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Rural Life: My Dad Moved Us to Nowheresville, USA

A photo of Kari BlockAt heart, GRIT Guest Blogger Kari Block is a farmer who is passionate about nourishing and growing ideas, businesses, and people, inside and outside her company Earth-Kind Inc. She is best known for her product innovation, Fresh Cab, which is the No. 1 trusted natural rodent repellent. 

It was night when my family first drove into Williston, North Dakota. I could see the small constellation of town lights ahead, surrounded by a vast darkness that made my heart sink. 

I was 13 and full of the naïve notion that city life was superior and more “cultured.” Who would actually choose the rural life when they could have shopping, restaurants, and malls just around the corner?

My dad had moved us to Nowheresville, USA. My life would pass me by. North Dakota would smother me and my potential greatness with its vast open spaces – and not one deli in sight.

For six years I suffered under the heavy burdens imposed on me by the prairie. At age 19, I fled Williston to return to the beloved city life I’d missed so much. To my amazement, here’s what I found: 

  • Life was expensive in the city. I needed a roommate to help make ends meet.
  • I practically lived in my car because I had a 1.5-hour commute each day. At 19, just starting out, I couldn’t afford to live in a safe area of the city.
  • There were no opportunities for me without the right clothes, right car, and right network of friends in high places.
  • The brightness was blinding. I didn’t see the stars in the night sky for a year – and was surprised to discover that I missed them.

 At 20, I’d had it with the city. I moved back to rural North Dakota and landed a good job by virtue of my character, personality, and skills rather than how I dressed or whom I knew.

Just as important, I got back to star-gazing, fishing, and walking outdoors without fear of being assaulted.

As it turned out, the things I had mistakenly thought made me “cultured” required a price that I wasn’t willing to pay. It's funny how perception changes with age and experience. High population doesn’t necessarily equal a high quality of life. My dad was right after all. (Admitting that was the hardest lesson of all.)

See medical data of rural vs. urban life on a human brain: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2006988/A-rural-life-better-Living-concrete-jungle-really-stressful-make-vulnerable-depression.html.