Understanding rural distances

understanding rural distances

If you’ve just moved to a rural or regional area, the nearest supermarket may easily be 50km away. The same might also be the case for a post office or chemist, leaving you balancing the costs of petrol and car maintenance with the joys of peace and quiet. Both sides of the coin might leave you very well satisfied. If not, read on….

Don’t doubt

Firstly, chances are that if you love your new rural abode, you won’t be bothered by the opinions of visiting friends and family from the city. But be prepared for them to be shocked by the distances you now have to travel to get to undervalued places such as supermarkets. More than one country dweller has chuckled inwardly at the horror of guests who can’t understand them being quite OK with driving an hour to do the grocery shopping. But rustic residents quickly become used to travelling such distances with long hours on the road becoming the norm, rather than a rarity. While you’re getting to this contentment point, your former city self may also be initially shaken by qualms. But instead, why not think of it this way? Firstly, yes, your nearest grocery store takes a while to get to but the time spent driving there is similar to the hours you spent stuck in commuter traffic in the city. Then too, the drive through gorgeous bushland or along a coastline – displaying scenery you still find amazing – can be incredibly relaxing, and you can use the time to listen to some great music or podcast.

On the road – again

A warning though: try to avoid driving early in the morning or at sunset as your peaceful drive could end up in a nasty accident with a kangaroo, wallaby or similar! On this note, add bull bars and ‘roo lights to your list of crucial inclusions for your country-style car. A good tool kit including a spare tyre in good condition is also important.

When you arrive

So far, you’ve enjoyed a relaxing, scenic drive for an hour or two. You haven’t hit any wildlife and you’ve just arrived at your “local” town with its one main street and a few shops. One of the best points about country living happens as soon as you open the car door. People wave, stop on the street to chat with you, and you know the store owner, café waitresses and post office manager. It’s a fabulous experience and brings a comforting ambience to your grocery shopping day. This is what makes country living so special especially when compared to a busy, trendy shopping centre with a wealth of shops you never even entered. The density that you hate is far away and has been replaced by a loving connection you never thought you’d find. And once you’ve finished your shopping, some wonderful tourist meccas are only metres away.

The good part

Of course, when you don’t need bread and milk, the sheer simplicity of country living is where you’ll be reimbursed for the extra petrol you have to buy for grocery road trips – or to fix your car when it’s been battered by a roadkill. No nearby shopping centres, restaurants and cafes, and every reason to dress unpretentiously, will have you saving big time on clothes, eating out and more. Along with the serenity on your doorstep, which you’ve craved for years, there’s definitely something to be said for rural living and its long distances.