When we moved to Paso Robles over 15 years ago, I didn’t know what to expect. I left the corporate world working for a big advertising corporation in Frankfurt, Germany and moved with my husband and son into the back country of Paso Robles. I am a local Realtor® based in Paso Robles. I understand the challenge of moving into a rural area and I like to share my experience with my clients and everybody else who considers to make a lifestyle change.
Learning by doing is how I tackled this change of a lifestyle. I was lucky to hiring a ranch help who turned into a friend and source of wisdom. Today, I want to share what I have learned so far and help my clients to avoid making the same mistakes I made. Let me just begin with a few anecdotes that can give you a broad idea what to expect in case you are planning to leave a metropolitan city like LA or San Francisco to live a more laid-back life in the country. If the pandemic taught us one thing, it is that we can work from anywhere if needed. Thank you to the worldwide web for allowing us to work and learn remotely!
First of all, as a newcomer, be prepared for a much slower pace of life. There is a reason why they call San Luis Obispo, SlO(w) County. Compared to life in the big city, people here still take their time to get things done. It actually feels good to be surrounded by kindness and a slower pace of life, but there is a downside to it as well. Service companies, contractors, handymen etc. might need more time to come out to your place to serve you. It is a good idea to develop a basic skill set and get things done by yourself. Good handymen are rare and usually booked out. I am pretty much hands on in the meantime, at least when it comes to anything that has to do with classic ranch work. I didn’t know it was in me, but I can handle a tractor, drag the arena, fix fences… just to name a few of my new skills.
Secondly, make sure you have a few people on speed dial if needed. Broken water pipes, snakes in the garage, horses having a colic, somebody got injured… just to name a few unforeseen disasters. Know your neighbors, even though next door seems fairly far away. People are helpful and when I had my first confrontation with a snake in my garage, I was very grateful for my neighbor’s courage removing the unwanted intruder. Have at least two vets in your contacts you can call in case one of your animals needs help. Vets come to your home 24/7 but only if you created a relationship and you are in their client file. The same applies to farriers, hay delivery and any other essential services.
Thirdly, start learning anything you need to know to enjoy your new lifestyle. I had to get used to occasional snake encounters, hearing the coyotes screaming in the night and not to forget the tarantulas that are crawling out of their holes in September/October. For me as a City Girl, these seemed to be problems I would not be able to overcome. When I understood that all of those critters didn’t want to have anything to do with me, we are now all friendly cohabitating without any problems.
Last but not least, be yourself and create the environment you were longing for. You might miss the cultural life, the variety of shops and the big brand stores, but you can always hop into your car and get your taste of city life. Country living does not prevent you from nurturing your relationship with the big city, but it offers you the opportunity to breathe fresh air, live your life comfortably, being in the moment and living close to nature. It is not that there is no ‘life’ in the area. Paso Robles is the new Napa or Sonoma with great bars and restaurants. San Luis Obispo is a City with charm and opportunities just to name a few.
In this blog I shared my personal views and opinion and I talk about my own experience. Please feel free to share your story and how you adjusted to Country living.