nicole says...

    I grew up in a small town in NH (and later went to college in the same small town!). I ended up moving to Boston after college because there just weren’t enough opportunities and I never quite felt like I fit into that community. I’ve been in Boston now for about 12 years. I was in the same neighborhood for the first 10 years and it really did feel like a community for the first 7 years – I knew the bodega people, the cafe people, the women at the laundromat, and was friends with the pizza owner downstairs who would let me cut the line during the St. Patrick’s Parade. My doctor was there, I knew the bartender and delivery people at the Chinese food place across the street by name. It felt like HOME for the first time. Gentrification happened (I was part of the first wave) and I was ultimately priced out. I’ve been in a new neighborhood for 2 years and feel like a total outsider and hate it. We’re hoping to find another homey neighborhood in the area this year and are prioritizing places with local businesses as opposed to chains, anything with green space or a porch, side streets, etc. I haven’t been to my small NH town in over a decade and have been thinking about it often – it might be time for a trip! (even if all it does is reaffirm my decision to leave)

    • K says...

      Nicole — have you looked in Roslindale? Love it here :)

  18. Kim B. says...

    I live in a small city (pop. <500,000) and I think it's the best of both worlds. The commute is never bad compared with giant cities, there is public transit available (though it is flawed), but there are still some good arts/culture events that you would expect in a bigger city. Likewise, it's only a quick drive to some beautiful rural settings.

  19. janine says...

    Joanna, you should move to “Hipsturbia” in the suburbs of NY – we moved there shortly before Alex wrote about it and always jokingly credit that article with making our house go up in value, hahaha.

  20. C. says...

    I am appreciating this discussion in the comments and all of the pros/cons being offered, especially from those who have real-life knowledge and experiences to share. For additional perspective I suggest Sarah Smarsh’s podcast, The Homecomers, about the movement back to small town, rural environments and some of the related socioeconomic dynamics. There are fascinating interviews with rural and working-class community advocates, and discussions of the characteristics of small town or rural life culture mentioned in these comments.

    • Sasha L says...

      Thank you for this rec! I loved Sarah Smarsh’s book so much, this pod cast sounds fascinating.

    • Maria says...

      This podcast is amazing! Thanks for the recommendation!

    • Em says...

      Thank you for the podcast recommendation! I just listened to the first episode about the “black belt” and farming in the black community and learned a lot I didn’t know previously. I’m wondering how many of the commenters below know some of this info or if they just assume farmer = white (like I unknowingly did).

      It is interesting to see the amount of elitism in these comments, as well as political biasing. I read through them all and am curious by the common idea that “thinking like me” = and “open mind”, no matter what your political ideology is. Lots to chew on here!

  21. Addie says...

    I really wish this had covered HOW people moved to small towns. Specifically what they did for work in the big cities, and what they do now. Are they simply enduring horrible commutes? Or are they now working in these small towns? Did they need to have a career change? Or were they able to do the same thing? Did they take a pay cut, and if so how did that balance out with the reduced cost of living? Were they business owners or creatives/artists? If they weren’t, are they now? How did they choose the town – family history, friends, or totally random? Was it harder career wise or emotionally for one partner?

    I ask because as a twenty-something developing their career in a big city, I often worry I won’t be able to move if finances or city-fatigue suddenly make living here miserable. I would absolutely love to hear how people make it work. Any chance of a follow up?

    • Tovah says...

      Hi Addie, I shared this on another comment as well, but I don’t mind sharing how jobs were a factor for us (I’m interviewed in the original post). My husband’s job was flexible– when we moved he did communication coaching mostly from home (over Skype etc) and traveled 1-2 times per month to lead trainings in person. So that was easy for him to do from anywhere. As a dialect coach and theater teacher I was less flexible, and leaving the theatrical hub of NYC necessarily meant a downshift for my career. It was a big obstacle for me in the decision making process. I have been fortunate so far in finding local work, including at the university in our new town, and maintaining my individual coaching business using Skype. And honestly, the downshift in cost of living has meant we don’t need to earn as much, so we don’t have to work as much… But it meant downshifting my ambitions as well, in some ways.

