Leaving the City for Land, Homesteading and More

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If you’ve been considering leaving the city, you’re in good company. While moving out of urban areas isn’t new, in recent months, as people changed routines, it made many people reflect on priorities differently.

Many city dwellers moved to the suburbs or the country for land and space. They wanted a greater sense of control and to be able to become more self-reliant. With this came a slower pace, a different lifestyle.

While a desire to get away from it all is nothing new, in recent months with the pandemic, as people changed routines, many sought a different way of life.  

Many people who once commuted to work were able to work from home for the first time. Others were working in the throes of it all with increased pressures and concerns.

In many ways, overall, people had had more time. Everyone slowed down as most stores, restaurants, schools and activities were closed.

This gave them the chance to reflect on a different lifestyle. They considered new ways to live.

What they once saw as normal — the commute, traffic, and busyness — all of a sudden seemed exhausting. They started thinking about a slower pace in general.

Many urban dwellers were considering ways to homestead and become more self-reliant. This is the first time many of us have faced shortages. We were used to grocery store shelves being full, not bare.

Many people were caught unprepared and don’t want to be in this situation again.

Relocating out of the city to an area for homesteading creates more opportunities to grow your own food and/or to raise livestock and poultry for an ongoing food source. Whether you move to a home with acreage or a small backyard, it gives you some control.

Leaving the City for the Country

While some were panic moves, for others, the exodus of people has been a long time coming. There has been a growing interest in moving out of urban areas for land and more space, less congestion, homesteading, and more freedoms. Moving away from crowded cities can be desirable for these reasons:

  • More land, green space
  • Ability to be more self-reliant to be able to provide for their families
  • More space for an extra freezer, generator, and emergency supplies
  • Less rules
  • Enjoy outdoors
  • Slower pace
  • Less people, more privacy
  • Less pollution 
  • Get more for the money; less expensive
  • Can be better weather

While there are many things to love about rural living, leaving the city doesn’t have to mean relocating to a faraway rural area. A move out to the suburbs can be a big change as well. 

Moving out of the city for land 

Many people, tired of being cooped up in their homes started thinking: If I had land right now, I could…

If they had space right now to go outside, how different it would be. Not only would they have somewhere to go, they could learn homesteading skills and pursue outdoor interests and hobbies. They could prep and be prepared for the future.

With an acre or any amount of green space they could learn to grow their own food by growing vegetables or planting an orchard or a few fruit trees. There would be an area to start a compost pile. There would be enough distance from neighbors to start beekeeping.  

More land equals more opportunity.

Depending on their interests, with some land, the opportunities for becoming more self-reliant are endless. Perhaps they could begin with poultry, raising backyard chickens or raising ducks for an egg and meat source.

Or they may consider farm animals. There are many to consider for backyard farms. Raising and caring for livestock such as miniature cattle breeds or specifically mini milking cows provides a food source. 

There would be room and less regulations which means you could consider raising goats for profit for a convenient milk and meat source. 

moving out of the city
With the pandemic, many city dwellers left the high-cost cities and moved to the countryside. ~ Image credit: Dawn Head

Become self-reliant

In uncertain times, the ability to be more self-sustainable is appealing. 

COVID-19 taught us there is only so much even the most ambitious person can do while living in the city due to the lack of property. Moving to an area with some outdoor space means families grow vegetables and fruit. They would have room for gardens or to set up hydroponics and raise animals for food.

In addition to having a secure food source, it can mean being self-sufficient and sustainable in other ways. This may include installing a rainwater collection system.

Another option is installing solar power electricity. It can mean composting. All of these outdoor pursuits can give families more security in uncertain times. They will be less dependent on the grid.

Moving out of the city often affords more space for a generator and extra freezer or refrigerator. It may mean additional storage space for emergency supplies and areas to store food long term

A big reason for wanting to move away is people living in apartments, condos and homes in big cities may be feeling cooped up and dependent in ways they never did before. They may be looking to relocate for more space and more control. 

