For the past nine months I’ve made my home base in the quaint town of Adel, Iowa. The original goal was to continue to split my time between Franklin, Tennessee and Iowa. But let’s be honest. Rent is expensive, especially in the Nashville area right now. And, after two years of living in Nashville and 19 years of living in the city, I felt the pull to go back to my small town roots and live the life I was sharing with the world through Rural Revival. So in a very quick turn of events, I found a loft on a town square in a small town, above a retail shop, in a place where I already have friends, and it seemed like the right fit.
And it has been the right fit for the past nine months, even if I’ve only been here about half of that time. It’s a space that absolutely fits me and creatively inspires me. And it’s helped me adjust to not being five minutes away from a Target or from a grocery store that stays open past 8 pm. But the reality is the growth happening here is a result of urban sprawl, not rural revival. I want to live the life I promote, and I’ve realized this town doesn’t really fit the criteria anymore.
When it came to the day I had to decide to renew my lease or let the loft go, I had to do some serious soul searching. That was over a week ago, and today has been the first time I’ve been able to actually put it into words: what I really want is to live in the country. I have always wanted this. But for a lot of reasons, I’ve put it off for all these years. Maybe it’s because my generation was told we had to move away to get a job, and I’ve stayed somewhat stuck in that mentality. Maybe it’s because I’m a single girl and have somehow let myself believe I can’t do it by myself (even though deep down I know that’s not true). Maybe it’s because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do with my husband (who still has yet to be named). Maybe it’s because I’ve told myself I travel too much and there’s no way I could keep up with my own farm place while being away so much.
But guess what? It’s been a dream of mine for the past 19 years, ever since I first moved to the city. And life is short. And that dream has never gone away. And if Paige Ehnle and Joni Nash can do it, so can I. I know they’ll cheer me on every step of the way, and my guess is so will you. So when I didn’t renew my lease, what I was actually doing was giving myself permission to pursue this dream that has been burning in my heart for so long. And I sat down this morning and made a list of all the things I want in this new place:
A HISTORIC HOUSE
I’ve always loved a house with good character. Anything built pre-1940 is probably my jam. Southern or farmhouse style would especially be my jam. Must be move-in ready.
A BARN (AND PREFERABLY OTHER OUTBUILDINGS)
Because I want to host parties in that barn, and I may even want a bottle calf.
A RENTAL PROPERTY
For right now, I know I need to be a renter. Because let’s face it, Rural Revival is one wild, adventurous ride and I have no idea where it’s going to lead next. So at this time it makes sense to have more wings than roots. I’m also an entrepreneur, so my current investment is into my businesses rather than a home. Someday there will be a permanent home, but right now doesn’t seem to be that time.
Did I mention I’m an entrepreneur?
A PORCH THAT FACES WEST
After years of living at least part time in the city, I want a clear view of the sunset every night, no obstructions. Plus I can imagine I will put in a lot of home office hours on that porch. Extra points if there’s a porch swing.
High Speed Internet
I work from home and send out large audio and design files. High speed internet is a must have.
NO WIND TURBINES IN SIGHT
Let’s be honest, I’ve tried for 19 years to get away from the city, so I don’t want to move rural and then have to look at an industrial wind plant. Definitely not my jam.
LAWN CARE AND SNOW REMOVAL
Because I travel. And that would be a huge help.
Come November 1, this all gets very real. Does such a place exist? Who knows. But I have to take a leap of faith and believe it does — even if that means bunking up with family or friends for a few months so I can find the right place. Something tells me it will be worth it.
>> Danna Larson, Rural Revival Founder