      And we picked Charlottesville because my husband grew up here.

      I loved city living as a twenty-something, but in my 30s now with two children, it was time for us to move on and away.

      I hope that’s helpful!

    • ML says...

      Addie, you are so wise to be thinking ahead. In my 20s I was also building my career in a big city (New York). My job wasn’t remote, but it was in the software industry which is pretty amenable to remote work. Conversely, a friend is an ICU nurse and training to be a nurse anesthetist. She can’t work remotely at all, but her specialty is in huge demand in both urban and rural areas. Her plan is to spend a few years in a mountain town when she graduates.

      Either way, as you gain experience your autonomy/leverage will grow, and you’ll be more likely to convince employers to make exceptions for you, be a standout candidate in a new town, or start your own business. I’m 15 years into my career (which has not been linear by any means) and now feel like I have full geographic flexibility.

      One more thing you can do is start saving money. Live more frugally than your colleagues, avoid the Instagram comparison trap, and invest in an index fund. Time really is money here thanks to the magic of compound interest. For me, these “what if” savings opened up lots more possibilities later on: to take a pay cut after moving out of NYC, start a business, take a few months off to figure out my next move, etc.

      As for building new community, for me, plugging into volunteer work helps me feel like I’m contributing back and not just taking advantage of lifestyle benefits — not to mention making some of my closest friends.

      Hope that helps!

    • Check out http://www.urbanexodus.com – there are lots of interviews with former city folks and they specifically address how they made it work. For many, it means a pay cut but the lower cost of living makes that possible. For some, it means telecommuting. For others, it is starting their own business. All require some risk and preparation but it is possible – even in your twenties.

  22. C says...

    I would kill to be in your situation. We live in Denver. Can’t afford it, really. But, as a classical musician/performing artist I’ve needed to be in urban areas to find opportunities. I’m rethinking my approach and dying to live somewhere rural but we can’t afford to move, either. I took a road trip to Ouray/Ridgway/Montrose/Palisade once with my sister and fell in love. For once I was in an area in Colorado where the hippies weren’t millionaires slumming it, but rather actual hippies and farmers and regular folks who were honestly open and friendly.

    Now, it’s probably because I’m *several* (several) income brackets lower than average Cup of Jo readers and guest writers (did I say several?), but this article frustrated me because the many of the rural towns mentioned are playgrounds for the rich. Oftentimes, mobility is a luxury.

    (Previous commenter from Montana- here’s a shout out because I couldn’t find the thread again!)

    E, I know you mean well and want to stimulate your local economy and help bring about policies to help everyone. And I do hope that happens! Truly! :) I think one can easily get stuck in their own mindset if they don’t broaden their horizons and having an outsider come try to change things can be difficult for a lifelong resident. Having grown up poor in a small town, though, and seeing all those folks in the “fancy homes” growing up and still in my mid-30s unable to afford it, I can truly empathize with those residents and can understand their resentment. There’s got to be a way to find better balance in both policy and respect for other’s lives and views without trying to paint one group as the great unwashed and the other as the wise savior.

  23. Annie says...

    I generally do find people in small towns (or a close knit-community in a ) to be friendlier. And while part of it is likely due to people’s genuine kindness, I think a not insignificant part of small town kindness comes from the fact that you have to see these people EVERY DAY and interact with them. I think it causes us to be a little more gentle in our interactions with others when we run the risk of becoming the town grump! That initial desire to remain liked can help us develop stronger bonds.

    • MB says...

      I absolutely agree with this. I think Of this while at traffic intersections of when I yield to pedestrians. There’s a good chance I’m going to know the person, and I’d hate to be rude to someone I know. Since there are fewer people to interact with, you have to be civil to folks in your day to day interactions. I’d be horrified if I was accidentally rude to our son’s preschool teacher or my de tier out in public

  24. Sequoia says...

    I like to romanticize small town life when the lines here (Oakland, CA) are long, the restaurants are crowded and the sight of another scooter is maddening. Then I remember I’m black, as are my husband and son. Then I gratefully continue to stand in a line where I can forget that!

    • Cynthia Miller says...

