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Ask HN: Are you a remote worker that escaped to the countryside?
86 points by keiferski on July 13, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 133 comments
The civilizational trend seems to be more centralization. I'm curious if anyone has gone in the opposite direction. It seems that rural areas will become more and more of an opportunity for those able to capitalize on them.

Rather than a small apartment in a megacity, live in a restored farmhouse in the countryside. Theoretically, anyone with a remote job can work anywhere - so why not? Especially as a tech salary goes infinitely further in rural areas than it does in downtown SF/NYC/London/etc.




I've done it, doing it. Not extreme countryside but bears, coyotes, turkeys, deer, etc. roaming through the yard everyday. Garden, few acres owned, hundreds of acres of woods around.

Major thing I'd note which bit us more than we expected: a typical "farmhouse in the countryside" is roughly equal to another full-time job when you add up all the time and money you have to put in. So if you have an SO, then another half-time job each. I'm comparing this to renting an apartment or condo or even a cookie cutter in the suburbs, of which we've done each also. And I'm not talking about the cost/time to install that deck of your dreams. I'm talking about your water pump breaking in a heat wave, your heat dying during a snowstorm, your basement flooding in torrential rain, the slow decay of exterior woodwork begging to be replaced, etc. The plumbing in general...my god the plumbing. We've been in the house for over two years working our butts off and haven't made any real forward progress yet, just battling entropy.

Anyway not to doom and gloom, just wanted to drive that point home. I highly suggest it regardless. We're much saner and a little more financially ahead compared to living in a city, but we're not exactly sipping mimosas watching the sunset every day. The house will be much more demanding than you think, so just something to put in bold on the balance sheet.


This is an excellent point and agrees with my experience and which is why I like my condo with extensive green walkways, pool, tennis courts and the exorbitant fee that pays for a management company to take care of all of this.

I think countryside living would be attractive to a lot of people (it would to me) if I could get a "limited maintenance" setup. Either something that takes <30min / day to do myself or something that I can outsource relatively cheaply.

I wonder if technology could help. Current setup for most houses in the country needs a hacker: someone who is comfortable tinkering with everything from plumbing to roofing (or at least can competently assess those). Could a low maintenance setup be bought / developed, even if its sticker price is higher? Basically, instead of an old custom truck I am looking for a Toyota Corolla: expected trouble-free operation for a long time with basic maintenance. If the answer is yes there may be a significant number of buyers.


I agree. We moved from NYC to suburban Philadelphia (walk score of almost zero). We both work from home, which is great. But the house has been one project after another, and although there are ebbs and flows, there's likely always something going on. We're financially better off (our house is like 1/3 the price of our small 2 bdr rent in LIC) but the never-ending trickle of work is mentally taxing.

We needed to replace our washing machine when we bought the house, so I did the research and got the best front-loader we could afford. Turns out, due to $reasons, it vibrates throughout the whole house (it's on the second floor) and although it's working fine, every time we do the laundry we shudder at the annoyance. Now, we eventually will have to settle for a lower-performing top loader but I'm still not 100% certain that it won't cause the same problem, so we feel stuck. Keep the good, but frustrating, washer, or take a risk that another almost thousand dollar washer will have the same problem. Outsourcing these decisions and annoyances to a landlord is appealing.

Fighting entropy is a great way to put it - we had things come up that resulted in our inability to tend to the garden, and in a month, it's overwhelmed with weeds. That's my weekend project. Could we pay someone to clear it? Sorta. Service providers don't like (for obvious reasons) small projects, so nobody will return our calls when we say "It's like 2-3 hours of weeding". Could we find someone (say, a college student or something?) to do it? Probably, but it'd be almost more work to find and vet someone to do the work than it is to just do it ourselves. And, there goes a weekend. A weekend that, if we were still in the City, would be spent doing anything else.

I wouldn't trade it for almost anything, but it's not clearly the best solution for everyone. I would totally pay the equivalent of a "condo fee" for someone to manage all this nonsense.


Turns out, due to $reasons, it vibrates throughout the whole house (it's on the second floor) and although it's working fine, every time we do the laundry we shudder at the annoyance

This is why washing machines are usually on the ground floor in UK homes - usually in the kitchen, where they're close to the plumbing, despite there being very little overlap between food preparation and washing clothes.


