What happens when you swap England’s rolling hills for the Big Smoke? Aside from the obvious rent hike, of course…
To a weary city-dweller, there’s something romantic about the idea of living in the countryside, whether it’s the idyllic views, the quiet days, or the vague feeling that you’ve wandered into a Thomas Hardy novel. But Escape to the Country doesn’t tell the full story, and anyone who relocates from the shires to the bright lights of London will quickly unearth a few truths about your new reality – so to speed the process up, we’ve summarised them for you.
1. You’ll never understand how people can complain about public transport.
Yes, TfL and co get their fair share of criticism, and let’s be honest, it’s because they’re kind of an easy target. But you’ve spent time in the Dark Ages, where the buses run once an hour – if they deign to turn up at all – and stop at 10pm. Armed with this knowledge, you’ll swiftly realise that a journey on the Northern line with your face inches from someone’s armpit is a small price to pay for this freedom of movement.
2. You can’t possibly run out of amazing things to do.
Okay, so if your idea of fun is chasing a wheel of cheese down a frighteningly steep hill, then we’ll admit the countryside may be for you after all. But for those of us who get our kicks from rooftop bars, silent discos, and niche food festivals, London clearly comes out as the winner on this one. Now if only there was a handy website to tell you all about those great things to do…
3. Your stories about village life become surprisingly charming.
Absolutely ridiculous!! Been trying to send a text for the past 15 minutes but there is not one speck of signal in this house! #VillageLife
— Mariah Westlake. (@Mariah_Westlake) August 30, 2014
These used to be legitimate grievances about how backwards life can be out in the shires. Now, however, you can use them at parties to amaze people who think that Richmond is ‘basically the countryside.’ How many of them can claim they once saw a woman taking her pet goat out for a walk, leash and all?
4. Your days of knowing your neighbours are over.
Once, you knew all the minutiae of Jeff and Carol’s lives. What they ate last night, what they really think of the family at number 6, and where they went on Saturday (spoiler alert: it was probably the garden centre. It usually is). But Jeff and Carol are a distant memory now, and the reality is you’ll never meet your neighbours unless they sign for your latest Amazon impulse buy. And that’s fine, because they’ll probably just move in a couple of months anyway.
5. You’ll realise just how isolated your hometown is.
No shop, no cash machine, only one pub?! What madness is this? It doesn’t matter if your hometown can claim to be mentioned in the Domesday Book (#humblebrag) if can’t wander out your front door and fetch yourself an unhealthy snack in under ten minutes.
6. You’ll have a lot less time (but you’ll use it so much better).
A strange thing happens once you cross the boundary from The Real World to The Countryside. The air feels fresher, birds sing in chorus, and time slows down to the lazy pace of an endless summer (we may be overselling this somewhat). Think this means you’ll get more done? Nope, it’s more time to spend idly contemplating how much more interesting life would be in the capital, where time rushes by in a blur of pop-ups, bar crawls, and the inevitable weekday commute.
7. And most importantly, you’ll know you made the right choice.
London may be sprawling, chaotic, and terrifying in the eyes of the village folk, but the reality is, there’s nowhere else quite like it on earth. And let’s be honest, once you’ve had a taste of the lifestyle, you wouldn’t trade living here for all the cider in Somerset.*
*We may change our answer next time someone tries to charge us £13.40 a pint.