Leaving the city for less rules

In large cities, urban agriculture is often difficult. Not only is there not always the space, but there are regulations, ordinances, and laws. It would be rare to be able to raise farm animals in the city. There are typically ordinances against raising livestock. Some allow backyard chickens; however, that’s typically the exception. 

Leaving the city for a residence with outdoor space and less regulations and ordinances means you can do more things.  

Outdoor space

Living in the city, some people have balconies, decks, rooftops or small backyards. However, living in high rises, many don’t have access to any outdoor space.

With COVID-19, many residents in metropolitan areas were tired of being inside. If they were lucky enough to have access, they were grateful for the chance to go outdoors. They may have started homesteading pursuits and wish they had the space to do more inside their homes. 

Without outdoor access or space, even the most ambitious person will have a difficult time homesteading.

In addition to being able to leave the confines of one’s home for a change of scenery, with outdoor space means you can do more things: bonfires, barbeque, woodworking, welding, shooting bows and arrows, work on cars, area for kids to play, enjoy nature and fresh air, etc.

Leaving the city for a slower pace 

Leaving metro areas for a less busy lifestyle means there is more time to spend with family, pursue hobbies, and pursue ways to be more self-reliant and to learn how to be better prepared for the future.

There simply aren’t that many places to rush off to. There will still be responsibilities, and work, and children and activities, but there won’t be the same type of rushing around. 

Less people

With the pandemic, it was difficult for city residents to walk outside without encountering people. Leaving for areas with less population density, quiet neighborhoods, and less-crowded streets became appealing. 

Relocating meant leaving an urban area for a suburban one or it might mean moving to the country.

City dwellings are typically compact with neighbors right next to neighbors. Leaving a metro area to move to the suburbs can be a positive change just to have some distance from neighbors, even if they are next door and across the street.

Less traffic and congestion

Once out of the city, things slow down. There isn’t the mass transit systems moving people from place to place. While there may be traffic or trains, and even a cow in the road depending on the area, there won’t be the day-to-day heavy traffic so prevalent in cities.

Leaving the city for privacy

With less people comes more privacy. Think of the often hundreds of people living in a high-rise building in a major metropolitan city. Everyone coming and going, sharing elevators, little-to-no access to private outdoor space. 

Relocating to the suburbs or to the country means more seclusion and privacy. In general, there is more space between neighbors’ homes. 

More privacy, less isolation

Some who felt isolated may have benefited from a sense of community — we’re in this together; neighbors helping neighbors. Even with so many people living among them in an urban setting, people living in cities often don’t have that feeling. 

Even with less population density, moving away from the city often means a greater sense of community with one’s neighbors, however far away they may be.

Less pollution

A side benefit of leaving the city is there will likely be less pollution. In cities, public transportation and individual vehicles contribute to pollution. There is also the light pollution from outdoor light. The night sky looks different from a rural vantage point.  

With so many people living in cities, there is more waste overall, including litter.

Less expensive 

Moving out of the city may mean lower expenses. There may be cheaper housing and rentals, lower property taxes and lower sales tax. Overall, you could save hundreds or thousands each year from lower prices.

You may be getting more for your money. Oftentimes, it means more living space and outdoor space for the same amount. This means for what people were paying in rent for a small residence in the city, in the suburbs or farther out, they may gain hundreds of additional square feet with access to outdoor space.

In the last nine years, one million people moved out of New York City and the tri-state area (Long Island, New Jersey, and Connecticut) according to Forbes. The same thing is happening across many American cities.

Different weather

While we can’t control the weather, moving away from a cold, harsh climate to somewhere like Florida, Arizona, or Texas can be appealing, especially as we get older.

What COVID Taught Us

In a way, the pandemic sent many people a message: You can live a different life. City dwellers were stuck inside. Those who once loved all that metro areas had to offer weren’t able to enjoy them. They weren’t able to enjoy all the opportunities that made living there so appealing.

