I grew up in a town on the edge of the countryside – not quite rural enough to be countryside, but far enough away from a city and take-aways that stayed open past 10pm to make it dull. To put it bluntly, I hated it. I hated that there was never anything going on, I hated that nothing interesting was in walking distance, I hated that it was so quiet in the dark, dead of night. I always had big dreams of running away to London and immersing myself in the hustle and bustle of big city life, content in the knowledge that there would always be someone around or something open.
Don’t be fooled, I still hate that town I grew up in and I never want to live there again. This isn’t a post about me having a complete 180 on my views, but it is an ode to learning to like the slowness and the quite of the countryside a little bit more.
Right now, I live in a flat in a place which straddles the border of a big city and the start of the countryside suburbs. I live on the corner of two of the busiest roads into the city, but the views from my bedroom are of fields which stretch for miles. Country houses, farms, wind turbine fields, trees – you name a countryside staple and you can see it from my bedroom and kitchen. I can walk into the city if I so please (although it takes at least 30 minutes to do so) and I can walk in the opposite direction for around the same amount of time and lose myself in fields and the soothing sound of babbling brooks and birdsong. Since moving here in November, I have spent many a weekend exploring the little hamlets and less-visited public walkways, stroking horses and getting my boots muddy.
And I love it. Enough to know that I would love a quiet countryside life when the stresses of my impending career and city life get too much one day. Alongside my city living ideas, I now have dreams of spending my weekends walking through fields breathing in crisp, clear country air, walking until I’m tired and stopping off at a cosy pub, settling in front of an open fire with a glass of wine (hopefully not alone).
I’m not ready for that just yet, but I now know that I will be. In the meantime, I want to spend more time away from the city and I want to spend more time outdoors, getting familiar with nature. I want to explore more of the country too not just my own backyard. That means The Cotswolds, Yorkshire, The Lake District – all of it.
At the moment though, I like that it’s never completely silent as I’m dropping off to sleep. There are always footsteps on the pavement below or a police car siren to puncture the night. The noise still brings me comfort and I can’t see that changing any time soon, but now I can pull open the blinds in the morning and read a book with a gorgeous view of green rolling hills.
At the moment I like my life living with the best of both worlds.
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