Minnesota Public Radio just asked people who have moved to rural Minnesota what brought them there, or brought them back. (Hat-tip to Daily Yonder.)
They have a variety of great responses. Here’s a sampling:
My community is nothing like I expected and everything that I had hoped. Growing up in a huge city like Philadelphia, I had no idea what to expect from a small (REALLY small) town. What I have found is that it is one of the most artistically creative places I have ever been. To be able to participate in a molten iron pour or attend a barn dance or string quartet performance with your neighbors is so inspiring. I have been more artistically energized here in this town of 750 than any of the “big cities” I have lived in. People seem actually more open-minded than in the metropolitan areas in which I have lived. Since you know everyone, suffering is more real, as is joy. —Adrienne Sweeney, moved to Lanesboro 10 years ago
It is more than we expected. We absolutely love living where we do. It is so quiet and peaceful. We love that our kids have the oppurtunity to help raise pigs each summer for our own consumption as well as a vegetable garden. We feel fortunate to have our own little piece of heaven far away from the traffic and congestion of the metro area. The biggest challenge is the commute. Most of the year it is not a problem, but winter traveling can be tricky. One thing that has made rural living much easier in recent years is the ability to shop online. —Terri Barrett, moved to Murdock six years ago
Not every answer is positive, however:
It is hard to get some necessities without driving to larger towns. Everything is just a bit more expensive. Worst of all after my company-wide layoff I have found it difficult to find similar work, and the people who live here are underpaid for their skill and education levels. —Cat Schermeister, moved to Menahga eight years ago
It has been a much more difficult transition than I anticipated. Many people who are here grew up and have family connections. Our biggest challenge is forming relationships with others in hopes that we can have adult conversation other than amongst each other. —Alyssa Besonen, moved to Madison, Minn. three years ago
The comments are part of a larger story about “brain gain” in rural Minnesota, which has positives and negatives, according to the MPR story.
After Dakotafire’s “Planning Your Dakota Homecoming” special section in our spring issue, we are working on a similar story, talking with people who have moved back to the rural Dakotas about their experience. Watch for it in June!