      I love the idea of a small town- but I don’t think my Arab husband and half-Arab kids would do so well in one. We live in a very diverse suburb on the edge of a city. It helps not to stand out from the crowd all the time.

    • Kelly says...

      amen! i am white but have 2 black daughters, it’s so hard to imagine life in a small town!

    • Em says...

      I loved living for a year in my in laws’ smallish town for many of the reasons listed in the post, but the segregation and quiet racism was very much there. We’re white, but I even noticed the difference in doll preferences and friend preferences between my kid who spent her early years in a diverse city and my kid who was spending them in a segregated small city/town (the one open to friends of all colors and backgrounds and the other pricing the blonde haired and blue eyed). We’re back in a diverse city and thankfully that’s changed for my littlest, but it was a serious concern and consideration.

  25. Frances Ardern says...

    Just over 12 months ago, I moved from one end of Australia to the other – literally! I packed up my inner-city Melbourne life and traded it for life on the Tiwi Islands, 80 kilometres north of Darwin. I moved from the temperate south to the tropical north, knowing absolutely no one, to live in an Aboriginal community accessible only by boat or plane. It was nerve-wracking, to say the least. Fast forward one whole year and I know in my bones I am a totally different person.

    I am living and working in a community where the dominant culture is one that has existed for more than 60,000 years. Life moves slowly here; the relentless humidity during the wet season means outdoor exertion needs to be avoided as much as possible, with the exception of AFL (Australian Football League) games that are played regardless of the heat, humidity or monsoonal downpours. The dry season arrives and we revel in the cooler, drier weather. The heat remains but the nights become cool and crisp. The Dry means camping trips resume and we pile into our cars and head out to deserted beaches to watch spectacular sunsets, the colours changing minute by minute. The stars begin to pepper the sky and on a moonless night the Milky Way emerges in all her splendour.

    My commute is now a 5 minute walk, an even shorter bicycle ride. I reach the end of my street and look to the left to see the current hurtling through the Apsley Strait. Weekends are for morning runs and congregating at the community café, manned by volunteers. We chat about everything other than work and make plans to meet at the footy, or organise basketball games, potluck dinners and board games nights.

    Life on a remote island is not always easy; the isolation at times can feel acute, and being far from family and close friends can be a challenge. I think of the people who moved here palingarri (Tiwi for ‘long ago’) and remember how lucky I am to have the ability to call or face time my family on a regular basis. At times I miss the convenience of being able to duck to the supermarket to get that thing I need for dinner. Although we have a supermarket, it’s expensive and has a limited range. My groceries arrive once a week from Darwin via barge, which means I have to order the week before. It requires a little bit of organisation and it’s frustrating when you miss the all-important delivery window.

    I don’t miss the craziness of city life; the pressure to be seen at the newest, flashiest bar or restaurant; the pressure to spend money out and about. On the island, we socialise together at each other’s houses, and you realise how little stuff you actually need to feel fulfilled. My friend mentioned the other day that life isn’t about seeking happiness, but rather seeking fulfilment. I feel a deep sense of fulfilment being here. I learn every day from the local people. Their deep knowledge of the land and the animals comes from a connection to nature that transcends words. I feel so privileged to be living and working here amongst a community willing to share its culture with outsiders. I have far less FOMO here than I did living in the city. I now experience JOMO (the Joy Of Missing Out), and my life is far more rich for it.

    • Love this so much. I just moved from Sydney to the Gold Coast, but I have a fantasy of living somewhere much smaller…and even warmer! The thing I worry about here though is work. What do you do for a living in Tiwi? xx

    • Frances says...

      Hey Alex!
      Do it! Totally recommend it, even through the challenges. I teach here, and it’s the most rewarding and fulfilling teaching I’ve ever done :-) Email me if you’re interested to know more – frances.ardern@gmail.com

    • Andrea says...

      Oh my gosh I devoured your comment, Frances! COJ, please interview Frances for a beauty uniform or week of outfits or anything at all!! I want to know more about her life and live vicariously :)
      Also, I love “life isn’t about seeking happiness but seeking fulfillment.” Going to remind myself of that.

