• shane@countryexec.com
  • Seguin, Texas
Why Choose A Simple Country Life Versus Urban Existence

Why Choose A Simple Country Life Versus Urban Existence

It’s been about three and a half years since I came full circle in my life and moved back to rural Texas. The question as to why still comes up on occasion. There are people in my life that literally cannot fathom why I chose a country life and left substantial career opportunities, bloated salaries, and many of the conveniences of urban society to live in rural Texas.

I get weird questions like “where do you buy clothes,” or “where do you go out to eat.” This may come as a surprise for some, but I assure you we have stores and places that serve food out in the country. Many of the local businesses are mom and pop style that deliver on authenticity and deliciousness. Think places hipsters love. For all the folks that may be considering doing something similar, I’m going to educate you on country life. I’d like to answer the question as to why choose a simplistic country life versus an urban existence.

TCE - Country life

Defining Simplistic Existence

Let’s start with defining the parameters. My definition of country life essentially equates to being rural. Technically my part of Texas is not defined as rural in the eyes of Uncle Sam. My county has a population north of 150k, meaning it is classified as metro per the federal government.

The city I live and work in by most estimates is a little over 30k population. San Antonio is half an hour west, and one of the fastest growing cities in the country (New Braunfels), which is partly in my county, is just north of us. If I had to guess that’s how my area accounts for not being rural. Whatever the reasoning is, my beautiful part of Texas feels pretty country to me.

Although well beyond the county line, Austin is about an hour north and another fast-growing city by the name of San Marcos is a stone’s throw away. My entire area is experiencing exponential growth. As a municipal employee it is very exciting (to me), but I do hope my city can hang onto its small-town feel.

What Is Rural Exactly?

The word rural tends to be conceptual in nature. With the help of Google, rural is defined as relating to or the characteristic of the countryside rather than the town. We’ll call that the romanticized definition as it is vague at best.

The Census Bureau defines rural as any population, housing, or territory not in an urban area. Thank you Captain Obvious. Currently the official delineating number defining rural per the federal government is 50k and under. That marker hasn’t changed much since the 1940’s, in which time the US population has more than doubled. As such, the federal government is considering reclassifying rural as 100k communities and below.

Per the 2010 census it is estimated approximately 19.3% or sixty million Americans live in rural areas. The 2021 article I referenced above has it at 14% and forty-six million. I’m guessing the actual number is somewhere in the middle. It’ll be interesting to see if there was much of a shift from urban living to a simplistic existence when the 2020 census results are fully released.

TCE - Country life

To Each Their Own

The truth is the answer to if a country life by way of rural living is right for you is one that only you can proclaim. It is something that is relevant only to the individual, what they want out of life, and what they would like to accomplish. What’s in their heart and how they want to live.

If you’ve read much of my blog, then you already know I am originally from a small town in East Texas. When I say small, I mean really small. One stoplight and roughly around a thousand people give or take. Whenever the 2020 census results are released, I’m sure there will be a dog or two that was included. They’re part of the family too you know.

When I graduated high school, I left my small town two days afterwards. I felt compelled to go find what life had in store for me. What that equated to was the growth of my career and urban living for the next twenty something years. East Texas to Houston to San Antonio (boot camp) to the UK to Miami to Dallas to San Diego to DC to LA to San Jose back to Dallas and coming full circle to my country roots in Seguin, TX. It has been a journey, and there’s quite the story behind it.

TCE - Country life

My Truth

I crave space, elbow room I call it. I don’t want to live on top of neighbors. Never have. I despise congestion. Crowds have never been my thing. One of my favorite things to do is drive my old Jeep with the doors off down wide-open country roads. Good luck finding that level of peace in any of those cities I lived in.

That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy my time in those places, I most certainly did! Dallas was awesome. So was San Diego. I lived right by the beach in LA for a decade. How I flourished in a city the size of LA when I despise congestion is beyond me. I had incredible people in my life. It was the right place at the right time.

Truth be told I believe I needed to experience those places to understand who I am as a person and what I want out of life. I really enjoyed my time in California, I lived there a long time. That’s not who I am though. My heart has always belonged to Texas. Experiencing what the world had to offer helped me understand that.

Today I am much better off for those experiences. My life is filled with gratitude. I appreciate so much, and I have never been more comfortable in my own skin. I think some of that comes with age. You’ll never convince me part of that isn’t derived from knowing what else is out there.

TCE - Country life

Your Truth

You have to find your truth. I would recommend you not romanticize country life to the extent you pull the trigger blindly to seek out the pot of gold at the end of the rural rainbow. It’s not for everyone. You have to be conditioned to the difference between a simplistic existence and urban life.

I love country living, but you’re not me. Truth is convenience is not always your friend in rural America. You may have to adjust to the pace of life, something I admittedly struggled with for several months when I arrived back in small town Texas. A lot of businesses will operate on banker’s hours.

If you need to drop your raggedy old Jeep off with the mechanic it can be a pain. If your AC breaks on a Saturday you may be waiting until Monday to get it fixed. Yikes if you live in my part of Texas. Same goes if you discover water running down your drywall because of a mysterious leak outside of those bankers’ hours. All of those things have actually happened in my house since I moved here.


Love high speed internet? Need it for that job you’re going full remote with so you can move out to the country? You better check to see if it’s an option. Some areas have it, others not so much. If you’re really out in the country good luck. Starlink is coming along nicely, but availability is hit or miss until the constellation is fully built out.

Like having convenient access to restaurants and shopping? You’ll want to be selective as to where you end up then. Define your limitations, how far you’re willing to drive for those conveniences. Mrs. Country Exec and I drove over to our favorite Italian restaurant recently, it took 35-minutes to get there. If that sounds like torture then country life may not be for you.

What if you lose that remote job and you need to find something locally to support your family? Is your professional skillset transferable? The economy in rural America is different. Don’t expect to walk into an urban salary in rural America. The culture of relationships within country life can be different as well, which is a whole other thing unto itself.

That doesn’t mean you cannot adjust to the nuances between simplistic living and city life. I’m only warning you it’s not all flowers and sunshine. There is definitively some give and take. Certainly, some people flourish in these changes, others can struggle with the reality of country life.

TCE - Country life

Simplistic Existence

If you can come to terms with the reality of a simplistic existence, then maybe it is right for you. I say come on down to my part of Texas if so. It’s awesome around here, truly a great place to call home and raise a family. I’m also quick to say it’s not for everyone for the reasons I previously called out.

I enjoy the slower pace of it all. Of course, working in local government connects me a little closer to my community. Purposefully I bought a home in the community I serve because I believed that would be the case. I was right about that. I live, work, and play all within the confines of my country life. That’s how I want my life to be.

San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels, and San Marcos are all within an hour of me. So are some amazing small towns with a rich history and unbelievable local places to eat and shop. In a way I guess you can say I live in the best of both worlds.

I found my utopia, the current iteration of the right place at the right time. I do hope you can find yours. Until next time thank you for reading, and please take care of yourself and the ones you love.