Country vs. City Living

Lately Chris and I have been talking a lot about our future, and more specifically where we want our future to be.  We often struggle with the thought of living away from family, but beyond that, we have began to wonder whether we are city people or country people.  Up until a year or so ago, I would have said Chris was a city boy. He loves the mountains and all the recreation they provide for us, but he has always needed to be at least near a city.  Lately, however, he has begun to crave more simplicity.  Less traffic, the peacefulness and tranquility of the country (and mountains!).  I am torn.  I have always felt like a fish out of water in cities, but I love the energy and social opportunities of living in or near to a big city.

If I am being honest, I would say I am more pulled to the country than the city, but with the potential for adding kids to the equation, I want them to have the opportunity to experience all that the city has to offer: culture, buzz, excitement, fun restaurants, museums, etc.  But I also love the idea of instilling the less-is-more philosophy in them.  So which one is right?

I guess one of them doesn't have to be wrong.  It's just a really tough decision to make.  I love the idea of having lots of space for kids (and myself!) to run and play - safely.  To live a childhood much like mine, where I could be out playing all day, only to come home as the sun was setting for dinner.  To have a big old rambling farmhouse with lots of kids running in and out all day.

A big old farm table to enjoy meals around together - the more the merrier!

A bright cheery, country kitchen overlooking a big back yard.

Making jam in the kitchen with the windows open, country music playing on the radio.  (never mind that I don't even know how to make jam! yet!)

Hanging clothes out to dry.

But I also feel a pang of guilt at the thought of raising kids in a place where they don't get to experience the buzz and energy of a beautiful city.  To learn about and appreciate other cultures.  I think this is an invaluable lesson to learn.

And to think that they won't know how to ride public transport.  For all its crammed glory, it is almost a right of passage to learn to navigate the world of public transportation.

Sharing beautiful meals at this creatively lit downtown sidewalk cafe.

Am I crazy?  Don't answer that.  I am aware that it is possible to have the best of both worlds by living near enough to the city that you make it back on occasion to experience the joys of overcrowding.  But I know all too often, those trips become few and far between, as you settle into your everyday life outside the city.  I also want to be far enough out that we get the proper country life, with a bit of space, not just in the 'burbs like we are now.  

And then there is also the (most important) thought, which is commuting.  It can overwhelm a planner such as myself if I let it get carried away.  Luckily, we don't have plans to go anywhere just yet, as we are still very much enjoying our existing place.  

I wonder where we will end up one day - city or country...?

Which do you prefer?  What are the pros and cons of each?  A girl could use some perspective.