  26. Abby Hansen says...

    We live in a small town in NJ, 45 minutes west of NYC. It’s just perfect. We love going into the city multiple times a year for all sorts of adventure, and returning home to green grass and quiet nights and for our kids, a wonderful school and little league and soccer games and swimming pools and Memorial Day parades and generations of families who’ve lived here and the history of home. It’s our whole life.

  27. Laura says...

    I was born and raised in a 400,000 population, beach city in Spain. I’ve been living for 12 years in a 40,000 mid size town in France. I drive 3 hours to get to Paris, 2 hours to Switzerland, 4 hours to Italy. In Spain it was sun, nice temperatures and beaches almost all year round. Here I experience real winters, snow and rain. My kids were born here. I lack the beach, the diversity and the leisure options (concerts, food…). I do not miss commuting for long hours, city noise, not finding a parking spot. At first it was so quiet here at night I could not sleep. Now I have a yard, grow my vegetables and even have hens for fresh eggs every day. Just two different lives and glad I am able to experience both!

  28. chelsea says...

    I find it super interesting what someone thinks of as a small town/medium sized town/city/big city! I think the general definitions are scaled down in Canada :)

    According to this post, I live in a small town (if Rochester and Santa Fe are considered small towns, ours is smaller!), but its actually one of the bigger cities in the area (interior of British Columbia). I think of a city as anything over 20k people and thought of us as a smallish city. People who live in small towns nearby typically refer to us as “the city”. But after living in Vancouver (a big city by Canadian standards!), it certainly feels small and laid back here!

  29. H says...

    is anyone else feeling downright depressed after reading the comments?

    I say this because I have just relocated back to the USA after living in Australia, and being from a tiny Midwestern town, I need to move due to job prospects. In addition to that, after living away many years, I know I do not want to deal with a long Indiana winter.

    I feel saddened when everyone says their towns or cities ‘are not what they used to be’. I know this may be true, but I’m not sure what options I have (especially being single, I don’t want to move to a family-centric town that isn’t diverse especially after living in Melbourne, where 1 out of 3 people there are born in another country). I wanted to look at Austin, Nashville, or Portland (where a dear friend of mine lives) but I fear everyone is thinking these places are no longer viable and by moving there, I will be contributing to the problem of transplants into these cities.

    I can’t help but also think about that these cities don’t truly ‘belong’ to anyone – and although it may not have been in our lifetime, someone in our family line moved to these places to find a better life/opportunity (which is how I sort of feel), so I shouldn’t feel guilty that I am the one making that decision for myself. And cities are CONSTANTLY changing, so you can’t become too attached to the way things were.

    Not sure if that makes sense but I would love some input as to what anyone sees as an answer to the issue of an influx of people moving to some of these cities in search for better opportunities or a better lifestyle.

    • Nic says...

      Commenting because we are moving back to my home of Seattle after over a decade of living in Sydney and Perth. And I am one of those people who complains about the city I left not feeling the same because of all the transplants. I think I would mind it less if the new people fit in more culturally, but what I hear (anecdotally) is that the (mostly white male tech worker) transplants who have moved to Seattle vote against tax increases for the cultural things that signal real Seattle to me (good public schools, parks, environment, social justice) and that ‘bro culture’ is ascendant. This makes me sad since I loved and identify with nerdy, passionate, hippie, liberal Seattle. Half my family moved there in the 1970s and the other half in the 1900s so I don’t have very deep roots anyways and do agree that at some level almost everyone is a transplant. But if you’re wanting moving somewhere because you love how it is now, that sounds like a good thing.

    • Natalie says...

      @H – For what it’s worth, as a native Austinite, I’m not upset about all of the new transplants in the city. Most of my coworkers and friends have moved here in the last five years, and they’re awesome – the city is better off for having them here. But what is frustrating is that our local government and businesses seem to have invited this out-of-control growth without any thought of how it will affect our roads, our schools, our property taxes, etc. At the same time, we have a new population of immensely wealthy people who have turned Austin into a “pay to play” town where only the very rich have access to resources that used to be available to everyone. In some ways, I think new arrivals are better off. You can come see the city with fresh eyes and enjoy all of its magic without feeling jaded or disappointed.

