For nearly my entire adult life, I've lived in large cities: First Los Angeles, then San Francisco, and now, Paris. I've spent time in small towns, too, but found them claustrophobic and lacking in diversions--a death knell for creative types who crave stimulation and activity, not only to fuel and give expression to new ideas, but to stave off the blues. There's something a little depressing about not having anything to do--or, more accurately, a perceived lack of options--though I rarely-to-never find myself bored these days, even when camping out in the country without electronic devices or in the company of other humans.
Just recently, I've been gripped by what seems to me a completely novel and possibly slightly nutty idea--something I never imagined doing: Moving to a small town. Not teeny-tiny, but small enough to believe that building a sense of community is actually possible, and that my voice in civic matters might actually matter.
That I'm willing to entertain such an idea is shocking even to myself, but the more I think about it, the more I like the thought. Being an average-size fish in a small pond has its allure, and opens up the possibilities of taking on projects--such as opening a brick-and-mortar business--which can be prohibitively expensive in big cities.
About a decade ago, two dear friends moved from San Francisco, population 750,000, to a small, midwest town with population of about 7,000, to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant--something they couldn't conceive of doing in SF's booming real estate market. Today, that dream has exploded on the pages of Food & Wine, Bon Appetit, Time, and The New York Times, and the pair are set to open their second restaurant in Kansas City. Could they have done it in San Francisco? Maybe, but the literal and figurative costs would surely have been much more overwhelming.
So now comes the fun part: Where to go?! Do you have a small town? What do you love about it? What do you do for fun there, and what are your neighbors like? I'd love to hear from you!
The Big Downsize
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I'm Aurelia, creative director here at Swell! This is my space for sharing thoughts and ideas with readers on more topics dear to my heart: Travel, wellness, veganism, and style, and living creatively and compassionately.
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