12 Reasons I Like Living in the Country

I did not choose to live in the country.

My husband took a ministry job in a small town outside of Waco, and I followed him here (just as he followed me when I went to graduate school). I was skeptical of moving to the country. I grew up in Houston, the 4th largest city in the United States. And I liked it.

When I left Houston for college, I moved to Abilene, a small West Texas town. I thought it was a small town (about 150,000 people). It was small. And, when I moved to Central Texas to work at Baylor, I thought Waco was a small town.

But my definition of “small” has changed since living where I live now.

I live in a town of about 7,500. I still consider myself a “city girl,” but I do like some things about the country. For today’s Twelve Series, I’m going to write about reasons I like the country.

1. The wide, open spaces. I love the Dixie Chicks song, “Wide Open Spaces,” but this has new meaning to me living here. Most people here, even those who live in town, have large yards (front and back) and quite a bit of space between homes. Many people own acres and acres of land.  I like having my own space; it doesn’t feel like people always know when I’m coming and going or what I’m doing (I do live in a parsonage, though, but that’s a different story). If I ever do move back to the city, I would like to have some land, if possible. Not much, just some. 

Even the idea that things are slower here really appeals to me. Even though I still run around like a crazy woman, I also slow down. Sit on the front porch, watch my children play in the background, and enjoy life.

2. We don’t need a Farmer’s Market; we have the farms! I love going to the Farmer’s Market, and one concern I had moving to a small town was that I would no longer have access to the Farmer’s Market I had visited for years. Come to find out, one of the farms represented at this Farmer’s Market was from the town I now live in! So, I can now drive 3 miles to the farm and pick out all the produce I want. And, unlike the Farmer’s Market I visited before, which was only open from May through September, this one had a year-round farm stand. Buying my food from them makes me happy. I also like that my children are learning where food comes from, how it’s grown, and what it means to buy local produce.

3. The close-knit community. In some ways it feels like the bar in Cheers where everybody knows your name. Shane and I have gotten to know so many people, far more than run in our “typical” circles. People who (in some ways) are different from us but who are living life and trying to do the best they can. We love this community. No, it’s not perfect, but the people here will always be very close to our hearts.

4. The stars. The wide open spaces allow for us to see so many stars at night. “The stars at night. Are big and bright. [clap, clap, clap, clap]. Deep in the heart of Texas.”

5. No traffic. I grew up in traffic. I went through 32 (red) lights on my daily commute to school. Traffic was a part of life. Sometimes it took an hour to go to a friend’s house. When we traveled for junior high and high school sports, the trip could take an hour and a half, each way. My dad worked Downtown, 19 miles from our house. It took him well over an hour each way. Driving long distances and and waiting in traffic was a part of life. I didn’t know any different.

Even though several major highways (both state and national) go through our town, traffic is not much of an issue. It’s easy to get around and there isn’t much waiting. Now, when I go back to Houston to visit my parents or to Austin to visit my sister or Shane’s parents, I dread the traffic. It takes 20 minutes to go two miles (and that’s good!). Shane and I comment each time we go that we are glad we don’t have to experience traffic like this on a regular basis. It’s a perk.

6. The opportunities to be involved in many aspects of the community. Getting involved is easy. There are so many ways to help this community, and we like getting involved, serving others, and making our community a better place. I like to feel like my life matters, that there is a purpose greater than myself, that I can use my gifts to help others.

7. My big backyard. Having a huge garden and still enough space to run around and play games with the kids is amazing. We don’t have neighbors beside us (on either side) or behind us. It’s quiet (when the neighbor down the street isn’t playing the drums!) and relaxing.My Backyard

8. The ecumenical nature of the churches here. We have a great diversity of churches here–all types of denominations. We even have a Mormon church. In large cities, people often get together with other churches from their same tribe (Baptists with Baptists; Presbyterians with Presbyterians; etc.). Here, though, since there is typically only one church for each denomination, the churches work together, play together, and serve together. Recently, we had an ecumenical prayer walk. It was so neat to see all these people coming together to pray to our one God.

We do have people from other religions living here, but I do not know of synagogues or mosques in the area; the great majority of people here are Hispanic, and most of them are Catholic. 

9. The diversity. Even though I come from a big city where people from all walks of life live, I also live in a town that is extremely diverse. Approximately 80% of the population are racial minorities (45% Hispanic, 30% African-American; 25% White). This is a very, very poor town, and my kids go to schools with other children they never would have been exposed to in the suburbs or in private schools (at least not at the same percentage–Elizabeth is one of 3 White kids in her entire class). The rate of people with college degrees is very low, but it does allow for us all to learn from each other and to see how to live together even though we come from different backgrounds and places.