    • Cynthia Miller says...

      I haven’t read all the comments- but some places are better for not being what they used to be- more diverse, in particular. It may not feel as homey when you have people of different cultures and languages moving in- but in the long run, it can be a better place to live for more people.
      It sounds like that’s the kind of town you are looking for, too. I say, live where you like, and make it a better place for everyone.

    • Sasha L says...

      I wish the new comers to my community (Bozeman Montana) were bringing more diversity, but they are not. Just more rich white people. That’s who can afford it.

      I get your point that this place isn’t “ours”, but I think a bigger point may be that new comers are coming for a reason – quality of life, scenic beauty, friendliness- but the very fact of their coming is destroying those things. Go ahead and come, but it won’t be what you are hoping for. There are just too many people here already for it to be that anymore

    • A says...

      Seconding the person who said “live where you like and make it a better place for everyone.” :)

    • H says...

      thanks everyone for your input! Definitely a lot of food for thought :)

    • Savannah says...

      I’m a native Portlander and honestly, the only time I feel frustration over transplants is when I hear a transplant complain about the high cost of living. The disconnect grates my nerves. Beyond that, my favorite people are transplants.

  30. Merry says...

    I moved from Metro Detroit to Asheville, NC and it was a huge change. No more long commutes or long grey winters. We are 15 minutes away from great hiking spots with lush forests and views of the mountain range. There are lots of breweries and new restaurants popping up all the time. Most places are casual and dog friendly and kid friendly. Everyone we have met is very health conscious, lots of mountain biking, hiking and healthy eating, which I love. We’ve been here for 4 years and I’m still not used to all the sunny days all year long. One funny thing that bugged me a little at first is that there is no shopping. We can’t seem to keep stores here- even JCrew closed. I’ve never considered myself a much of a shopper, but I notice it now that I’m forced to shop online.

    • Sydney says...

      Hi Merry!
      I’m moving from Columbus, OH to Asheville in June/July. My husband got a job down there and we’ve decided to make the jump! I’m excited but also nervous about the job prospects since there seems to be less opportunity. Did you run into that at all? Any overall life/moving/work suggestions or advice?!

    • Alex Perri says...

      This is funny. I live in a small mountain town about 45 minutes south of you, and Asheville is the big city compared to where I’m from! I’m curious about what you mean by no shopping. Asheville seems to me to be nothing but shopping and dining, which doesn’t seem super liveable for the residents there. There’s not a whole lot of markets, butchers, bakers, etc. unless you go further out into suburbia, which kind of makes the city living aspect of it less desirable w/o being walkable IMO.

  31. Lindsey says...

    As a child we moved from big city to big city because my dad built high rises. Then, in sixth grade we moved to a tiny town in Oregon. The culture shock was INTENSE. I remember my parents got an old pickup truck (embarrassing enough) and then one day showed up to pick me up from school in the truck with the back full of chickens. Feathers everywhere, just so mortifying for a pre-teen city girl. Of course now I am 44 and living in that small town, with chickens. Haha.

  32. K says...

    Welcome to Whitefish Bay, Carrie! :) regarding take out, whitefish bay is small, so there aren’t a ton of options to do take out, but have you tried to order dishes from Milwaukee? We have been so excited about how many restaurants do DoorDash and downtown Milwaukee is so close that we can pick up food easily too! So glad you love bay as much as my family does. Take care!

    • marie says...

      Yes I also think it’s funny to call whitefish bay a small town when it is so near Milwaukee. I live in DC now but grew up in Glendale and would never think to describe it as a small town! But welcome to the north shore, it’s a great place to live!

  33. Laura says...

    Would love to know more about another dimension of these relocation stories: the job/income part of equation. I fantasize about a move to slower and smaller towns but am professionally anchored to cities (and some more than others). Are the families who pull off a move all in more “anywhere” jobs (eg healthcare, teaching, lawyers) or making career changes?

    • Myndie says...

      I’d love to hear more about the job/income part of the equation, too. I moved to Portland, OR after college and have been here for almost 20 years. I would love to move away (the seasonal affective disorder struggle is REAL, people), but I’m a teacher and make a living wage here. That’s not the case in a lot of places. If I moved to AZ, for example, I’d take a 50% pay cut and the lower cost of living doesn’t quite make up for that.

