Leaving the Suburbs and Moving to the Country

A high-schooler shares her story about leaving the suburbs and moving to the country, including her experiences without modern conveniences and adapting to a new lifestyle.

| April/May 2003

A teenager shares her story about leaving the suburbs and moving to the country.

When her high school English teacher asked the class to write about their passions, 17-year-old Corrie Ryder submitted this report. It chronicles her choice to abandon her routine life in the suburbs and moving to the country for the challenges and rewards of country living.

At my house, deep in the woods outside of Parsonsfield, Maine, we don't stay up very late. We don't watch television much either, or spend useless hours glued to a computer screen. It's probably been a few months since I've heard the ching! of a toaster telling me my toast is done, or the annoying beep of a microwave after it pops my popcorn.

In fact, the only sounds you'll usually ever hear around my house might he the sound of chickens crowing, my brother and I bickering, or occasionally, the coyotes singing their hearts out under the dazzling starlight. It's amazing how quiet and calm things become when you live without on demand electricity and spend your days hidden like a secret, miles into the woods. It makes you realize how really chaotic and impatient modern life can be, and how wonderful and peaceful nature is.

The summer I learned to live without electricity, pavement and nothing but my family in a 16x16-foot house marked the beginning of many astounding discoveries and experiences for me. First, I found that living off the grid wasn't very hard; it was actually quite fun. I also discovered the magic and power in nature, an inspiring experience I will never forget. Last, I learned the love, support and comfort of having your family become your best friends, a bond not broken, but woven tighter, even after small — or big — arguments.

My creative, tenacious mother certainly had aimed for the "old style" of living when it came to finishing her house. Its character seeps from the walls and floor, revealing the story of a life created with love, talent and amazing imagination. The house itself is tucked safely away, sunken deep into the belly of the forest.

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