>I wonder if technology could help.

Not really. A lot is a function of age, upkeep, how idiosyncratic the house is, the amount of property, etc.

I live in about a 200 year old farmhouse on a few acres with neighbors with more acreage (the best kind :-)). I'm not sure I'd describe it as a full-time job at this point but it has been at various points--the house had very little money put into it for a long time.

You can outsource some things. I have a lawn service for the area around my house that I keep as lawn. My neighbor plows our shared driveway and runs his tractor over my field once a yer or so. But, there's no magic number you can call to just "Make it so" even if you're more than willing to open up a checkbook. Took me about a year to finally get a badly needed bathroom remodel done.

And trees die and need to be dealt with. Painting needs to be done now and then. Finally having some long overdue to be replaced windows done. Had to seal the deck this spring. Etc. Etc. It's hard to avoid spending a fair bit of time if you own a house.


The older the building, the more maintenance will be required, and the more idiosyncratic the problems will be. And outsourcing maintenance, especially in remote areas, nearly always drives up the price a lot.

But there is an answer commonly used by people who holiday in the country for only part of the year, and therefore aren't around to do their own maintenance: the shared cabin / "static caravan" / "trailer".


> The older the building, the more maintenance will be required

Yes, in the current model. But the same is often true for most things (cars, computers, etc.). I wonder though if a different setup is possible, the one that optimizes for low maintenance and modular diagnostics and replacement. If so what a price tag would be. If it is well into 6 digits what scale would be needed to drive down the price extra to 100k or less?

Maybe that is not feasible, but I think we are at the state where if this were possible enough folks would jump at it.


It's not really a matter of money. In fact, the bigger the house and the bigger the property, the more work it tends to be to keep things up. A newer well-built smaller house should be less upkeep than some old, rambling farmhouse would be.

A big problem is that it's hard to outsource things that aren't repeatable regular tasks like lawn mowing and housecleaning. Of course you can outsource anything. But before you know it, you're spending a lot of money somewhere like the US for a reliable property manager and, as my neighbor was reminding me just yesterday, managing people then brings its own set of issues.


Yeah, it’s easy to forget how hard the Second Law works against you when someone else is taking care of it for you. It’s like how some developers today don’t realize what it was like to run a web service before AWS. I once lost a box and had to drive down to the data center and found that the fan bearing had blown. But it was an expensive hardware firewall from eBay and I couldn’t easily get another. So I had to go out and buy a new generic fan at Micro Center. Except it didn’t fit so I had to then go buy a file at ACE hardware and file down the fan until it fit. And I had to epoxy it down.

Of course back then a half day of unplanned downtime warranted a phone call to your big customers but wasn’t really a dealbreaker.


I think it depends on how old the house is and what you are comparing it to (condo or detached house). We moved to a 10 year old farm house and the house maintenance has been easier than our older suburban home.

Most maintenance time is spent outside because we have a couple of acres, an orchard and we enjoy gardening. But there was nothing stopping us from getting a house without acreage in the same area.

One thing that has improved, maintenance-wise, is snow removal. In our suburban home I used to spend 40-60 minutes removing snow from the driveway. Now we have a bigger driveway, but it's very affordable to get a professional snow removal guy to come with a plower and take care of it in 5 minutes. I started to enjoy winters much more after moving. Plus the white winter scenery here is much better than the muddy winter in the suburbs.


This is a great example of why I have no interest in buying a house. Sure, you get an asset and a mortgage is probably cheaper then rent, but rent is ALL my expenditures on housing. Besides that, I just don’t think about any of that stuff.


Very much depends on your landlord, or you get into a situation where not only is the plumbing broken but you've got to wait for someone flakey to organise its repair.


Yes. I've escaped from Dublin to Dungarvan, Ireland almost a year ago. In Dublin, I had to pay 1k euro for a room in a shared apartment, in Dungarvan I have 3 bedroom house for 800 (it was hard to find something smaller). Also switched full-time corporate job to part-time remote so I could spend more time hiking in the beautiful Irish countryside and cooking. I ended up with smaller numbers on my account but much more happy and I can really recommend it.


Do you mind telling what kind of job you do ?


I'm a software developer.


It depends what you consider the "countryside" and what you consider "escape".