  34. Brooke says...

    My husband and I just moved from SF to Charleston, where we lived for a few years before SF. I really miss my coworkers (ladies who hustle), ethnic food, and most of all, the NATURE! SF has amazing parks and amazing views. However, there were so many cons of living in the city. Homeless problem is truly out of control—I have many friends who have been harassed or assaulted by them. I’ve seen them passed out and naked while walking my dog (in my $ neighborhood) or at the park. It’s so sad and does not seem to be getting better at all. People in SF were also not friendly at all vs. Charleston where my neighbors are the kindest people. I just had a baby and my neighbor made me oatmeal every morning for a week and dropped it off outside my door. Another neighbor threw a Halloween happy hour in their front yard for the block and it was adorable. I still miss CA a lot (where I’m originally from) because whenever I’m there, I feel like I’ve regained my mojo. I can feel like an outsider in the south. But overall, it’s wonderful to be able to afford a home, live 10 min from the beach, and eat at amazing restaurants downtown. I do crave cities though and can’t wait for my baby to be a little bigger and jump on a quick flight to NYC for the weekend!

  35. Caroline says...

    I live in a tiny, rural town after having lived in Atlanta and a mid-sized city. Rural life is not for everyone—I don’t have internet at home (which is a blessing most of the time), but for me, the deep community is unbeatable. Sometimes, I come home to find homegrown flowers or garden produce on my front porch. Friends let themselves into the house to drop off extra soup in the refrigerator or let my dog out when I am stuck at work. My friends and I text each other when we’re headed to the nearest city for a good grocery run and we pick whatever the others need. When I first moved here, someone told me, “we may not have good restaurants but everyone here has a big table” and I’ve had delicious meal after delicious meal shared with my neighbors.

  36. Elr says...

    I live in Seattle and dream about rural living but where we live in the city (very north outskirts) we have the most fabulous community of neighbors that we see regularly and let our kids run around with. We have a large GroupMe text thread where people invite each other to things or post wants/needs. It feels very small town to meet up (but at the brewery because #northwest) and get takeout many Friday nights. I hate the traffic, the vibe of the city now and the cost and increasing divide between rich and poor… but to give up what feels like a small town community would be very hard. (And jobs?! Or horrible commute?)

    Community living – no matter where you find it – rural or city – is what I think is most important.

    But I still daydream about life in a smaller city…

    • Dienesa says...

      I was scrolling through comments and about to write about community being key– until I saw your comment. You took the words right out of my head! I believe where there is community is where one feels most at home.

  37. Claire says...

    I’ve lived in NYC, San Francisco and Oakland but currently live in a town of 5000 albeit I work in a major city. I commute 1.5 hours EACH WAY to live in the country. I love the peace and quiet and visibly relax when I leave the city every night. My daughter gets a great school experience and spends a lot of time outdoors. However as a gay person it’s harder to find community here and sometimes I do feel isolated. There are no jobs here so it feels like I have to commute until remote work is more of a thing.
    However, I certainly wouldn’t prefer the city, so it’s worth it for now.

  38. Grace says...

    I live in Brooklyn, but as I read the descriptions of small town life I kept thinking, “That’s me! That’s what our lives are like!” We know all our neighbors and are close friends with many of them. I can’t step outside to run an errand or go for a run without bumping into someone I know, which usually leads to an unexpected conversation or a quick catch-up session. Our children, ages 5 & 8, have impromptu play-dates all the time and I wouldn’t even call them play-dates – they just hang out with neighborhood friends after bumping into them on the sidewalk. We know local shopkeepers by name and every summer we have a block party. It’s really the best of both worlds, I have to say! Small town community in the big city. It brings me so much joy.

  39. We have lived in NYC, DC, Sydney, Denver, London…and now Palmyra, VA… a county of two traffic circles and ONE stoplight in the whole county. We are raising our two boys here – they were 2 and 5 when we moved here. We started a granola company and have been “out of the rat race” ever since. It’s been great but we are getting keen to move to a city or walkable town again. But…it’s been a great experience and we’ve loved raising the boys here.

