Do you wish to see lush forests and high peaks every time you look through the window? To swim in crystal clear mountain lakes on hot summer days? To go hiking or skiing or climbing every weekend? To enjoy wildlife all around you and escape from the concrete jungle of the city? If yes, moving to the mountains may be just the right step for you – it will give you the freedom to live the life you want and the chance to get away from the stress, crowds, and pollution of the big cities.
Mountain living, however, presents its own specific challenges (as does the mountain move itself), so you need to be very well prepared in order to perform a smooth relocation and adapt quickly and easily to your new environment. Here are some useful tips to help you get ready for your mountain adventure:
Why move to the mountains
If you’re considering such a life-changing endeavor, you most certainly have some good reasons to move to the mountains. Yet, you need to weigh all the pros and cons of mountain living before making your final decision as one thing is absolutely certain – your new life will be very different from what you’re used to.
Benefits of living in the mountains
From the sense of peace and calm to the beautiful scenery and healthy environment, life in the mountains has a lot to offer:
- Clean air and water – With the exception of some mining areas, pollution is not a concern in the mountains. The air is fresh and the water is pure in these higher altitude regions, resulting in better health and greater vitality among mountain residents;
- Numerous opportunities for outdoor activities – Mountain biking, rock climbing, skiing, and canoeing are just a few examples of the diverse outdoor pursuits available in the mountains. Even if you prefer some “less athletic” activities, you will still be able to spend many hours in the open air, enjoying wildlife photography, family picnics, peaceful fishing, or just pleasant walks in the woods;
- Higher safety – Crime is a rare occurrence in the peaceful mountain towns and the concept of heavy traffic doesn’t even exist there. You won’t need to worry about securing your property or protecting your loved ones – the risks of anything bad happening is very, very low;
- Less stress – There is none of the hustle and bustle of city life in the mountains – no hectic schedules, no big expectations, no constant noise, no hurry and worry. You will find calm and peace, surrounded by the serenity and beauty of the mountains;
- Friendly community – People in mountain areas are well acquainted with the rigors of mountain living and know the importance of mutual support and trust within the community. They’re kind and friendly to each other, ready to lend a helping hand whenever necessary. As long as you maintain a positive and honest attitude, you’re certain to be easily accepted in the community and provided with any assistance or advice you may need. In fact, you’re quite likely to make many good friends within just a couple of months after the move;
- More affordable life – While the actual cost of living in the mountains may differ greatly, depending on the state and region where your new mountain home is located, the overall living expenses in the mountains tend to be much lower than in the cities – housing and commodities are easily affordable, there are fewer things to spend your money on and many activities you can engage in for free, etc. You’re likely to feel much more financially comfortable when living in a mountain town than when living in a big city.
This all sounds great, but if you really want to move to the mountains, you need to take a look at the other side of the coin too.
Disadvantages of living in the mountains
Enjoyable and stress-free as it may be, mountain living presents some considerable difficulties as well:
- Limited employment options – There are fewer job opportunities available in the mountains and little chance for career advancement. Unless you’re working from home (so that it doesn’t really matter where exactly you’re located) or have some skills that are in high demand in the area, you’re unlikely to earn a high income, so you may have to find some resourceful ways to make a living in the mountains;
- Unreliable services and limited conveniences – Your internet connection may not be stable or fast enough, there may be power outages and some utilities may not be available in certain areas. Access to specialized medical care may be very difficult and you may have to wait for days for a plumber or an electrician. There may not be a local store that offers the products you need or the brands you want, etc. All in all, you should be prepared for a very drastic change in your lifestyle;
- Fewer opportunities – The available educational, entertainment, and social opportunities in small mountain towns are usually quite limited – there may be just one school, one pub, and one movie theater in the entire area. There will be no big concerts or major sports events held in town, no international festivals or art exhibits, etc. You may not even be able to practice a fancy hobby (such as yoga) or a not-very-popular sport (like fencing);
- Harsh road conditions – Mountain roads are not as well-kept and as easy to drive on as national highways. They are narrow, meandering, dangerous and sometimes impassable (during and shortly after severe thunderstorms, blizzards, heavy snowfall and other adverse weather conditions), so you need to be properly prepared for harsh driving conditions when moving to the mountains;
- Severe weather – It may be nice and cool in the mountains during the hot summer months, but you need to be ready for fierce storms, strong winds, lots of snow, and bitter cold in the winters.
If you’re still saying to yourself “I want to move to the mountains!” now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of living in the mountains, it’s time to start planning your mountain move.
How to prepare for moving to the mountains
There are some important things you need to know and some crucial issues to take care of when organizing a move to a mountain town:
- Learn how to cope with altitude sickness. The higher the altitude, the thinner and cooler the air becomes. The shortage of oxygen at 8,000 feet (or more) above sea level may result in a condition known as altitude sickness – you may experience dizziness, headaches, insomnia and/or shortness of breath until your body gets used to the higher altitude and you adjust to your new environment. To minimize the effects of altitude sickness, you’re recommended to:
- Drink plenty of water as your body tends to lose water and sodium while acclimating. It is also advisable to avoid smoking, alcohol, and spicy foods;
- Move around more slowly than usual and be careful not to overstrain yourself – take a lot of breaks and don’t try to unpack everything in a day or two (just take out and arrange your daily essentials, then continue unpacking at a more leisurely pace);
- Play your favorite relaxing music in the evenings to help you sleep;
- Talk to your doctor about any special precautions you might need to take before the move.
- Get in shape. Life in the mountains requires a lot of physical activity and, therefore, a high level of fitness – you’ll need to chop firewood, shovel large amounts of snow, walk up and down steep slopes several times a day, etc. So, it may be a good idea to start jogging, lifting weights, working out in the gym, or find other ways to get fit before moving to the mountains.
- Learn some basic maintenance skills. As already mentioned, you won’t be able to get professional assistance quickly and easily in the mountain regions. So, you may want to learn how to perform some basic maintenance work around the house in order to be able to fix minor problems and avoid hassles and inconveniences every time a small issue occurs. Needless to say, you also need to be able to cook your own food (there may not be a nice restaurant or a place to order food from in the vicinity) and handle all the household chores necessary to ensure your comfortable and enjoyable life in the mountains.
- Pack wisely. There will be many household items and personal possessions you won’t be able to use in your mountain home. Make sure you get rid of any inappropriate clothes, accessories, specialty equipment and other no-longer-needed items before your move to the mountains – sell whatever you can to pocket some much-needed money and donate to charities or give away to family and friends the rest of your unwanted belongings. Take only your most practical and valuable items with you – life in the mountains is going to be much simpler than life in the big city and you won’t need so much stuff (not to mention that moving all your earthly possessions to your new mountain home is going to be very difficult and will cost you dearly). Don’t forget to pack some weather-resistant clothing and appropriate footwear, though, as well as any specialty items you may need in your new surroundings from day one. (SEE ALSO: How to pack an essentials box)
- Hire experienced mountain movers to help you relocate. Driving a heavy moving truck along the steep, narrow mountain roads is a job better left to the professionals. You can take care of the other aspects of your move (such as packing and putting the necessary paperwork in order) yourself, but you’re strongly advised to use professional assistance when it comes to the actual transportation of your belongings to your new mountain home. Fill in a moving quote, get several onsite estimates of the moving costs, compare the offers, research the movers that seem to be most appropriate for your relocation needs and hire a licensed, experienced, and trustworthy mountain moving company to take care of your move.
Bonus tip: Get rid of your fancy vehicle and buy a car with four-wheel drive – you’ll save yourself plenty of time and troubles on the mountain roads.
Have a successful move and enjoy your new life in the mountains!