Since mid-2020, people have been on the move in many ways.

The pandemic caused a shift the likes of which we have never seen in our lifetime. Apartment living in urban centres, life in bedroom communities of larger cities and life “downtown” suddenly seemed optional. People were looking to the countryside, to small towns and wanted space, fewer people and the feeling that comes with friendly communities, and recreation close by.

In some ways, this is nothing new. There have always been people and families looking to get closer to the land. We have all read stories about the challenges faced by urbanites trying to learn how to farm, manage wood-burning heat and long driveways in the winter months.

Many of the same challenges still exist for those moving from the city to the country. Moving from an apartment or a condo to a rural property means thinking about the amenities — or lack thereof — which come with that alluring log home on a country road.

The quantity and quality of your drinking water may be something you have never had to think about.  The age of your septic system, whether it complies with the size of your home (septic systems are built in accordance with the number of people your home can accommodate), is something that must be considered. You have to ask about the septic system, its age and find out whether it is approved by the local authority. When a property is being sold, the owners usually arrange to have the septic tank pumped, or emptied, before the new owners take possession of the property.

What kind of internet service is available at the rural property you are considering?

How long is the driveway? Was the owner doing his or her own snow-clearing or is there a local contractor or farmer who is able to plough and or blow the snow off your driveway during the winter? (Note, that in the country, you are more likely to call it your “road” or “the lane” and not “the driveway.”

If you have school-age children, where is the nearest school? Is the school board considering the closure of that school? How long is the bus ride for your kids?

What kind of heating is in the home? While the allure of a wood stove or fireplace is irresistible, it is not ideal if this is the only source of heating if you are not committed to having someone at home to keep the home fires burning all the time during the winter. A wood-burning appliance needs to be approved by a certified professional. Chimneys need to be in good working order and they, too, need regular cleaning if you are consuming a lot of wood.

It may sound like a lot to think about and it is — but everyone who lives in the country and loves it will tell you it is all worth it.

Owning your own piece of land, whether it is a lot or acreage, can create a lifestyle like no other. Growing your own food, being a little more self-reliant and enjoying nature at your doorstep, can create a life that includes time to watch sunsets and listen to bird sounds which change with the season, the weather and the time of day.

One becomes more attuned to the seasons and the passage of time. The pace feels slower yet one can stay connected thanks to the internet and smartphones.

If you are making a big move, do some research, talk to your realtor, and spend some time visiting the area you are considering. Attend a few events, stop in at a few stores, and meet people.

Getting a feel for rural communities can be a fun experience — and look beyond the community you are considering — each small town and the rural road has its own personality. Before you know it, something about a particular crossroads or town will speak to you.

You will know when it is time to listen.