  40. Alyssa says...

    I moved from NYC to Whistler, B.C. (a small Canadian mountain resort town) after my visa ran out because its newspaper was the only one in the country hiring an arts reporter at the time. (I had just finished grad school for that speciality.)
    The first six months were the worst of my life. I felt like I had been transported from the centre of the universe into a universe that revolved around skiing and snowsports. I just didn’t fit in and couldn’t understand….
    Fast forward nearly eight years and I still happily live in the area! Now I love the sense of community, outdoor adventures, and everyone’s deep connection to nature. It’s a wildly different pace of life.
    To that end, if you make the leap, be prepared for an adjustment period!

    • Kate says...

      Interesting that Santa Fe is considered a ‘small town.’ It’s population is nearly 150,000 people. Also it’s interesting it’s considered more affordable, even though it’s way more expensive than Albuquerque just an hour south and the Santa Fe public school system is terrible. I guess it’s all perception vs. reality.

  41. Rachel says...

    There’s also the option of mid-sized city living! I’m only familiar with my Midwestern ones, but I imagine there are similar perks in a lot of mid-sized cities. Plenty of job opportunities, short commutes if you live and work in the city, relatively lower costs of housing and living, strong arts/food/music scenes, walkability, easy parking, diversity, opportunities for civic engagement, etc.! There’s still downsides for sure like substandard public education, systemic racism, crap public transit, etc. I think a lot of people consider small or mid-sized cities either an overgrown suburbs or ‘cowtowns’, but they give you a lot of the perks of city life with the community and convenience of a smaller town.

  42. I love in Fort Thomas, KY, a 10-minute drive to downtown Cincinnati. Fort Thomas is small. There’s no school bus service. The sidewalks are jammed with kids walking and biking to and from school. There’s so much freedom for kids here. They can bike to the local ice cream place, the park, an independent children’s bookstore, friends’ houses. Everyone knows your business, which is wonderful and awful. Sometimes it seems as if everyone really does know your name. If anyone is in crisis, the entire community comes together in support. Opposite from this article I grew up around farmland and living so close to a gas station and neighbors was a big adjustment. Sometimes I feel as if I can’t breathe. But then we walk across the street to the gas station where owners keep fresh lemons for purchase in a basket because they know we often run out and use them often for recipes) and I’m reminded of how good community can be. The things I struggle most with is lack of diversity and knowing there’s privilege that comes with having such an amazing public school (the parent support, especially financially, is huge) compared to neighboring public schools.

  43. I love in Fort Thomas, KY, a 10-minute drive to downtown Cincinnati. Fort Thomas is small. There’s no school bus service. The sidewalks are jammed with kids walking and biking to and from school. There’s so much freedom for kids here. They can bike to the local ice cream place, the park, an independent children’s bookstore, friends’ houses. Everyone knows your business, which is wonderful and awful. Sometimes it seems as if everyone really does know your name. If anyone is in crisis, the entire community comes together in support. Opposite from this article I grew up around farmland and living so close to a gas station and neighbors was a big adjustment. Sometimes I feel as if I can’t breathe. But then we run to the gas station for flour on a Saturday morning to make pancakes (the same gas station whose owners keep fresh lemons for purchase in a basket because they know we often run out and use them often for recipes), and once we’ve eaten the kids take a plate of pancakes over to the cashier (we know and love them all) and I’m reminded of how good community can be. The things I struggle most with is lack of diversity and knowing there’s privilege that comes with having such an amazing public school (the parent support, especially financially, is huge) compared to neighboring public schools. I feel great guilt.

    • ann says...

      Yeah it all sounded great but then I was like hmm maybe no, I’m not white

    • jules says...

      I feel you here. I grew up in farmland and moved to a city outskirts and it has been a large adjustment even after a few years. The closest gas station growing up was a 20 minute drive and now I am surrounded. Always. I am often scared of the thought of having children and raising them near so much cement and people, but I am slowly (maybe?) coming to terms with it. I can walk to get coffee when we’re out which is great, but it’s really hard to explain the feeling of why its not. No one really gets it.

