Some reflections I wanted to share after getting home from our trip.
There is so much happening in this part of the world that is so different from what we experience at home. Traffic, freeways, toll bridges. City life. Busyness. It makes you realize just how quite and calm rural life is. In the country we have space, we have time. I feel like the city is always rush rush rush, always people trying to get somewhere.
As we were driving home I was thinking about how much time people here must spend in their cars. The freeways are congested with people trying to get to work or trying to get home. They just want to be were they are going, and yet it takes so long to get there. How much time do you get to spend at home just being, just enjoying? It seems to me that a major portion of your time would be spent in a vehicle or on a bus. Up here we spend maybe 30 minutes in our vehicle when we go to town, I couldn’t imagine spending hours in my van everyday.
More and more people are moving to the cities. They have all the culture, all the funding, all the good stuff. Vancouver has so many people that the city had to build a new, bigger bridge to accommodate them all. To pay for it, they charge you for using it (as if the taxes you pay aren’t enough – geesh).
Yet, up here, up north there are so many little towns just barely hanging on. (Its peculiar, the farther north you drive, the less people you see.)
On our trip through the Fraser Canyon, I saw so many abandoned buildings; places that used to have life. There were old hotels, garages, homes and restaurants. These towns are quenching for life but everyone is gone…they have moved to the cities.
This all got me thinking….if cities have too many people and small towns are suffering from a lack of people…..then maybe people should move to small towns! We need to fill our small communities. There would be less congestion in the cities and the towns would have their economies back.
Imagine if every town was full of life. Imagine the character that could develop if small businesses could thrive, every town would be so unique. Wouldn’t it be even more fun to road trip?
We live in a system that seems to like BIG. Big cities, big box stores, big government. What happened to small? to unique? to independent? What happened to the individual? We all have our own special gifts to share, to contribute. Yet small is dieing, it is being crushed. Small towns are dieing from people giving up and moving to bigger centers. Small businesses are dieing because people would rather shop at a giant retailers (I do not understand the appeal, I feel totally ungrounded in those places).
What has happened to us? When did we forget that quality is more important then quantity? Would you really rather have 10 pairs of cheap-fall-apart-in-a-year shoes, or 1 pair of really good quality shoes that will last for 20 years? (my friend has a pair of Birkenstocks that are over 20 years old).
When did we forget that when we support small, we are supporting family and therefor community? We are supporting the future. When you spend your money in a family run business, you are helping to feed a family, to provide livelihood for someone. You may, when you shop at Walmart, support the cashiers minimum wage job, but most of your money is going to a few people at the top, and not staying in your community.
We need to get a handle on what is important. We strive to make ourselves happy, to make others happy. We strive for things that are supposed to bring us joy, but they fall short. Something is missing.
We are missing connection. Connection to our food, to the things we buy. We are missing meaning and self-contemplation. Do we know why we do what we do? Is what we are doing bringing us what we want?
We know what is important. Family, friends, good-times, quality things – these are what make us happy. Life is to short to spend chasing after stuff when what we really crave is experience. In our search for status and stuff we have overlooked what really makes us come alive.
We can have these things in the city – I am not saying cities are bad, I just know that you can’t be very fulfilled when half your day is spent rushing around. The cities can afford to loose people to rural living, rural living cannot afford to loose many more people to city life.
In a small town you are so much more connected to your neighbors, your food, and your water supply. You know everyone, there is little crime and the land is abundant and affordable. So if you live in the city but have thought of moving rural – do it! We need you 🙂