Problems with living in the boonies


Staff member
Is it possible to live too far in the boonies? Yes is it. There comes a point where it is not feasible to live in a rural area, and find gainful employment. There also comes a point where high speed internet ends. Believe it or not, not even dial-up is not available in all areas.

Let’s call this line, “Living on the edge of modern civilization.”

I may live in the sticks, but there are some who live further in the boonies than I do. If I drive several miles past my home, there are some people barely have access to electricity, much less internet. Water is from a well, while sewage is handled with a septic tank.

For the people who live past the edge of modern civilization, it takes them around hour to drive to work. This means the round trip is almost two hours. That is at least 10 hours a day dedicated to work.

As much as someone would love to live without money, it just is not possible. We all have to pay taxes, especially property taxes. Do not pay your taxes, and the county takes your property. This means having a job and distance to the job must be figured into our survival plans.

Then there are the types of jobs available in the boonies. Typically, these are teachers, police, lawyers, CPA, nurse… etc. Regardless where someone goes, society will always need a nurse, teacher, police, someone to do their taxes (CPA)… etc. If someone is not a professional they will be working at the corner store.

Living in a rural area, I see people who did not apply themselves and are condemned to a life of poverty. The women usually do odd jobs here and there, work at a local restaurant, work at the local corner store, Lowes, Wal-mart, local hardware store, or fast food. Men usually do manual labor, car repair, lawn service, tree trimming, or whatever odd jobs they can find. At the corner store there may be signs on the door advertising for day labor.

Those who do not seek gainful employment are usually drawing social security disability for some mysterious ailment.

If people living in rural ares had access to higher education at an early age I am sure they would have led productive lives. Their despair is a reflection of how little higher education is valued in rural areas.

What brought this topic up? I was going through my YouTube subscription list and came across a video by Townsends. The video was about a diary from the mid-1700s.

I see parallels from the 1700s and modern day. The uncivilized people from the mid-1700s have been replaced with drug dealers of the 21st century. While Small Pox was the plague of the 1700s, illegal drugs are the plague of the 20th and 21st century.

Survivalist may think living in a rural area is an ideal situation. Unfortunately, living in a rural area presents its own problems. It seems that every time a heavy storm comes through the power goes off. I can drive to a local Dollar Store and not even have cell phone service.

If an educated survivalist with a degree wanted to move to the country, I would suggest they get ready for a culture shock. There are no malls, and rarely a movie theater. The sole movie theater here in Jasper, Texas closed several years ago. If my wife and I want to go to the movies it is at least an hour drive one way. This means going to the movies is an all day event.

Out here in the boonies, Amazon Prime is your friend. That is “if” you have Internet access.

People moving from urban areas may find the rural lifestyle very boring. There are no quick trips to the mall, or quick trips to the coffee shop. Just a trip to a donut shop may take 20 (or more) minutes. This is coming from someone who lives on the edge of modern civilization. For the people who live further in the boonies than I do, my hat is off to you.


New member
A lot depends on the rural area and the person involved. If you grew up a towns-person than country life may never be comfortable for you. Some folks from heavy urban areas have difficulty with suburban life let alone real countryside living. As to making a living it will always be a issue for anyone not born to wealth or having made it before moving to rural location. Long commutes are not really that bad of a deal if the commute is less congested roads. Just becomes part of the routine.

A bigger problem I had found is small town employers are less likely to hire those that do not live in town or real close by. Whereas the big urban areas assume people wont be living next door. Many rural people will have jobs like long haul truck drivers or seasonal employment in the construction trades. Some will farm and others will have a retirement income. Bit of whatever they can find.

As to fellow rural folks being standoffish, all can say is Great! Some interaction and mutual assistance is fine but who wants to put up with other folks lives. City our not, most people are not worth the bother knowing closely. So long as they stay on their property I do not care all that much what they is up to. Maybe the grist for some idle gossip at best.

Formal education and degrees do not count for much to rural folks. It is how you handle yourself. Not to mention some of the dumbest most annoying people I have dealt with or those that think they are smarter/superior for having them. If they was so smart they would stick to the cities with their own type.

Being bored or depressed can happen any where. As can all the other things that humanity is prone to. Some folks can take isolation and enjoy it, others are unable to. Certainly there are those that find themselves needing a support group or access to medical care. If you do than don't live remote.