Right now, I'm in an average subdivision in a rural county outside Richmond, VA. My neighbors all commute into the city, but I work remotely for a CA company. I'm not sure if I live in what you consider to be the "countryside". Whenever we go anywhere, we drive by farms, etc. FWIW, the walk score of my house is basically 0, and would actually be 0 if there wasn't a church within a mile.

In terms of "escape": I've worked remotely since 2001, with a two-year stint in an office at Google in MTV a few years ago. My initial motivation to work remotely was that my wife took a job as a professor at a rural college. I stuck with that company even after she decided she didn't like the job and we moved back to civilization. So I would not really say that I "escaped". We did not live in a major metro area before moving to the rural college, so there was really nothing to escape from. I will however say that finally moving out of the Bay area and back into our house in VA really did feel like an escape.


I have a remote job _because_ I live in the countryside. I'm very happy with my job, but its not a walk in the park being remote.

* Most companies want to pay you based on your location. If you are already in a the countryside when getting the remote job, they will compare your compensation with all the local farmers and retail jobs. They are the only jobs in the area, so that is what generates the income stats. Its not impossible to find a company that will pay you what your worth working remote, but its an uphill battle.

* Internet options are non-existent. If you happen to have issues that your provider is unable or unwilling to fix, you have no recourse. Its obviously very important to have a reliable internet connection when remote.

* Networking is difficult. If your company is very distributed, this won't be as difficult. But if you are remote while most others are not, your career will suffer. It doesn't matter how great you are, if you don't get facetime in with your coworkers while everyone else is, you will be left behind.

These are just some challenges I've noticed. I'm very happy with my current company, and I love making a decent wage while living in a low-cost area. Plus no traffic and online shopping makes up for the lack of local business.


I'm in a similar boat, and these points are spot on. Some additional points:

* You _have_ to work a lot harder to prove your worth to your peers. With networking be so difficult, it's hard to gain advocates (read references) for your career.

* Staying up to date in your industry can be a challenge, as the community around you is often not even remotely in the same industry. You don't get the idle chit-chat about new/exciting/changing thing, exposing you to new ideas. This might make you appear antiquated.

* It's hard to even idly talk with neighbors and friends about work, especially if you're in tech. They often don't have a frame of reference to know that a software engineer doesn't drive a locomotive. Re-explaining that to literally everyone can become tiresome, making it easier to just say "I write computer software". This can lead to an increased feeling of isolation.

* Travel can be more difficult if not near a central airline hub. Think, take an early connection flight to your connection flight to your main flight. This often leads to an entire day of travel to get to/from somewhere relatively close -- slow enough that it may be a faster option to just drive for 16 hours.

I wouldn't recommend moving to the countryside as a career move. You need to have something else pulling you there -- family, a non-work activity, pace of life -- to make it worth the extra work.


> Travel can be more difficult if not near a central airline hub.

Oh this is a great addition. Remote jobs often have an element of travel involved. Only having a small regional airline means a least 1 layover minimum and limited time options. Often that means having to travel on Sunday night to make the Monday at noon meeting - where others can just fly out Monday morning.


I'm not a developer but I do work (mostly) remotely. That is, technically I'm in an office but most of the people I work with regularly are scattered around the country so it's not worth my time to go in very often.

I don't really depend on neighbors or other social circles to discuss technology. Indeed, it's about the last thing I want to gab about if I'm on a weekend hiking trip.

Fortunately, my job requires me to attend, speak at, etc. a lot of events which offers plenty of opportunity to interact with peers. For me, I'd probably start to feel out of touch if I didn't get out of the house in this way.


Yes. I live in a town of 700 in a rural area in the north east of Vermont. I live on one of the only paved roads in town and have cable internet but a lot of the town relies on either 4G internet, wireless internet to the local tower if they have line of site or DSL. It's definitely a consideration when looking for a place to live.

We have 24 layer chickens and have raised pigs, sheep and meat birds in the past. There are many opportunities to be involved in the local community from the local library, to the school PTF, the historical society or the town selectboard. You do have to drive everywhere, but there's never any traffic.

We are looking to move to the outskirts of a "bigger" town[0] because we love hiking and want to be closer to the mountains and be closer than 20 minutes from a grocery store.

