Welcome to Strides: Update 1. In these posts, I will update you on the real-life:
- steps I’ve taken,
- progress I’ve made,
- people I’ve connected with and
- golden takeaways
on this journey to find home in the country, on a budget, as a B.A.M.F.
STEPS TAKEN & PROGRESS MADE
The truth is, I am much further along than I’ve let on when it comes to making moves toward realizing this desire. In fact, I am getting so far ahead of myself, that I’m afraid I may never catch up to reporting on how things are proceeding! So, below is a quick overview of what I’ve been up to.
- Budgeted, researched, applied and been pre-qualified for a loan;
- Connected with real estate agents in a couple states and a few regions for updates on new postings;
- Researched the cities/towns where the land is located and got an idea of the history, demographics, social and economic priorities, local governance, and cultural characteristics of the region through town websites, Wikipedia, local newspapers and local podcast episodes;
- Visited properties;
- Interacted with, reached out to and connected with the people who live and work in the community along the way;
- Made an offer (still in the negotiating stage) and
- Realized that independent of this offer’s acceptance, I like the town. If this offer doesn’t work out, I’d like to seek other opportunities to buy in the area.
CONNECTING with PEOPLE
My sense of urgency to write this *Special Bulletin* reached ‘must do!’ at step #5. The most benedictory* step of all seven steps above has been connecting with the people–individuals–in these communities along the way. (*Benedictory is a adjective meaning it’s been a blessing.)
I’ve realized that with every conversation and correspondence with the residents of a small town, I am investing in my potential future community. Though our connection may begin as a professional, procedural, or an informational encounter, in a smaller community, there is a higher chance that an individual will become a long-term acquaintance (at the grocery store, the gas station, the market, the hardware store or the coffee shop) outside of the initial professional objective.
The humanity of deciding to live somewhere continues to hit me with each person I encounter on the way to purchasing property. By humanity, I mean the difference between engaging people as means to ends whom you likely won’t connect with beyond that moment, versus viewing the interaction as an introduction to a new, open-ended, potentially ongoing rapport. My positive interactions with a particular town, for example, have convicted me that I may like to live there whether my offer is accepted or not! So far, people have been more patient, helpful, kind and generous with me, a stranger, than I dared dream still existed after years of city-living. This has occurred again and again. I think I’ve tapped into something of the culture of the place: prevalent hospitality. And I like it, very much.
TAKEAWAYS & SUGGESTIONS
I’ll close with a highlight on recent connections made when trying to learn about a region’s racial climate.
To the point- They were excited to hear of another person of color considering moving to their state/region. Without hesitation, they encouraged me to get in touch, and by phone, if in need. ::jaw drop:: ::beaming smile:: Prior to the above ideas to reach out to the ACLU and NAACP, I had thought myself lucky to cross the path of other black people (plural) period, depending on where I looked for land. The earnest responses from the ACLU and NAACP was tremendously encouraging. What they had to share was also substantially sobering.
I’d like to summarize what I learned about what the day-to-day experience of life in a white rural setting, socially and emotionally, as a minority, will/can bring.
As a minority:
- I will feel/be both “invisible” and “hyper-visible”.
- It can feel/be very isolating. It can/will be hard.
- But also, if you can persevere in 1 and 2 “with persistence” in relationships and get connected with the small, but existent!, minority community or support organizations already present, there is a lot that a quieter, more rural life has to offer; it keeps them there, advocating for each other (joined by allies!) as well.
Next up: ‘Uncertain and slightly dangerous’ • Motivations: Black Ownership & Generational Wealth’
*If you are considering moving to the country and will be of a minority group in a location, consider reaching out to your local NAACP and state ACLU to get an idea of the racial climate in your area. Do this in addition to your research on other aspects of local life: government, economic opportunity, industry, leisure, transportation, etc. Speak with living people and do not limit yourself to articles speaking of the ‘nation’ as a whole. Though there may be some shared trends, not every pocket of the country-or Country-is the same.
Copyright © 2018 A.M. Wilsonne