Many of us enjoy a rural dream, where we move to a cottage remote from the town and live a country lifestyle, generally a slow one and are at peace with ourselves. I have lived in both country and town, and the country in which I did live was the rural west of Ireland,a remote spot two miles from the nearest village and ten miles from the town. What a place! I loved it, but life took its turns and it was not for ever. We possibly will return to the country one day, God willing,though not to Ireland.
Age matters. As you grow older you are reaching the point where you might be able to afford the move, but it is the point when you need soon will begin to need help, and this will generally come from relatives, so it is never a good idea to go too far away. So a long move is not a good idea. I live in North West England,so Wales, where I have a married daughter, is the furthest that I would go. Having relatives nearby is always important for illness or emergencies, and also, let us be clear, for companionship .Furthermore, country people are no more sociable than townspeople are, and you might not get friends very easily. However, the incomers who have difficulty with country people are the ones who throw their weight around and expect things done their way. Respect the people who already dwell in the countryside and the villages. Doing so will pay dividends.
Furthermore, if you have children, remember that they may miss their friends; and teenagers need an active social life, so they may not feel sweet about a move. Having a reluctant teenager around is not a pleasant experience.All involved in the move need to consent and have a stake in the migration.
You must think of the practical necessities of life. Country life some distance from shops and facilities can be a burden, especially if you have no car, or if the car breaks down and needs repairs. Last week mine broke down in front of the garage where I have my cars serviced. Luck, but that's in a town.Go to the country with your eyes open.
Economics of the situation.
You need a source of income to meet the needs of your lifestyle, and indeed basic needs with some surplus. If you have a pension, all the better. I am currently on early pension and will receive the state pension in eighteen months, and my wife enjoys a pension too. You might not have a pension, though, and so you must think of what you will earn. There are many people who telecottage, work from a rural location over the computer. Sometimes these are self-employed and at others employed by companies who allow them to work out of office, But beware, company policies can change and the firm that let you work out of office at one time might change its policy. What then? I am fortunate that my writing and my examining work can be done anywhere in Britain,so that is an advantage, but my wife still teaches part time, and that is not as movable as my work is, as it depends upon the availability of jobs in a new location. There are also parts of Britain where jobs are scarce. The basic rule for Britain is that the further North and West you go the economic opportunities become fewer. London is superb for opportunity, but it is quintessentially urban.A vitally important rule is that you should have the economic opportunities in place before you go. Setting off in hope is not good enough. A second rule is have a strong financial buffer of savings behind you. Such a buffer helps, as I found out last week when my clutch went. Not cheap!
There is also the problem of property prices. The utter failure of successive British governments to construct sufficient housing stock is raising house prices to obscene levels, so good rural accomodation in short supply and is expensive. House and land together cost much money. A property that you might be able to improve will cost less, but do you really want the unpredictable expense of a renovation, which always costs more than you expected?The older the building the more tricky the refurbishment, as you will see if you watch television shows on restoration.
If you get a piece of land, it is not a bad idea to grow from it, but I have heard of people who moved to get a smallholding and who found that they had neighbours who gave them difficulties, selfish yes, but a fact of life. On the other hand, there can be lovely neighbours. There is also the reality of the rural dream to contend with. My father had a friend who moved in retirement to a smallholding back in his native Wales. At first he began with everything, some cattle, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, geese, vegetables, but as he aged and the plot became harder, he cut down on the variety of his stock. It is not a good idea to overstretch. Specialise in a few crops at first and then, if you are ready, expand in type and volume.
If you are wealthy enough to buy a farm, remember that running a farm is not like running a garden.A large farm is a business, not a hobby and must be run as a business. It can suck up money and mistakes can be costly, so it must be managed properly to be viable and sustainable. There are companies that provide farm management services for people who own farms, and hiring one of these can be very beneficial. Too large a farm can be a burden.However, a farm that provides jobs for rural people will be a good means of making you popular, especially if you are decent and generous employer.
Whether or not we move to the country is yet to be decided, but I know where I will go and what sort of property we are seeking.I know the family conditions under which I will make the move. I know what my economic activities will be, but what I do not know is the state of my health. No one knows the future and illness can suddenly strike as you age. I am not staking too much on the future.But at all stages of life you should retaun a dream.