[0]http://townoflittleton.org/


Littleton is such a great small town. I went to school at Lyndon State college and littleton was one of the only towns we could go to. The NEK is such a beautiful area.


Howdy fellow Vermonter! (I live in Burlington, work in Richmond)


+1 Vermonter here too. Howdy.


Yes, this is my situation, I work from home so it was a pretty easy transition to working in a rural area.

It can be a culture shock though. Even something like Internet access can be very different from what you're used to, in addition to the nature of your relationship to your neighbors and so on. To anyone considering it, I'd recommend trying it first somehow (rent a place for a few months or something, maybe partly during the area's "off" or "shoulder" season if applicable, so you see what it's like when the good weather ends, etc). It may or may not work for you, but if it does it can be a really nice change.


As to internet access, look at that before picking a place. It really does vary wildly. For example, in North Dakota, several of the rural electric cooperatives have high speed fiber (One Gigabyte download, 500 Mbs upload - $105 to $135 per month, no cap), but the cable companies are sparse and lacking. Seeing what addresses are covered is pretty much a first step before picking housing.


I do know people who make do with satellite or wireless hotspots but it's obviously not ideal. Of course, you don't need to be in the back of beyond to have Internet access issues. My Xfinity has been acting flaky of late--though not clearly bad enough to deal with customer service hell--and Verizon FIOS isn't available at my house. I'm not in a city but I'm adjacent to a small one and only about an hour from a major metropolis.


That's good advice generally. There are a lot of places that are pretty idyllic in the summer that even I, who like winter activities, would probably find pretty isolating in the winter.

I'd add that country/city isn't a binary thing where you're either living in a major urban core or you're out in the sticks. The Bay Area is something of an exception but there are many major cities where about an hour gets you into much less expensive housing and space to spread out if you want that. But you're still close enough for going into the city for an evening if you want to. (And lot of the time, the tech jobs are already out from the city anyway.)


I live in the middle of a farm field outside a city of ~250k people (Madison, WI). It's a nice mix of countryside and city. I have deer and other unusual (to me) animals walking around my back yard often. I can try to grow my own food if I want, right now I just have some fruit trees.

If I need to get into town, it's about a 5 mile drive into town. I can visit my friends in the city or go shopping for most of what I need immediately. Otherwise, it's usually UPS or Fedex, when it's not available in town.

When I started looking for a new job, I made remote work a priority. If you have friends working remotely, they can be a good source of info on remote jobs.


I'm on an island with ~3K full-time residents, maybe twice that this time of year with tourism.

Being remote is a total non-issue as a rule, but depends on being in a company where this is part of corporate culture and processes. I've traveled for work twice in the last year, most recently for a hardware refresh.

In my case, home is a semi-rural yard, so I get some teasing if the rooster is heard during a conference call. Others do the same from urban apartments, but similar costs give me space, trees, and nearby ocean.

We have reasonable amenities on-island, more across a 10-minute ferry ride, and more yet within an hour's drive. Vancouver (BC) is a very short flight away, but far enough that real estate is reasonably priced.

When we wanted to make the move, my manager asked two questions. Do I have the internet, and do I have an airport? Those answered, I could do what I pleased. Now, I did have an existing in-person relationship there, but it didn't feel like a burden when I changed companies three years later (back to that corporate culture thing.)


Yes. We moved to the Grey Bruce area, which is 2h northwest of Toronto. It's where we used to come for vacations. We bought a nice house that would have costed at least 3x more in the GTA.

The quality of life has improved considerably. We are always surrounded by trees, water and wildlife. The downside is that my tolerance for the big city has quickly vanished. We went to Toronto for a few days and the noise, traffic and busyness made me really stressed and we had to cut our trip short.


After being in a remote dev job for a while and being confident I can find others in case this one go bad, I moved to a cheaper and smaller city in my country.

Just this move made my expenses drop around 30% and I was able to finally buy my home.

Angel List has lots of opportunities like that.


> After being in a remote dev job for a while and being confident I can find others in case this one go bad, I moved to a cheaper and smaller city in my country.

This is basically what I did as well.

I grew up in Harrison, AR. There is only one employer here that has anything resembling "tech" jobs, and I'd worked there for seven years and climbed the ladder as far as it made sense to climb - I was at the point where doubling my salary was a matter of competing for one of a dozen or so management positions, which would take probably a decade or more at minimum.

