A Year In The Countryside: What We Didn’t Expect About The Simple Life

Megan Schetzsle / Insteading

Last year, my husband and I uprooted our entire lives in search of the simple life. At the time, we were living in the big city of Austin, Texas. Our hope was to escape what we associated with life in the city: busyness, traffic, and the desire to “keep up with the Joneses.”

When we moved, I was seven months pregnant and dreamed of raising our baby-on-the-way in a new environment. We sold almost everything we owned, quit our jobs, and broke the lease on our apartment.

Finding The Simple Life 

We moved to a little log cabin in the countryside outside of Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The cabin is the definition of simple living: small, rustic, and near the mountains. It’s the kind of place where the stars come out at night, animals (moose, fox, deer) wander by, and the neighbors all know each other’s names.

exterior of cabin with a mountain view
Megan Schetzsle / Insteading

This is it! we thought when we arrived. We had left the stresses of city life behind us. Surely life would be much simpler in the countryside.

But we were in for a few surprises. My husband and I were both born and raised in big cities, and we knew nothing of country life! It’s now been a year since we moved to our cabin and we’ve learned so much — most of it completely unexpected.

Related Post: Lessons Learned From Our First Year of Cabin Life

Keep reading for the biggest surprises that we had moving from the city to the country. And if you’re thinking of moving to the countryside, there are a few lessons from our experiences that will save you!

Surprise 1: Daily Life Slowed Down  

Our first surprise came as we adjusted to our new pace of life. This is ironic because a slower pace of life was the main reason why we moved to the countryside. But we never thought about what a slower pace would actually look like on a daily basis. 

For us, our new routine now included things like going to the grocery store only once a week, cooking dinner every night, spending more time outdoors, and overall less busy days. This routine looked very different from our life back in Austin.

exterior of cabin
Megan Schetzsle / Insteading

Even though it was what we wanted, we were completely unprepared for it. I struggled with things like not having a grocery store down the road or the option to order takeout for dinner. I found it challenging to have less busy days, and constantly tried to fill my downtime.

Surprise 2: Downsizing Has Its Perks 

We adjusted to this change of pace quickly, though, and worked to establish new routines. A year later, some of those things that seemed inconvenient are my favorite parts of country life. For example, I look forward to cooking dinner as part of our nightly routine.

This next surprise was a good one. The process of downsizing to move to the country had a lot of benefits.

Related Post: Tiny House Transition: Downsizing

When we moved to our cabin, we sold almost everything we owned. We simplified our lives by getting rid of 90% of our things. I thought that I would miss them, but I didn’t. 

In the process of downsizing, we realized that we need less than we think we do. And now that we have this mindset, we’ve worked to keep our belongings minimal.

view from inside the cabin
Megan Schetzsle / Insteading

Downsizing made me nervous at first, but it’s had long-term benefits. We’ve saved money by buying fewer things. And we’ve kept our home uncluttered because we’re more intentional with what we buy.

Surprise 3: Simple Can Be Hard Work

If you’re reading this and you already live in the countryside, you might be chuckling at this last surprise. Most people are familiar with this one: living in the country comes with hard work!

When I imagined winters in our cabin, I thought of cozy nights spent by the wood stove. I didn’t think of all the work it would take to haul in the firewood to make those fires! Or I imagined happily picking ripe vegetables from our garden but had no idea of the work that it takes to grow them.

wood stove inside cabin
Megan Schetzsle / Insteading

We quickly discovered when we arrived at the cabin that simple doesn’t mean easy. There are new parts of our lifestyle that take hard work, but the lifestyle is absolutely worth it. A year later, we’re much more used to the chores and adventures that come with country living. Especially after our first harsh winter (minus 20-degree temperatures and blizzards). 

The Biggest Surprise Of Them All 

Perhaps you can guess by now that the biggest surprise of moving to the country was … the simple life isn’t so simple. At least not in the ways that we assumed back in the city.

Yes, we do have a slower pace of life that we love. We get to spend more time outdoors, more time with each other, and more time in the beauty of our surroundings. And life is less busy and less stressful than when we lived in the city.

But it hasn’t really been simple.

baby near fence line in grass
Megan Schetzsle / Insteading

It’s been full of challenges, lessons, and beautiful days. It’s been a time of growth and new beginnings. It’s been the best decision we ever made for our family. 

Related Post: 5 Tips For Raising A Baby In A Tiny Home

The simple life for us looks like a lot of learning and discovering a new pace of life. Even though it’s been full of surprises, it’s also been much more rewarding than we expected.

What does the simple life mean to you? Have you ever tried to simplify your life and been surprised by the results?

Megan lives with her husband and son in an 800-square-foot log cabin in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. In search of a simpler pace of life, Megan and her husband quit their jobs, sold what they owned, and moved across the country to their mountainside cabin. Megan blogs about her all things cabin lifestyle at The Cabin Diary.

Written by Megan Schetzsle

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    I grew up on a farm, so I learned early on that this lifestyle isn’t easy. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything!
    It’s fun to read your description of moving to a homestead. Thanks for sharing!

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