10. Our church. I love the church community of which we are a part. Our church is at the top of our list on things I like best about this town. Great people with servant hearts. I’m glad to be a member here. 

11. The teachers and principals and counselors and nurses and administrators and paraprofessionals and janitors at my daughter’s school who know our children and us very well. Attending a small school has its perks, especially how “everyone knows your name.” These people care for the children and know where they come from, which, I think, makes a difference in being able to meet (and exceed) each individual child’s needs.

12. The numerous small businesses in the area. Many people who live here decide to open small businesses. Retail stores. Quaint boutiques. Delicious restaurants. Consignment shops. And other unique places. This entrepreneur mentality helps our community in many ways.

If you live in the country, what do you like about it?
If you don’t live in the country, what do you think you would like the most? The least?

  • Danielle

    Great post, Kara! My husband and I grew up in the Los Angeles area, but we live in Robinson now. I completely agree with your reasons about appreciating life out in the country (and I am similarly affected by the lack of traffic. I still find it mystifying that I had assumed that traffic was just a necessary part of life). Some of my reasons are more specific: I love the sight of my “city boy” husband on a riding mower out in the big pasture. I am amused by our chickens. I like how sometimes it is so quiet that I can hear the creek running after a storm. I like learning about gardening and beekeeping from our neighbors who have adopted us like their own grandkids. I love the old guys who drive farm equipment 10 mph around the potholes down our old road (though I do not like driving behind them)… 😉

    • kealex02

      I never knew any of this, Danielle! We have a lot in common. We had to buy a riding lawn mower when we moved here, too! My husband wants chickens, but I’ve told him no for the past year because of the smell and how loud they can get. But I really like the “idea” of chickens, so you’ll have to share your experiences with me. And, oh, the potholes…that’s where country life is not as good!

  • Melanie Dossey

    Sounds of contentment. I’m proud of you Kara. Melanie

    • kealex02

      Thanks, Melanie!

  • Don Corbitt

    Great article Kera. Small towns definitely have some advantages. I have always lived in small towns and don’t want it any other way!! Oh, tell Shane that I understood ALL of the words in your article!! See you at the t-ball game!!

    • kealex02

      That’s funny, Don! He uses a lot of big words because precision is important to him. And he’s smart, so I let it slide! But glad you could figure me out!

  • Caleh Patterson

    I absolutely love this post! I really enjoyed being in your classes and having you as an advisor, and I love that I can stay in touch with you and your life and still learn from you through this medium. I grew up in Houston too. I wasn’t born there, but I lived there from first grade through college. Now I live in Brownstown, Indiana, which has a population of 3,000. I live out on a farm (there are literally fields of corn outside my window) and we drive down a 2/3 mile gravel lane just to get from the road to our house. It took some adjustment for sure, but I absolutely love it. I love being able to take the dog outside in my pajamas and know that no one can see me. I love the peacefulness of this place. It’s quiet and beautiful and it makes me appreciate what I have so much more than I used to. I also love that people leave their houses and cars unlocked all the time, and people sleep with their windows open. It’s a much more trusting community than Houston was. Since my dad is a pastor at one of the many Lutheran churches around here, we’re never short of beef, pork, corn, tomatoes, you name it and people bring it to us just because they want to. I’m always amazed at the generosity of the people here. I love them.

    • kealex02

      Thanks, Caleh! I’m glad you’re reading it. What beautiful words you wrote about living in the country. Your words painted a beautiful picture and allowed me to visualize the serenity and peacefulness of your home. I can identify with the pajamas thing (hopefully, nobody sees me!), but we don’t live in quite that idyllic of a community. We still lock our doors and monitor our kids. And what gracious church people to always supply you with food! People are so generous! I hope you’re doing well and enjoying life in Indiana. I got my PhD in Louisville, and we always liked Indiana. We went to Indianapolis several times and to Chicago as well. Beautiful country!

  • Loadupmolly.wordpress.com

    I used to live in a tiny little town. I Lived there until I was 11. I enjoyed my childhood there, but I had more opportunities in a larger city once I moved. I think it is best to experience both ways of living. I miss the stars and exploring the woods, but I love brunch on a patio in uptown Dallas!

  • Houtex77

    I too live in Houston, have for the past 40 years. I came from a medium sized city in Louisiana so that I could enjoy the hustle bustle of the city. I find myself here mainly for my beloved church now, not much else. I still love Houston but I wonder if this city boy could in fact live in the country. Parts of me say yes while another part of me is even afraid to give it a try. Can single city people live happily in the country?