People weren’t able to go to restaurants, museums, shopping, sporting events, theater, movies, and more… all of what makes living in a city desirable.

Everyone needed to eat at home and find their own entertainment. Once they slowed down, many people realized they didn’t miss the hustle and bustle of city life and always being busy.

They could make do with less. They could live more simply. People in cities wanted a simpler lifestyle. 

Also, as we age and are more settled, sometimes we look at the amenities of city living differently than when we are younger. 

Moving increased because of the pandemic and because of being able to work from home. 

Leaving busy cities for a home with more land for homesteading gives you greater opportunity to grow your own food, raise animals, and live more sustainably. Simply put, you will have the room to do it.

Moving away from the city to the country or a rural area also typically means you can do whatever you want with your land. You won’t have to worry about city restrictions, HOAs, or neighbors. 

What we went through these last months was a new experience for everyone. Especially for younger generations — to not be able to go to grocery stores or order food online and get exactly what we wanted.

This was the first time many of us experienced shortages. It was natural for people to want to do things differently. They may have had more time to imagine a different lifestyle… they may want a greater sense of control.

For us, we ran out of fresh foods a few times  — we weren’t going out for weeks — we were grateful to be able to go to our garden to pick arugula and kale for fresh foods to eat. We were also growing okra plants and watermelon in our raised garden beds. On our patio, we were growing tomatoes in pots and potatoes in 5 gallon buckets.

More than ever, we were thankful for our protein source with eggs. It was an amazing feeling to be able to share with neighbors.

We also had a second freezer in the garage. Many city homes don’t have space for an additional freezer. To grow more food, we built raised garden beds cheaply with extra wood from projects. 

Wanting to do something

City dwellers without a lot of space were buying seeds and plants to start gardens — growing mini gardens on balconies, outside their front door — anywhere they could to maximize space in gardens.

People were planning food storage and home canning. They started thinking about how much more they could do if they had the space to do it. 

Researching Places to Live

Especially with the internet, relocating has been popular and doable. Instead of being near a major airport for work travel, the internet has enabled people to travel less for work. With people working remotely now, it’s even more common. 

It’s easier than ever due to the internet. More people are able to work from home. They can live anywhere and still do their jobs or find a new job.

Also, relocating is easier because of all the research available online to find somewhere to move to. It gave city residents the opportunity to consider living in the country and the best rural places to live.

Learning about best states for homesteading and about free land has never been easier. People interesting in moving out of urban areas can research homes and properties for sale, including aerial views of properties. 

With enough time to research, people could learn about the climate and weather, research schools, healthcare, fire and police stations nearby, things to do, and more. 

The pandemic made it more appealing and gave people more time to research online. They were working from home. 

City Dwellers Leaving

People in big cities were learning ways they could live sustainably and feel like they were able to provide for their families if they had more space.

The pandemic changed people’s routines and views. After years of working the same job and coming home for dinner and going to bed, people had a chance to reflect on their lives.

People got back to the basics and enjoyed simpler ways, including spending time with their families, cooking, baking, taking walks, reading, gardening, and learning new skills. 

While some may enjoy an urban garden or yard, the majority of city dwellers lack green space. Many seek ways to live more sustainably and be more self-reliant and self-sufficient.

Relocating to the suburbs or to a rural area creates endless opportunities to grow vegetables, raise livestock, and pursue other hobbies for self-reliance or for fun. 

Typically in suburbs and out in the country, there is a greater distance from neighbors than when living in urban dwellings. There are more freedoms. 

Some living in American cities want to be ready for the next time something happens. Many people associate that with a change in lifestyle and moving away from crowded metropolitan areas.

Whether they are seeking more seclusion or privacy, less people in general, less expensive living, or more space, the pandemic has given many people the chance to reflect on their lives and what they want. With the internet, it’s easier than ever to sell your home and relocate to a more peaceful place.