I moved to Charlottesville, VA in 2013 to work for a startup there. That alone was a ~60% raise, and in the five years I was there I built a professional network and worked my way up the pay and seniority scales. After moving to a remote position, we terminated our apartment lease, bought a house in Arkansas, and moved back.

About two weeks after moving in, I was laid off. I was able to put that network I'd built to work and found a new job in a few weeks, with a modest pay increase to boot!

Internet access is a big deal here - a lot of properties have only 8Mbps available at any price. I went by the cable company's office while we were shopping and asked to speak to a field tech. He gave me a service map that was accurate enough for me to use as a guide during our home search. I have 300Mbps cable, for which I pay ~$180 / month including removing the data cap.


Why do you feel confident you can easily find other remote jobs with the same pay / benefits / work responsibilities / career opportunities / etc., if your current role goes bad?

I don’t see any reason to think that.. across most job sites, Hacker News Who Is Hiring, Stack Overflow, etc., it seems quite hard to locate viable remote jobs period — let alone something that could work out quickly in a pinch and has high quality pay/benefits/etc.

Maybe if you’re willing to compromise on everything else, then you can quickly switch to another remote job in an emergency. But it seems very suspect to set your life up with that risk and the possible requirement of that severe sort of compromise if you’re very desperate for a single specific perk.


There's risk in everything.

Own a place? Even if you find another local job, there's no guarantee that you'll like the new commute.

But you live in the Bay area you say and can get a new job on your lunch hour? Maybe. Maybe not. And you're paying a huge housing premium. Nothing against the Bay Area if that's your preference but spending a huge chunk of take-home pay on housing carries its own risks.

And maybe an opportunity comes along that's so compelling that you'll be willing to relocate. Lots of people move around for work. Just because you work remotely doesn't require you to do so forever.


I don’t understand your comment. Saying “there’s risk in everything” is vacuous. Which scenario generally has less risk?

Obviously, remote jobs are less plentiful than on-site jobs. Jobs in small municipalities are less plentiful than jobs in dense urban areas, for software work and most other types of work. Jobs tied to one single, small municipality are pretty idiosyncratic and don’t change that much (with employers uprooting and leaving being the most common type of change).

There are many reasons why living in smaller towns or rural America can be a great thing. Diversification of employment risk factors is absolutely not one of them, and this is an aspect of working remotely while based in a rural location that carries huge risks.


I'm simply saying that you seem to be characterizing remote work as some unique existential risk, which I don't think it is, though certainly the density of local jobs is one factor I would consider if moving to take a new opportunity or on my own volition when working remotely.

Also, as I wrote in another comment, escaping to the country doesn't need to be the back of beyond. The Bay Area is somewhat different because of geography but there are many cities with a reasonable number of tech jobs where you can drive 45 minutes and be in a relatively rural environment.

Personally that's what I do. I'm mostly remote and live in a fairly rural town but I'm within an hour of a major metro and I even commuted into the city for a while.


We might be talking past one another, because I was talking about the OP's main topic, which was remote jobs specifically in rural areas. I understood this to implicitly be talking about locations where it was specifically not possible to drive a reasonable or even semi-long commute distance and find yourself in a high-density urban center.

Taking a remote job when you already live in a city or when you live within a reasonable drive of some other job center would mitigate a lot of the risk I am describing. I am only talking about specifically using a remote job as license to move to a highly isolated, rural area not within commutable distance to a big job center.

The OP and other comments seem to describe this as a wholly positive ideal, and in many ways I can agree. But I felt an important part of the discussion is that if you use a single specific remote job as license to move to e.g. rural Wyoming and live on a ranch with DSL internet, you're setting yourself up for trouble, because it's actually not easy to find a new job in a pinch like that.


The OP asked about moving to the countryside in general. Which you can do with reduced (though not minimized) costs without moving to rural Wyoming. I actually agree that, while moving to a mountaintop somewhere may still be a reasonable option for some people, you can mitigate risk considerably by moving to the outskirts of a general metro area that also has local options.


> Why do you feel confident you can easily find other remote jobs with the same pay / benefits / work responsibilities / career opportunities / etc., if your current role goes bad?

By constantly being invited to interviews for similar remote jobs with similar pay.

