When it comes to choosing a place to live, raise a family, or retire, one must ask themselves the ultimate question; The City or The Country? Each has its own benefits and downfalls, but what makes someone choose one over the other?
Country dwellers are drawn to the peace, space and quiet, whereas city inhabitants prefer the opportunities, accessibility and restlessness that the city holds. Small business owners Chris Hocking and Phil Newman have both lived in the city and country at various stages of their lives, yet have settled on their current opposing lifestyles for reasons of health, family and business that best suit their needs.
City inhabitant and small business owner Chris Hocking, has lived in both the city and the country, yet feels city life supports and better suits his lifestyle and business. For Chris, its the proximity and choice available to him that he most loves in city living.
“I think personally it’s the activity; something’s always happening and in the city you’ve got everything centralized and you’ve got major events and that sort of thing…you have an array of choice with everything, and that’s down to shopping, markets and all that sort of thing.”
An hour long drive away from Chris Hockings’ shop in Richmond, Melbourne, will find you in Rural Gippsland, where Phil Newman has lived for over 25 years. Newman has also resided in both the country and city throughout his life, but due to his farming business, it is essential he live in a rural area, which he prefers. He worked as a dairy farmer for 20 years, and has recently starting a winery on his property in West Gippsland. Here he has raised a family and built a name for his winery.
“I prefer the country for its clean air and nice environment. Also there’s the ability to go lots of different places where there’s not many people, and its accessible.”
When it comes to setting up a business, the potential market and local community must be understood to reach the target customer. Phil Newman believes that the community will support your business as long as you support them. However, he notes that rural community life has been in decline in recent years.
“Community life in the country is less than it used to be, it’s less belonging to a community. It’s because there’s more city people, urban people, coming to our area so they don’t bring with them that sense of community. “
Health facilities and hospitals are also a major draw for Hocking, who suffers from MS, and needs to be close to a hospital at all times. He states that he would never move back to the country as this would take him too far from the medical facilities he needs.
“ I need to stay near medical services and specialists and all that sort of thing, which is another problem in the country for people in the health system who don’t have the options of specialists. If you need something like that in the country you tend to have to travel and that’s not always a good option if your not well.”
However Newman states that their local health facilities are more than adequate.
“We have a good hospital system. Further out in the country I don’t believe that’s quite the case. It’s lack of choice, just because of lack of population really, but we have a great choice here.”
A main issue raised when choosing the country or city is what would be better environment for raising a family. Newman believes that country life can be limited for young people, although the choices for schools are plentiful, with a selection of private and government primary and secondary schooling. Hocking believes that the country is a healthy environment for raising a family.
“I actually think for a young family I think the country is a good option for bringing up kids because I think people get more time to spend with their families.”
In the end it comes down to a personal preference. The differences between the country and city is a major factor when one is deciding on a particular lifestyle that is suitable to their needs. In Australia healthy, resourceful living can be found in either, and often a middle ground can be found for those who cannot decide between the two. Phil Newman has not completely ruled out the idea of moving back to the city. According to him, the rule is simple for adjusting to either a peaceful rural or buzzing city lifestyle “You just have to have a different mindset.” And perhaps that is what divides us.