Why I Really Love My Rural Life

| 11/13/2014 9:02:00 AM

Tags: rural living, homesteading, self sufficiency, Steve Maxwell, Ontario, Canada,

Almost 30 years ago I made one of the best decisions ever. It’s led to a surprisingly happy rural life for my family and I, and I’m very grateful for this. Part of my gratitude gives me the urge to tell others what I’ve found and to explain how it works. That’s what I’m doing here. Perhaps your own version of this life is just the thing for you, too.

Although I’m tempted to call what I do homesteading, that’s not the best description. The word “homesteading” implies some kind of Little House on the Prairie time warp, and while we do share something in common with Laura Ingalls and her family from the 1880s, there’s lots that’s different, too. That’s because the world we live in today has changed in ways that make modern homesteading better, easier and more satisfying.

The best word I know of to describe what I’m doing here in my rural life on Manitoulin Island is a term I made up myself. I am a “countrepreneur”, as in a “country entrepreneur”. Here’s what I mean by that:

“Countrepreneur: a person who combines small digital and physical business ventures, hands-on practical activities, a do-it-yourself attitude and hard work to earn a living in a rural setting without ever having to leave the property.”

A countrepreneur does a lot of things directly, as any old-time homesteader would. Growing food, raising animals, fixing machinery, building a house, and directly meeting energy needs as much as possible are all part of my life. But a countrepreneur also does everything necessary to earn the money they need with their own business ventures, without taking on work that makes them leave the homestead property. Why is this important? Time and focus.

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