Small quiet places have been experiencing brain drain for decades if not centuries. People with big ideas and ambitions had to go to big places where important things were happening. People who were left behind unfortunately mostly were ones who did’t care, didn’t had big dreams, couldn’t dare. More active ones used their cars a lot to go to places, to meet people.
This tide is possible turning. An army of active retired people are constantly moving to countriside. There also are nature-lovers, down-shifters, green minded and location independent folk of younger ages with plenty of ideas and a will for change. People who want to live an interesting, healthy, creative life.
We did it on our own and it was hard: it took almost 7 years to find some sort of connections and places of interest. We are car-free university educated couple with kids in a small town in the middle of Wales. Yet I still can’t say I’ve made any new friends since I’d left the place I grew up in – about 15 years ago. I think subconsciousely we are feeling poor and unsecure because there is neither a person anywhere near we could ask for small scale, non-emergency help, not anybody would ask us. Nobody would come uninvited for a cup of tea and a chat, nobody is here for us to come round. This is SO wrong. This is appalling!
My feeling is that any little quiet place anywhere in the world would be rather unwelcoming to newcomers and the one way to defeat this would
be for people to move in as a community (so they have each other for
support). They should try not to antogonize locals and somehow gradually befriend
them (e.g. through helping, buying from local shops, learning the
language if needed, organizing some events they will like, attending their events, etc).
We are already here. What could be done? I think with both the modern technology and the will to form stronger communities everywhere the brain drain & isolation are not inevitable now. People could be found, woken up, educated, empowered. We can build a future we want for ourself and our kids, a future based on better relationship between neighbours.
A whole bunch of grassroot movements seems to grow everywhere with the aim of improving people’s lives throgh better connections. One example is the Incredible Edible network – I’ve listened to a talk by one of their founders, Pam Warhurst, yesterday. Very inspiring. Hope it will lead to change for the better in our lives and in the lives of people around us.