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Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

Why Would Anyone Want To Work In Rural Areas?

When people imagine rural areas, they think farms, cute cottages, and a laid back lifestyle.

While these are mostly true, rural areas around the world have plenty of benefits that some folks fail to acknowledge. Whenever the topic of moving or living there arises, they would usually worry about education, healthcare, and culture. This is especially true for those who want to start a family.

Millennials, in particular, have been known to move away from rural areas to urban landscapes. This exodus is mainly driven by the need for further education, employment opportunities, and personal motivations (i.e. live a dynamic, fast-paced lifestyle like their peers).

But lately, it seems the young generation is on the move again – this time, towards the suburban and rural areas.

Why the change of heart?

Benefits of Living/Working In Rural Areas

Did you know that 90 percent of the United States land mass is made up of rural and suburban areas?

According to U.S. Census Bureau, rural areas are those that “encompass all population, housing, and territory not included within an urban area.”

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Technically, anything that’s NOT urban (i.e. open spaces, forests, farmlands, areas with less than 2,500 residents) is rural. But it’s not a perfect definition. However, two main factors affect an area’s definition of being ‘rural’: commute and housing density. This definition could also vary in other parts of the world.

As a millennial who was born and raised in the bustling city, living with my mother in Eibelstadt was a huge change. Although they’re not exactly rural, they are a small town of roughly 3,000 residents (as of December 2015).

eibelstadt
    Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

    One of the first things I noticed was that there is more of the older generation than younger ones (especially those my age). Buildings and houses dated as far back as the 16th century (which is awesome). Nights were definitely quieter, and people more or less knew one another. They would smile or wave hello whenever we passed each other in the streets.

    The best part, though, is the small local businesses. From furniture shops, boutiques, apothecaries, to little grocery shops, it feels like stepping back to a time when living was simple and money wasn’t a big issue. The very low crime rate made me feel safe to take evening walks alone or with the family dog.

    But it’s not just me who thinks rural areas could be great places to work or settle in.

    1. Rural areas provide fewer distractions.

    Several researches have pointed to the benefits of being so close to greenery, peace, and quiet. One of the best things about living in smaller towns is that there are fewer things that need to occupy your time – and mind.

    One research shows how crowded streets (which are a common sight in urban landscapes) affect memory retention. With so many stimuli (e.g. speeding cars, people walking, stereos blasting, etc.), our brains can only focus on it for a limited amount of time until it needs to process another set of information.

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    But in rural settings, you’ll be able to focus on ONE thing at a time. This keeps you productive. There’s also the benefit of silence. According to a 2013 study, silence can help the brain generate new neurons. During silence, it’s also a time when your brain can analyze its internal and external surroundings.

    2. You can experience better work/life balance in rural areas.

    In one study, it was found that people who lived near green regions had lower rates of psychological disorders, compared to their urban counterparts. Participants of the study also reported relief from sadness and depression.

    The more things you think or worry about, the more stressed you feel. Who can focus on relaxing when you’re still worried about that email or a call from your boss? Rural areas are perfect for trying to achieve the elusive work/life balance.

    Feeling stressed? Just put on a coat and stroll your worries away. Need to be productive? Choose a quiet spot in your home and get to work. Craving for some alone time? A hike in the woods or mountain should replenish your soul. Interested in a little socializing? Just visit local bars or a community center to meet someone new.

    Surprisingly, the slower pace of life in small towns can help you reconnect with what matters most.

    3. Lower cost of living.

    Don’t be fooled: just because Eibelstadt boasts of only 3,000 people, it doesn’t mean that they’re not thriving. Contrary to what many believe, these beautiful communities contain flourishing businesses that include furniture makers, crafts masters, wine experts, boutique hotels, salons, and architecture firms.

    eibelstadt
      Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.

      In Eibelstadt’s case, it was thanks to their prosperous wine businesses that lured tourists far and wide for a visit, particularly during the summer. This, along with the town’s gorgeous sceneries, helped to make them a lucrative option for millennials like myself.

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      But unlike living in busy cities like Paris or Berlin, the cost of living in small towns is lower. Grocery shopping can be done easily from farmers’ markets. Need new plates or some antique table cloths for your home? Try yard and garage sales, where a dollar can go a long way. If you love unique, arty items, look out for local artisans and their amazing crafts.

      What Jobs Can You Get In Rural Areas?

      These reasons are well and good – but NOT enough to convince people to go ‘rural’.

      After all, many amenities are few and far in between. For instance, my mother and I needed to drive a couple of miles twice a month for groceries. Although there was a store not far from our home, the big shops are located elsewhere. This taught us how to budget out time and resources though, so it wasn’t that bad.

