Village Utopia

A dream of mine is to retire to a village.

Away from the concrete buildings that seem to be rising higher and higher. Away from the smog-filled mornings and the dense pedestrian traffic. Away from the continual sounds of human movement and activity. Away from a life that requires you to be on the go the whole time.

Village
Village (Photo credit: johnnysam)

When I think of a village, it seems almost an utopia. I imagine a small community that embraces what community is meant to be: helping out neighbours in need, stopping in the street to listen and speak to someone with all one’s attention, looking out for one another. I think of people who belong; people who are not adrift in a sea of humanity.

When passing through a village, I notice as well how much closer to nature they are. I see trees, and open land around them. I breathe in air that smells fresher than what I breathe in when in the city. I can imagine walking in this clear air and not needing to pay attention to hasty drivers bent on reaching their own destination. I can hear, too, the sounds of the countryside: the silence, the rustling trees, the song of birds.

The downside of a village would be the distance to places like hospitals, libraries, and supermarkets. One would hope that there would be a hospital nearby if I needed one. Libraries? A monthly visit to the nearest library would solve that problem – and then I would borrow as many books as I could! And the supermarket? A village ought to have its local stores. Part of the village experience would be to walk to these local businesses and spent the time shopping and chatting with others.

There are those born in villages who yearn for the sounds and lights of the city. As a resident of the city, I yearn for the quiet and peace of a village. Who knows, maybe one day I may move nearer towards my utopia of village-living.

Would you like to live in a village?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2012

(Join Jake every week for a theme for creative inspiration. This week’s prompt is Village.)

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50 thoughts on “Village Utopia

    1. There are certain things one would miss from living in a city (restaurants, cinema, shopping, to mention a few). But I guess right now I had had my fill and wish for the peace and tranquillity that is hard to find in the centre of a city.

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  1. We are so used to the facilities a city provides, there is a doubt, whether we can survive in a village !! Nonetheless, I would love to leave everything behind and head over to a village, when I have no strings attached 🙂

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    1. I agree with you. Now we can’t leave the city behind as that is where we find work, and where the children need to be educated. But when certain responsibilities have been carried out, there should be no more excuses 🙂

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  2. I live in a village or at least it feels that way. We have a library, museum, shops and pubs . We also have greenways, a dog park, a lake with a path around, three walking paths and a choice of holistic healing practices. An interstate nearby that in 15-20 mins you are in Asheville with a fabulous hospital system. What you are looking for may be out there- keep looking.

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    1. I think you may be living in the type of environment that I wish for: lots of green, and yet with some of the attractions of a city (such as a library and the shops).

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  3. I’ve family that live in small towns and I’ve mixed feelings about it, having spent considerable time there. Yes, the pace, lifestyle, and sense of community is wonderful but the stores lack variety, live theater can be virtually non-existant, as is live symphony. I like my big city, Colline, and will stay here for at least the foreseeable future. But, never say never …

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    1. As someone who is not currently a theatre-goer, I would not miss the theatres. However, I can understand how this lack would prevent one from settling permanently so far away from any live performances (including opera and orchestral).

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    1. I think the thrall of city life begins to pall when we reach a certain time in our lives. As an outsider to village life, it certainly seems to be more tranquil and humane than life in the city.

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      1. There is a main difference other than what you say, and that is safety and security. People take the time to get to know each other and in turn watches over themselves. Always willing to help,therefore friendships easily made. Not to forget the scenery.

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        1. What you say is so true – I did not think of that. I have been too long in the city. And one thing I am finding difficult is to forge true friendships – people are not open and trusting here.

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  4. We live four miles from a small village in France and have no neighbours – other than the wildlife. I adore the silence and the peace and the stillness. But about twice a year I love flying back to England to visit family and I always steal at least two days in the city (Oxford), absorbing all the ‘things’ in the shops. I get to OD on shopping and window-shopping and I love it. But I couldn’t bear to live there with all the people-noise every day.

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    1. You are definitely living my dream. And when you need shops, theatre and city-like entertainment, taking a mini-vacation into the city is a fabulous idea.

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  5. Hi,
    I live in a suburb close to the city, I am so used to having everything handy I don’t know if I could actually live in a small village. I love getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and enjoying the countryside, but I often wonder how people cope when they can no longer drive, or if there is an emergency.

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    1. The ideal would be living close enough to a hospital, for example, that they could send out an ambulance. But living is the suburbs is a good compromise, I think between living in the city and the deep countryside.

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  6. Here the towns are more like villages to me. Small and compact. “Cities” here can’t compare with cities in South Africa. They are only towns to me! Interesting when you are used to big places. I now live in a slow going “village”town. Can take the bus or even walk to the shops

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    1. I have heard others say that the cities in New Zealand are more like towns. Guess it depends what you are used to. In my experience the cities of Toronto, London and Paris are definitely bigger than those in South Africa.

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  7. Wherever you find this village, let me know. I’ll join you! I keep having this image of a small retreat on a hill or mountainside. The place is not big, but the largest part is a huge terrazo, partly covered and partly uncovered with a view over the hills and the sea in the near distance. It is all window doors at the back where the terrazo is and during the day, these open up so that the air and the breeze fill the rest of the place which is very open concept. I don’t know why or where this image has come from, but I often think of it when I’m falling asleep at night or when I want to escape in a reverie with soothing images. Surrounding this place is a village as you describe.

