When the coronavirus lockdown was in full force, the dynamic energy of cities and towns disappeared and they became bleak, eerie, empty places.
As infrastructures closed and people were increasingly confined to their homes, they soon realised that urban areas were a scary and often lonely place to be. They didn’t know their neighbours, they were far from family and friends and they were far from any kind of decent green space to relax and enjoy themselves.
Understandably, this has led to more people than ever wanting to move to the country and embrace a different lifestyle. They dream of living in tight-knit communities, growing their own food and becoming more self-sufficient with solar panels, wind turbines or fuel storage systems.
So, what is it about the pandemic that has made this such an attractive prospect? Let’s take a look.
Self-Protection From Pandemic Isn’t Easy in A City
It’s hardly surprising that rural life feels so appealing when you consider how contagious the coronavirus appears to be. Many of us have found ourselves wishing that we could escape far away from the rest of humanity so that we can better protect ourselves over the past few months.
The countryside feels like a safer place to be than the high traffic, densely populated towns and cities across the country. With fewer people around, it’s much easier to maintain social distancing practices, avoid touching those high-risk surfaces and reduce our risk of catching the virus.
A Reassessment Of What Is Important
The lockdown itself has also reminded thousands of us of what is important in life. Initially, many people moved to the larger cities because they loved the faster pace of life, the culture and they wanted to have greater job opportunities.
However, when the lockdown happened, all of this seemed to be stripped away overnight. Formerly thriving city streets were ghost towns. Pubs, clubs, theatres, galleries, restaurants, cafes and gyms were all closed.
With only grey urban life and their four walls around them, people started to realise that what really makes life important is friends, family connections, outdoor space and tight knit communities, not the bright lights of the big cities.
As reported in the Financial Times, “In the UK, potential buyers are definitely pining for the countryside. Online searches for homes in rural and coastal locations have increased since the country went into lockdown 10 weeks ago. In the first week of May, the number of searches for homes in rural locations on Zoopla was up 68 per cent compared with the first week of March.”
With the streets emptier than before and widespread reports of wildlife returning to urban areas, many people have also become more aware of the impact their daily habits have on the environment. In response, more homeowners are opting to live the rural lifestyle by doing the following:
- Reducing food waste or, alternatively, composting food waste
- Making more ethical shopping choices, i.e., buying second-hand items or boycotting big brands
- Downsizing – selling what you don’t need
- Using a plastic bunded oil tank – ideal for oil storage, producing hot water and central heating
- Growing your own food
Homeowners are aiming to become as self-sufficient as possible and proving that it is doable.
Working Remotely Is Easier Than Ever
The coronavirus pandemic has also shown people and their employers that remote working isn’t only possible- it can be an efficient way of maintaining a career and running a business without needing to pay the high prices of a city.
Although remote working is far from being a new phenomenon, employers were always reticent to allow their employers to work in this way.
Back in 2013, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer famously banned working from home, saying “To become the absolute best place to work, communication and collaboration will be important, so we need to be working side-by-side. That is why it is critical that we are all present in our offices.”
Business owners believed that without their staff being in physical attendance, team members wouldn’t perform at their best and their businesses would suffer. But the pandemic has forced them to make it happen and shown them that remote working can open the doors to numerous opportunities.
Employers, employees and the self-employed have discovered a new way of living and working by realising that they don’t need to be in the city or commute for hours to make a decent living. They can move to rural locations and continue with their career without having to make any compromises.
More Than Coronavirus Pandemic
But it’s not only the Coronavirus pandemic that has caused this change although the coronavirus pandemic has increased the number of people seeking a new life in the countryside, it’s not the only cause.
With an increase in knife crime, pollution, climate change, the high cost of living and lack of affordable housing, the numbers of people moving from the city to the country has been increasing for the past few years.
According to an article in the Guardian newspaper last year; “More than a third of a million people moved out of the city last year , suggesting a historic turning point.”
A move to the countryside has long been the logical step for anyone wishing to live a more fulfilling lifestyle away from the stress and demands of city life.
Although this number has increased over recent years, the pandemic has shown more people that working remotely and living in a greener place with a lower cost of living is easier than they previously thought, and it could help them to stay safe from the virus. Only time will tell whether this trend continues.
(This article is a contribution by Imogen Clarke, Freelance writer, dog lover and coffee addict )