> I don’t see any reason to think that.. across most job sites, Hacker News Who Is Hiring, Stack Overflow, etc., it seems quite hard to locate viable remote jobs period

Wrong. Lots of companies that do not advertise remote jobs are willing to accept because they struggle to find people.

One advertised a full-time local role in Belgium. I sent an e-mail telling that if they accept remote work I'm game. I've been in several interviews in the past doing this.

They flew me there just for the interview... which I failed.

I currently work for a startup in Silicon Valley, half of the company is remote and we are shipping features consistently.

> Maybe if you’re willing to compromise on everything else, then you can quickly switch to another remote job in an emergency.

In my opinion this should be everyone mindset. I've seen my share of people married to big tech companies being fired on the first crisis and struggling to find jobs, because they only knew what the company asked them to do.

And on the worst case scenario I can rent my house and move back to the capital.

There is no such thing as job security in the tech scene today. Control you cost of living, save money, invest money and try to keep yourself reasonably updated with the latest technologies.


Your experience with finding these types of positions and interviews seems drastically different than the average case. Other people would unfortunately have to ignore your advice because the circumstances of finding viable remote positions would be so different for them that if they followed your approach, they’d really be putting themselves in extremely risky job situations and likely could end up unemployed for months on end unable to locate the next viable remote position.

I’m glad it has worked for you personally, but it would be a bad form of selection bias for anyone else to assume your way of thinking about it has any applicability for them; it almost surely does not.


I'd just point out that taking a number of months to find a new job is pretty much absolutely the norm for most people in many types of professional roles.

Last couple of times I changed jobs, I had interested high-level people who I already knew from Day 1 and it still took a few months to get on interview calendars, get through internal processes, etc. I have no doubt there are some people who can pick up the phone and have a new job the next week but it's absolutely not the norm just about anywhere--remote or otherwise.


I think you overestimate the duration of modern software job searches in urban areas. People sometimes take months to search when they are being picky, but it's not for lack of choices. Being in a very rural area and looking exclusively for the right sort of remote job though, then yes, you would be lacking choices and it would take at least several months and probably much longer, while at the same time forcing you to compromise more for lack of options.


> I’m glad it has worked for you personally

Thanks.

> Other people would unfortunately have to ignore your advice because the circumstances of finding viable remote positions would be so different for them that if they followed your approach

You are basically criticizing me for answering the question made by the OP. Look at the question:

Ask HN: Are you a remote worker that escaped to the countryside?

I answered yes, the benefits I see in doing it and that I feel confident that I (me, not anyone else) can find another similar job.

What are we discussing here?


You replied to my original comment in an itemized way, as if to refute or counter my points about the precarious riskiness of working remotely in a rural area or an area that otherwise has few nearby on-site jobs.

I was just pointing out that your comment doesn’t refute any of that. Those risks would still be material for most people, to such a degree that it would usually make the cost savings of working remotely in a rural area totally not worth it based on potential hardships of finding a new, similarly satisfying remote job in a pinch. Your ability to quickly find a new remote job while living rurally is dramatically atypical.

Since you originally replied to my comment like a point by point refutation of something, I was just trying to point out that you didn’t refute anything, because the experience you described is too atypical to matter broadly in most cases.

I’m not trying to criticize you. Only highlight that what you said is idiosyncratic for you because otherwise it’s extremely easy for someone to read your experience in the thread and mistakenly feel it would be just as simple and easy for them. It’s very worthwhile to take the chance to discuss the fact that that isn’t generally true.


> Why do you feel confident you can easily find other remote jobs with the same pay / benefits / work responsibilities / career opportunities / etc., if your current role goes bad?

I'm not the parent poster, but having moved to a rural area in January I've already experienced this. I spent a couple of days identifying target companies, and another couple getting my resume together and writing decent cover letters. After three weeks I was well into the interview process with five companies, and had an acceptable offer in hand after six.

> Maybe if you’re willing to compromise on everything else, then you can quickly switch to another remote job in an emergency.

That's part of the "trick" here - you have to be proactive in making sure you don't encounter an "emergency" like that. My goal is to have six months' of expenses in accessible cash, so if I did have to find other employment I'd not be desperate.