    While in Panama, I visited El Vaille, a mountain area that is a village. I met a man who had just arrived and he said that he had been looking the world over for a place to hang his hat – a free spirit. He said he thought this would be the place. I could understand why because it was as you describe – a village filled with all kinds of welcoming people who do live life in the slow lane and many of them live in the mountains and would stop to talk to each other. All the children were getting along and played happily together. It seemed like paradise. I didn’t want to leave.

    I dream of one day living like that and spending my time writing… for at least the winter months.

    Maybe…. who knows 🙂

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    1. A perfect place to hang one’s hat – and the weather would be perfect as well: no cold and snowy winter months; instead balmy and sun-filled days. Definitely a paradise!

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  8. I grew up in Sydney and loved it, yet living in what I would call a village (shhhhhh…the old locals like to think of it as a town) has been wonderful. It was a great place to raise kids. Though they didn’t think so at the time, they now say they get it and are glad they grew up here. And I love that I can walk down my street to cows mooing, birds singing, water lapping. Though I will admit to missing art galleries…but I just have to get my fill when in the big smoke.

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    1. You mention your kids – and I know that being outside and doing what kids do in the countryside is exactly what my children are missing. Instead they are breathing smog-filled air, are bound by streets in their play, and are growing up believing that the indifference of others is the norm.

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  9. After growing up in small towns, I never want to go back, except to visit. I think what you describe is what you see on TV. It isn’t real, or hardly ever. Small towns, villages, are full of people you like, and they are also full of people you don’t like, and if there are people you don’t like, then you can never get away from them. They will be involved in everything you want to be involved in. I shouldn’t try to burst your bubble, but my mother lives in a small town, and the stories she tells, well, I wouldn’t want to live there. I think you should just dream about it, but keep it in the one day category. 🙂
    I feel like I am being mean, I am so sorry.

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    1. Too true – yo get mean people everywhere and that has to be dealt with (people are, after all, people). But the other pros of living in a village or small town, you do not experience in the city: the fresher air, the outside living, the green, and the quiet. And at least my dream of my village utopia helps me to deal with the city life I am currently living in until I am able to move to a place that is a compromise 🙂

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      1. I think we are lucky, where we live is like living in the country yet, we only a 25 minute drive from city centre. We have paddocks across the road with horses in them, but I don’t have to put up with the stuff I don’t like about small towns.
        Daughter asked me if I could live anywhere, where would I live, and I said Melbourne, she then asked, where in Melbourne would you like to live, and I said right where I am. She said so you are in your dream house, I said no, but I would want my dream house right here. I really do love where I live now.

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        1. Sounds like you have the best of both worlds – and are near enough to the city if you feel the urge to go to any of the attractions the city may hold.

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  10. I have that dream…
    as it is for my mum…….
    and If i find the perfect village… i wouldn’t even wait till I retire…
    with nowadays technology and modernization…
    I think you shouldn’t worry of hospitals being nearby, or connecting with the outer world 😛

    So, Just go for it… if you can…

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  11. Your post got me thinking about how truly fortunate our family is to live just a 15 minute drive from city centre but in a neighbourhood with a true “village” feel. The kids in the neighbourhood hang out together and bike together to the nearest convenience store to buy slurpees. Several of the moms belong to the neighbourhood book club. Families enjoy the annual block party and Christmas caroling. And since our street is about 10 meters higher than the next street to the west, those of us on the west side of the street enjoy an unobstructed view of the magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountains.

    A branch of the public library is a 10 minute walk away and we often walk to the grocery store to pick up those few things that are inevitably needed between weekly grocery shopping trips. The bakers at the local bakery recognize us and greet us with enthusiasm every time we stop in.

    We’re blessed to enjoy the best of both worlds – all the amenities of a big city and the sense of community that’s so appealing about village life. Thanks for provoking a renewed sense of appreciation for our good fortune.

    And here’s hoping you realize your dream…the sooner the better!

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  12. My Beloved and I plan to live in a “village”-esque setting, if there’s such a thing, in the near future. I grew up in a small town and now live in a city with all the pollution and crowds that come with that. We’re saving up to build our “hilltop home by the Bay” so we can get away from the city, which we hope will happen in the next 2 to 3 years. It will be far away enough from the noise and crowds but only 20 minutes’ drive to the city centre so we can get what we need anytime. It is nice to live in a quiet, less crowded and cleaner environment but I think I would go nuts if I didn’t see one or two neighbors at least once in a while 🙂

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! I love yours 🙂

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    1. I think what you describe is the best of both worlds. I am been living in the city for about 8 years now and I still am not enamoured with the noise and pollution. Hope you get your home by the bay sooner than you think 🙂

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  13. YES! And I hope you’re able to some day. I also hope you find that sense of community that really seems to be lacking these days. Too many people would rather text and “Facebook” than actually talk to each other.

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    1. And by using these means of communication, they are losing the ability to empathise and connect on a deeper level with their fellow man. I believe the smart phone has a lot to answer for.

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