ETA: Incidentally for those of us that grew up rural before the likes of Amazon we had mail order catalogs from Sears and Montgomery-Wards. I can recall each year looking through them for school clothes that my folks would than order. We also got much of other needing things to support living out in the middle of nowhere this way. I suspose before them was traveling salesmen and peddlers. Goods find a way to get to markets.
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We live on a dirt road 6 miles outside a one stop light town of 2,000.
Before I retired, I drove into the big city to work. One hour each way, and most of that was at 65 MPH.
We get our internet from the phone company, and gave up the satellite TV dish because it cost too much.
The three small towns within a 20 mile range give us what we need.
Malls? No. Movie theater? No. Walmart, even? No.
But we have a grocery store in each town, Ace Hardware, a few fast food joints, mechanics, everything we really need.
The Ace Hardware in the town 16 miles down the line even sells guns and ammo. You probably won't find that in the city - get your fence wire, 2X4's, garden hose, and an AK47 all in one stop.

We are retired now, with a vegetable garden, 5 dogs, a horse, and 40 chickens. Some of our neighbors are cows. I have my own little patch of woods "out back" that has woods and pasture abutting it.
Life is good. Much better than when we lived in "Metropolis."


New member
I agree, depends on yer life style. Country life can get tedious an boring an laborius.

For us, our kids are grown, we're not too far Internet cept cell phone, no ci ty water or sewer...trash man will come out but we burn n pile n compost.

Poverty...and Meth is our big problem out here. Folks with high school kids I feel bad for. Just too far out to drive for minimum wage and no real working opportunities.

Hell even the small school don't off much more than very basics.


New member
... Folks with high school kids I feel bad for. Just too far out to drive for minimum wage and no real working opportunities.

I could wish for some neighbors with high school kids. Where I am at there are just a few older couples. Hard to find anyone that I could hire for odd jobs. Now that I am getting older I would be willing to pay for certain tasks rather than doing it myself but with the lack of workers I get no choice. Growing up rural as a kid I picked up a lot of spending income from local folks doing chores like wood cutting, crop picking helping with building projects and the like. The need for strong backs and weak minds is a great job opportunity.

My nearest neighbor keeps busy doing jobs like this now for other locals now that he retired. But he is only 49 and can handle hard work still. Though even he would hire some young folks if there was any about willing to work.
I'm now 69, wife is 71 and partially disabled, and some jobs are beyond our physical capabilities any more.
Like when hurricane Irma came thru and took more than just a couple roof shingles with her when she left town. I got out the ladder and a bundle of shingles left over from another project, when I had a moment of clarity. I was forced to realize I had no business up on a roof at my age, if I fell it would be a major medical problem.
It all worked out though, the insurance adjuster said we needed a whole new roof.


New member
While I grew up in the country, it was never more than a 10-15 minute drive to a small town, at most an hour to a bigger town/city. Where i used to go deer hunting, especially when I was still a kid was pretty far out there. They had just recently got electricity to them when I started going out there. They got water from an artisan well, it came out under pressure with a temp of something like 107 iirc, & it tasted better than most any water I've tried. They also were able to get propane/nat. gas from the oil companies (this is in the area of the Bakken play that has gotten a lot of natl. attention in the last few years) that had large storage tanks on their property, so they converted their trucks to run on propane & their furnace & stove were propane too. Prior to getting electricity they used a combination of a wind genny & solar panels. They had a generator as a backup also. Mail did not get delivered to them either, same with UPS or Fedex. When we came to visit them, we used to pick up their mail to take to them (small towns were good like that 40 years ago) & was usually at least 1 good size bag/box full of mail. We'd also take out supplies they couldn't raise/grow or make themselves. It was a lot like the song "Copperhead Road" with the line "only came to town about twice a year" & yeah, they made moonshine too. While they certainly weren't 100% self sufficient, they were pretty close. Back then as soon as you turned off the highway you were on a gravel road, that turned to scoria (which wasn't actually scoria but a hard clay that got real slippery in the rain/snow) then some roads were just plain dirt. You had to be pretty adventurous just to make it out there to visit, let alone live there. Now, since the newer oil boom, it's paved about 85% of the way out there & then it's a fairly well maintained gravel road the rest of the way. If I had my choice, I'd live out there like it was in the 70's & early 80's. The biggest drawback would be, especially with kids, is how far away the nearest hospital is. Back then it was at least a 3 or 4 or drive, if the roads were in fair condition. If the road conditions were bad enough, it might not even be feasible. When I was a kid, my dad & a bunch of his buddies rode snowmobiles out there (I was so bummed I couldn't go with) & they even had trouble getting in there on those, that should give you an idea of how bad it was. This is in the badlands of N.D. a bit north of the north unit of T.R. Natl park.