In preparing for my upcoming move to Illinois, I was faced with a decision: live in a town of 9,500 on a quarter acre of land surrounded by neighbors, or live in the country surrounded by 2,000 acres of prairie. For me, the choice was clear.
It's city or country, y'all! My love of cities is well-documented (see my Best Of City Living 2012 for proof), and the reasons for that love are endless: culture, walkability, museums, thrift stores, restaurants, used book stores, architecture, hustle and bustle, opportunities, people-watching, people from around the world, and people simply doing fascinating things. I've never had to drive, I can get myself anywhere I need to go, I can walk from my favorite Indian grocery store to my favorite Japanese stationery store, continue on to my screenprinting class, and pick up an excellent tofu mole burrito on my way home, all the while catching glimpses of the dreamy skyline.
And while I've never lived in the country, I know there will be privacy, space, and quiet. The rest is all a mystery, alternating between thrilling and terrifying, but those three are enough to hook me. For all my love of Gilmore Girls, small town life confuses me. I can't imagine NOT living in a city, but also having neighbors up in my business. I don't want to have to deal with noise and light pollution and people and yet NOT have access to great restaurants, exciting jobs, and the Castro Theatre. To me, it feels like the worst of both worlds.
And yet... the small town in question has some nice perks: an excellent Mexican grocery store, an impressively well-stocked liquor store, a bike path that makes it easy for me to get wherever I need to go, and a lovely outdoor park district pool in the summer. Living in the country, I'll be 16 miles from the nearest town, which is a long way to ride my bike for a bag of masa. Did I make the right choice? We'll see!
City, small town, country: what's your choice?
(Image: Community Inspiration: Tour Urban Farms While Traveling)