  44. I’m Canadian, but have spent 15 years living in London and Vancouver. We moved to Heidelberg, Germany 3 and a half years ago (it’s about 160 thousand people, about the size of Oxford or Cambridge). We had three months notice, and neither my husband nor I spoke German, and we had a six year old. Not only were we moving to a smaller town, but another country across the pond. This may not qualify as ‘small town’ to some people, but after London and Vancouver, it certainly felt like it to us! I had actually never set foot in Germany before I agreed to move. We had a 2-week look and see trip, for which my son had a raging fever for most of it, soooo yes. We still did it!

    And I have to say I love it. I loved being in my early 30s in London, who wouldn’t? But being in a small university city as a more chill older person and mum is really fun. We have a giant castle I see up on the hill every day as I ride my bike with my son to school, which never ceases to blow my mind. Our neighbours are the sweetest. Downstairs is a retired religion and ethics teacher who has the most gorgeous Delft blue and white tea set EVER because she grew up in northern Germany on the border with the Netherlands. Upstairs is a couple who are in their early 80s, and the wife has lived there, in that apartment since she was four years old. She has studio portraits of her cousin who was an opera singer in Berlin in the 1920s she shows me every time I visit. It’s harder, for sure, this isn’t Berlin and loads of people don’t speak English – which is totally fine, I am working hard on my German skills. But being in a bigger city would have probably been easier as an immigrant. That said, my son is now 10 and speaks fluent German, and all his friends are local German kids now. I am so unabashedly proud of him that it makes him embarrassed.

    So yes, I sometimes miss out on stuff, but because this is Europe and I’m an hour away from Frankfurt, and a train ride from so many other places, I feel like I can really just go do stuff if I want. And I don’t know, a small city with a castle… it’s pretty ideal.

  45. Rachel says...

    I grew up in a very small New Hampshire town where everyone knew everyone and when I could, I was outta-there! Now I’m raising my kids in a city of 125,000 on the west coast and glad for childhood they’ve had here. There are many options, many paths, and lots of trade-offs. In other words, Life.

  46. emily says...

    My family and I live in Vancouver, BC, in a very residential neighbourhood between two big hospitals. There are lots of families, parks and transportation is accessible, and we get to enjoy all the perks of this city: musicians tour here, JFL happens (I just saw Hannah Gadsby!!) and there are so many restaurants. BUT. We are pretty comfy financially yet the idea of owning a house with yard enough to garden is laughable. The community gardens have years-long waitlists and so many kids need swim lessons, we’ve tried three terms in a row to get a spot and haven’t snagged one. The gap between the wealthiest and poorest folks in town is staggering. We love the city and we know we are lucky, lucky, lucky to be here, but I feel an ever-stronger pull to go somewhere smaller. But where? I’m amazed and baffled by how people decide where to live. I am a stay-at-home (for now) parents and my partner works remotely so the world’s our oyster and that is wayyyyy toooo much choice for me.

    Is the grass always greener where you aren’t?

    • Allison says...

      Hi Emily!

      We may just live in the same neighbourhood and I share your sentiments! I feel so grateful to live in such a vibrant, informed, progressive, beautiful and accessible city. At the same time, I feel uncomfortable with the divide you describe and the everyday hustle is significant. I also dream of other places, but in the meantime will enjoy Vancouver’s bounty and remember to take pause and appreciate all the city offers.

    • victoria says...

      Come to Deep Cove! It’s like a small town in the city. Vancouver living is both fantastic and brutal. I am with you sister. xo

    • Allison says...

      We had the choice after some years overseas and we actually picked the lower mainland. The cost of living was the major con for the Vancouver area (and we made pro/con lists for a bunch of cities in Canada) but it was balanced by so many pros. When you start writing out what you want for climate/geography, family proximity, activities/lifestyle, city amenities, language etc, it can narrow down surprisingly quickly. Have a go even if it’s only a fun thought experiment!

    • A says...

      I second Bailey ;) There are some really lovely niches in the twin cities. I have lived here my whole life and although I feel wanderlust-y at times, I don’t think we’ll ever leave. Good luck!