Saturday, 12 July 2014

The "Good Old" Country Life

I talk to a few people around the city, and they all seem to be under the same delusion - life in the country is much simplier, more wholesome and overall better than city life.  Yeah...nah.

Don't get me wrong, there are people who make country living their own and good on them, but even they can't ignore the negatives that come with living rurally.

First off, poverty.  Yup, it's out in the country too.  Whether it's dole bludgers or farmers hit by poor farming conditions, it can get really dicey financially out in the wild wild west.  It doesn't help when you then add the nasty environmental changes that can devastate a farm to the point of collapse, and insurance can only go so far.  You still then have to clean up and get the farm running profitably again, which takes time.

This can then lead to other issues like depression and alcohol/drug abuse/domestic violence.

One thing I found is that the drinking culture is certainly alive out west, particularly amongst the younger crowd and when things are getting harder.  It's almost a rite of passage every weekend to head to the pubs and drink and play pool/darts/gamble on the NRL.  For some, alcohol goes in hand with drugs, which leads to the gang problem.

"Gangs?  In the country?" You may ask.  Oh yes, there is plenty of gang activity out in the country.  And since the police are spread thin, far and wide around the rural landscape, chances are they can probably get away with it.  Out in the country, you don't go out walking by yourself at night - if the gangs don't get you, then you're probably going to get hit by a car, because footpaths and street lights are either non-existant or faulty.  At least in the bigger cities public transport seems to run forever and there's more of it, but out in the sticks the people are usually ignored when it comes to things like transport and other things like roads.

Speaking of transport, good luck getting medical attention quickly if you need it.  Living far away from society means living away from things like shops and hospitals - some of my friends need to drive at least 15 minutes/half an hour to get to the nearest corner store!

I've already spoken about domestic violence and how mining is encroaching on farmland, which are other problems that come with living rurally - even if you do have a successful farm, how long before it's taken off you by the government for mining?

You would think that given that farming is where we get most of our food and produce, not to mention a fair bit of industry, that the governments would recognise the problems associated with rural living and try to at least make it so things like infrastructure are top-notch to try and off-set some of the negatives, but it looks like my rural friends and family are probably going to remain ignored for a while to come.  They still can't get a train service running from Toowoomba to Brisbane - there's Greyhound Buses, but even they're a bit meh.

If you're going to live out in the country, sure you'll enjoy the benefits of fresher air and more autonomy, but expect also that you will face some very tough times.

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