This isn’t Working for Me Anymore.

I grew up in the 7th largest city in Canada – Mississauga, Ontario.

From a young age, I had a strong appreciation for wildlife, nature, and natural spaces. A fondness that was certainly fostered by family camping trips, weekends at the cottage and many visits to my Aunt and Uncles home on Pigeon Lake. As I grew older, I started to think about living in a small city, one that would offer me a greater sense of community and natural areas rather than a lack of community and concrete. Nature can have a huge impact on people’s mental health and when you’re in the city, you don’t necessarily feel that connection and I was missing out.

I was sick of the Mon-Fri routine: get up early, get ready for work, do the dirty commute, work all day, do the dirty commute again, get home, make dinner, basically go to bed, wake up, and do it all again. I was, as Loverboy put it in 1981, working for the weekend. When that weekend finally arrived, I usually had the car packed-up to get the hell outta the City.

After considerable thought and much to the surprise of my family and friends, I chose not to follow the trends of urbanization. Instead, I decided it was time for me to trade in the city life for a more rural lifestyle, so my girlfriend and I packed our things and moved to Peterborough County.

Once we were all settled-in, it didn’t take long for us to notice we were much more relaxed, it wasn’t really about the work life and the go-go-go mentality anymore. We were now working to live as opposed to living to work. We’d spend time in the yard chatting with our new neighbours and take in the amazing stars at night, and the odd Northern Lights show too. We could keep our windows open and listen to the birds, no longer was it the noise of planes, trains and automobiles. Have I mentioned the house prices? I’m talking ‘bout houses on quiet streets, in safe neighbourhoods, a real yard we could use, and mail delivery right to my door! Yeah those kinda houses. My dollar certainly went much further then back in the City, friends and family that visited would awkwardly ask what I had paid, I’d proudly answer and pause for the inevitable jaw drop. I was also quite pleased to hear that my auto insurance rate was to be cut nearly in half when I made the call to change my address. House and insurance aside, I found lower costs of living on many things including gasoline. With all the adulting things checked off, it was time to discover my new habitat; endless trails, rivers, lakes, parks, festivals, markets, small independent shops and restaurants. With each passing day, Peterborough County was feeling more and more like home. I was happy and knew I had made the right decision.

It wasn’t all fun and games, there was a learning curve for this city boy.

I was used to flushing the toilet and things would go away, turning on the tap for clean water. I approached my Uncle that lived on Pigeon Lake and was a wealth of knowledge, educating me about septic system do’s, don’ts and maintenance, wells and the importance of regular water testing. He also suggested that I invest in a small gas generator, I did, and am grateful for that tip. I’d later find out that power outages that usually lasted minutes to hours in the City, but in rural areas they can last hours to a day. Sure, at times it can be a little bit more difficult as far as conveniences go; not being able to get anything at a moment’s notice. But, you adapt quickly, become better at planning and Amazon Prime will always have my back too.

Fast forward 15+ years, my girlfriend became my wife, we have two children and we certainly do not regret our decision of leaving Mississauga. The childhood we can provide for our kids will certainly be different from ours. They have already begun to share my appreciation for wildlife and nature, they are immersed in it 7 days a week, I had Saturday and Sunday. They attend a small school, I attended schools that easily had 10x the number of students. They have numerous parks, playgrounds, splash pads, outdoor skating in the winter, a free zoo with a family train. Yes, a train. A train that I’d argue is the best $2 experience you can share with your kid. Many of these things are something they may never truly appreciate as it is their norm, but I see the value and can appreciate everything this County has to offer.

We head back every so often to visit family and friends, and its quickly apparent that everything we despised about City living has only grown exponentially; houses as far as the eye can see, big box stores everywhere, seemingly endless traffic, I could go on. Within hours of being back in Mississauga, my anxiety is just tweaking. I feel a change coming on, a Bruce Banner sort of change and I start to become aggressive, at this point I just want to leave. I can honestly say that every time I’m returning from visiting my City dwelling friends, that moment I pull off the 401 and head around the large bend to enter the 115, I’m thankful I had the courage to Make a Move to a rural life.

If you are considering making a similar move, I know you have questions that need answers. You’re probably asking yourself “Can we do this?”. My answer to you is yes, yes you can do it, and you should do it. I’ll Help. 705-868-4582 or visit our Relocating page here for more information.

Jeff Park

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