You’ve had a life-long dream.
That goes something like this: meet soul mate (optional), have child (optional), move to a SMALL TOWN and open a coffee shop/fish shop/country restaurant/country pub and live out the rest of your life in the slow lane without any big city stress.
Perhaps you have given the idea merely a passing thought? Either way, here are a list of reasons to leave the city and head for South Africa’s country ‘dorps’…
1. NO TRAFFIC JAMS
No more sitting in traffic for up to two hours a day. Whilst your town of choice is unlikely to have more than one main road, depending on whether you’re moving to Nieu-Bethesda or Franschhoek, getting to work on time is as easy as leaving the house with 10 minutes to spare.
2. JOB CREATIVITY
This is where you may choose to part ways with my interpretation of the average ‘job description’ as a bonus of dorp living. Because you will need to be creative when it comes to earning a living. And you will hold down at least 3 jobs. You may find yourself selling houses, making plum jam and serving beer at the local pub on Tuesdays in a bid to earn a wage. Whatever it is, it beats sitting at a desk 9 hours a day, 5 days a week, most weeks of the year.
3. THE VIEWS
Forget fighting your way up the property ladder in a bid to finally own the mansion/apartment/penthouse with a view. Dorps are big sky country. And if you can’t see mountain, sea, rolling fields of corn, grapevines, historical character buildings or a great deal of sky, then you’re not in a dorp.
4. FRESH AIR
If you fight your way to work on a smog-infested freeway as a matter of course, then you will understand the allure of country air.
You actually know your neighbours, and your neighbours’ neighbours, on a first-name basis, and they know you.. well enough to yell across the road that your shoe laces are undone.
6. LIFE IS SIMPLE
You can get everything you want at PEP stores… you will have to, for unless a weekly haul to the nearest city is part of you and your significant other’s dorp-living agreement, Woolies is clearly out of the picture.
7. GET LOST ADT
The satisfaction of being able to lose the need for security insurance is enough reason to move to a dorp, any dorp, tomorrow!
8. FAR LESS CRIME
Dorp-living usually comes with the freedom to forget to lock the back door, to forgo the high walls and the electric fences, and to live free of fear.
9. YOU CAN ACTUALLY SEE THE STARS
Unpolluted skies=stars. Take Sutherland for example.
10. YOUR MORTGAGE WON’T BREAK THE BANK
Rentals are lower, houses are cheaper (if you’re moving to Franschhoek or Stellenbosch then this point doesn’t count) and overall your cost of living drops significantly. You will get a lot more for your Rand all round. Private school fees drop, meals at restaurants drop, utilities are cheaper, and the absence of peer pressure means you will spend less. For those of you with a second home – why have a holiday home when you are permanently on holiday?
11. YOU CAN WALK ANYWHERE
Going to the bank, shop, bakery, local pub, corner café, weekly sewing ring, neighbour for dinner no longer requires reversing the SUV down the driveway.
12. YOU CAN BECOME A ONE-CAR FAMILY
and help save the planet! (this feel-good factor is a bonus of country-living ;-))
13. THERE IS ALWAYS PARKING
You will never have to look for it (except perhaps on Saturday mornings or pay-day). And it’s free.
The peace and quiet of country living cannot be beaten. No highway noise, no loud neighbours (when you live in a dorp then you automatically have considerate neighbours), no noisy machinery, council mowers, house alarms or yapping dogs (dogs go everywhere with their owners in the country) to deal with.
15. FAMILY GETS PRIORITY
There is a lot more time for one another and family. Get rid of your television as well, and you and your family will hardly know what to do with one another. An added bonus is that your children will devote far more of their energy to playing games and sports with friends outdoors, and not hanging out at the mall.
16. YOU FIND PEOPLE YOU CAN COUNT ON
Should you fall on hard times there will be more than one person to help you. People who live in dorps pull together because they care about you.
17. YOU CAN’T GET LOST
But you can lose the Garmin. Ask your neighbour instead…
18. TAXES ARE LOWER
Property rates, water, sewerage and waste collection are all lower.
19. YOUR SOCIAL LIFE IMPROVES
Saturday night braais, sewing circles, book clubs, the local pub, weekend markets, art classes, yoga classes, charitable causes and fundraisers. Your quality of life improves as well as your social life because everyone is invited to everything.
20. THERE IS NO DRESS CODE
No need for dress-down Fridays because every day is dress-down day when nobody really cares what you wear. Not only will this improve your sense of well being, but your bank balance will thank you.