      But perhaps the biggest hurdle for anyone who wants to live in rural areas is employment. What jobs can you get in the countryside? Are there even good jobs?

      Lucky for us millennials, we were born in a time when technological advances were quickly being developed. These days, making passive income is the norm. Below are a couple of suggestions for jobs you can do if you decide to live in a rural area:

      • Remote Work – even folks from cities opt for remote work. This gives you the freedom to work from anywhere while letting you earn a paycheck. You can be a consultant, web designer, developer, graphic artist, or writer. Try sites like Flex Jobs and Remote OK.io for a list of remote work options today.
      • Arts and Crafts – are you good with your hands? Lots of artists, craftsmen, and hobbyists try their luck at selling their wares either locally or online. If you feel ready to expand your horizons, check out platforms like Etsy or Shopify.
      • Gardening/Farming/Livestock – while this won’t make you a billionaire in two years (or a decade even), it’s a great way to feed yourself, your family, and your community.

      If you already have a small farm of a few acres or so, you can begin with some vegetables and livestock. Then you can choose to expand from there. What better way to eat food than to know you grew it yourself? Plus, there are farmers’ markets and restaurants that could be your loyal customers given the chance.

      eibelstadt
        Author’s Own, Some Rights Reserved.
        • Photography/Writing – this is similar to remote work. There are plenty of businesses in need of professional images and content. If you have the talent for it, you can promote your work online. You can also find employment in small local companies, such as local newspapers.
        • Teaching/Consulting – for those who are thinking or moving to rural areas near their retirement, becoming a teacher or consultant is a great way to earn income while sharing your knowledge. Start profiling your future settlement for opportunities in these areas.

        Are they in need of your kind of skills and work experience? What are the requirements? Who would be your potential students or clients?

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        As most work these days need a bit of computer literacy, it’s wise to invest in courses if you’re not so tech-savvy. Visit your community center to inquire about classes.

        Ready for Rural Living?

        Okay, so maybe not – yet.

        But imagine waking up to just the right rays of sunlight through your open window. The birds and bees outside your garden, beckoning you to join them. I personally love taking in the silence first thing in the morning, with a strong cup of coffee.

        Rural areas, like cities and the suburbans, have their pros and cons. Ultimately, it’s up to YOU to decide where you’d work and settle in.

        Featured photo credit: Ana Madeleine Uribe/Pexels.com via pexels.com

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        Cris Antonio

        Content Strategist, Storyteller

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        Last Updated on November 3, 2020

        How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

        How to Mind Map to Visualize Ideas (With Mind Map Examples)

        When you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you may create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion. However, this type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It lacks in clarity and makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing. Instead, try looking at some mind map examples to learn how to mind map and visualize your thoughts.

        Mind maps can help you zoom out and see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected. You may see connections you were missing before and find new ways of brainstorming solutions.

        Below, you’ll find more information on mind maps and see some mind map examples to inspire you next time you need to organize information.

        What Is a Mind Map?

        A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram invented by Tony Buzan[1]. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to declutter your brain or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

        In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using a pen and paper.

        The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

        How to mind map: Mind map example

          Image Credit: English Central

          By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

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          3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

          The three steps are:

          1. Set a central topic
          2. Add branches of related ideas
          3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

          Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[2]

          Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

          Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

          Word it in a clear and concise manner. It can be a single word or even a central image.

          How to mind map: start with a central idea

            Step 2 : Add Branches of Related Ideas

            What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

              Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

              Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out nearby by connecting it with shorter lines or a line of a different color. Ensure that it remains organized.

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                You can always add images or other branches later, but that’s good for now.

                In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits.” Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

                Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

                Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

                Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

                Mind map example

                  I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

                  In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

                  Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

                  You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

                  • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
                  • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches.
                  • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

                  Branch by Branch

                  Start with the central topic, and add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

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                    Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                      One your ideas have filled the branches, the mind map is complete.

                      Branch by branch mind map example

                        Level by Level

                        In this “Level by Level” strategy of mind map examples, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. Here, you add elements on level 1:

                          Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                            Do the same for the next level (level 3). You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                            Level by level mind map example

                              Free-Flow

                              Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. There are no rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                              Free flow mind map example

                                Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you to help you start problem solving.

                                The Bottom Line

                                When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map using the mind map examples above. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and organize your thoughts.

                                If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective, and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on a phone and computer.

                                More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                                Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                                Reference

                                [1] Tony Buzan Group: Home
                                [2] Verbal to Visual: A Mind Mapping Approach To Your Sketchnotes

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