Well, I’ve got to roam, maybe find me a brand-new home.

Goin’ Up theCountry , Alan Wilson

I’ve been working from home for a lot of years now, but until two and a half years ago I did that from a city base. And as long I was doing consulting work which required me to be city-based, that was fine. But we had a hankering for change and the Canned Heat number “Goin’ Up the Country” was a bit of an anthem for me.

Not that I wanted to be too much “up the country”. I wanted to be not too far from an airport (of the jet variety) and a non-negotiable requirement was a dsl-type, fixed line internet connection (as distinct from a vague promise of wireless one day soon). I wanted also to live where there was a community which valued entrepreneurs and welcoming for home based professionals.

Oh, and where getting a quality espresso didn’t have to be a forlorn dream.

Well, we’re no longer in the city, although where we live and work is a bit of a regional centre and we live in what I would call a lightly gated community. But within five minutes of where we are there are plenty of what the real estate agents call “acreage” properties for sale from a couple of acres upwards, so there is a fairly easily realisable possibility of a more rural existence, still with various comforts and tools of modernity.

And there are a couple of reasonable coffee shops which would be still within striking distance, although to be fair they don’t have the consistency you get in a good city coffee shop with its talented barista jealously guarding the machine and turning out one great coffees after another with precision and pride. As you can find in a lot of places in Sydney and especially Melbourne – and as I discovered yesterday is possible also in Brisbane.

Then there’s the whole issue of community. While you might find that, in the words again of that song, your refrain is “I’m gonna leave this city, got to get away”, you are also getting away from your established community or communities. If, as I do, you have online communities you participate in, that’s not going to be such a blow, but there is still a lot to be said for the experience of offline getting together, for coffee, dinners etc.

The point of all this musing is that these are the sort of considerations I believe more and more people will need to factor in when they are looking at new ways of living, working, creating and doing business in the twenty first century.

Which is why I would make required reading for any professional contemplating such a change David St Lawrence’s thoughtful, frank, very amusing and – for me – quite inspiring post, Then and Now. He reports that the decisions and steps taken are paying off, although not in reduced working hours. 

The net result for us is that we are probably working longer at more challenging tasks than when we were “employed” but we have more freedom and more opportunity for self-expression than ever before.

He also explains why a rural existence might not be for everyone, even with high speed Internet access!

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