My recent layoff came at the worst possible time for me; I'd just drained my savings to come up with a down payment on a house and move. Because of this, I had to use a bit of credit to keep from having a major disruption for my wife and kids - but it was a "worst case situation" for which I had explicitly planned. It sucked but it was doable, and we went into it knowing exactly how long we could hold out and what actions we'd have to take if things didn't go the way we wanted.

Expenses living in a rural area a much lower than a city. For instance - my two-bedroom apartment in Charlottesville, VA was $1,860/month. My five-bedroom home on a half acre in Harrison, AR is $850/month on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. My utilities are less than half of what they were. The only exception is Internet access, which was included in my rent in Charlottesville and for which I now pay $180/month.

Food... A gallon of milk here is $1.85. Our groceries are less than half what they were.

> But it seems very suspect to set your life up with that risk and the possible requirement of that severe sort of compromise if you’re very desperate for a single specific perk.

There is risk in anything.

I wouldn't consider remote working a "perk" for me. It's merely a job requirement. Does it limit my options? Sure! So does my not wanting to work certain technologies, or on certain types of teams, or for companies in certain industries. I find that requiring remote work is less limiting than many of the other requirements I have for a job.

Finally, I'll say that it has been my experience that getting a remote job is much easier when you already have a remote job. I've found that it mirrors my experience with getting a job as a developer at all - I tried for a couple of years to get my first "development" job and failed. What I did manage to get was a position as "Intranet Administrator" that was mostly just managing policy changes and updating a static website. After working there for a while and sharing some utilities I'd written for my own use, suddenly other departments wanted to hire me for other jobs where they needed a "tech person". Eventually I ended up writing an "enterprise reporting platform" (which was really just a simple Django website with AD integration that generated some simple charts from SQL queries), which in turn finally gave me a title that sounded sufficiently like a developer ("Sr. Analyst, Systems & Performance Support") that it was accepted implicitly by my next employer.

At the end of the day - yeah, plan for the risk, but it's a risk that's both smaller and easier to offset through planning than you might think.


> "I'm not the parent poster, but having moved to a rural area in January I've already experienced this. I spent a couple of days identifying target companies, and another couple getting my resume together and writing decent cover letters. After three weeks I was well into the interview process with five companies, and had an acceptable offer in hand after six."

For remote positions, that experience just seems too atypical for anyone to hear your story and conclude that taking a remote job and moving to such a rural place would be safe, job-wise. Your experience sounds really atypical. That's bordering on the kind of turn-around you'd have in a super dense urban area like SF with a hotly demanded skill set. Definitely not typical for remote work.

I am not sure why you brought up the topic of expenses. No doubt they are much cheaper in rural areas... but if you lose a job it doesn't matter. Savings only lasts so long, and for something like a mortgage, especially in places where property values won't grow very much and often go down, it's a big risk to literally bet the farm that you would be able to find another remote job quickly in an emergency.

You also mention a lot about planning ahead, and of course that is great advice. But I'm specifically only talking about the sort of sudden job loss and extended spell of unemployment that you couldn't plan for. Think of someone just starting out in a new remote job without the chance to build savings yet.

It's way less of a risk if you have years of living expenses saved up and can float yourself, but that's usually not the position someone is in when they have to weigh up the relative risks of living in a rural area on a remote job.


> Finally, I'll say that it has been my experience that getting a remote job is much easier when you already have a remote job.

Yep. After I had proven experience working remotely with a known company the offers started to come more frequently.

Having an active Github and writing on Medium / Linkedin also helps a lot.


Once again, this experience really doesn't generalize. I worked in one fully remote job and the company did not care whether employees had prior experience working remotely and did not generally believe that people who worked remotely before would be any better at it than people who had not. There's not really a "skill set" for working remotely, mostly because so many companies require remote coordination between different office locations that even if you work in an office these days, it absolutely requires all the same remote-specific skills that a fully remote worker would have to utilize.

I've also generally experienced developers being hostile to candidates we wanted to hire when they had active projects on GitHub or they had high-reputation Stack Overflow accounts. It's very idiosyncratic whether developers try to cut people down and emphasize only dimensions of achievement that they personally excelled in, or if they take a humbler approach and have a more open mind about a variety of ways that a developer can demonstrate skills. But by no means is it common for people to look positively on GitHub activity. Most often, interviewers just ignore it and believe it's not relevant to their job and prefer you to complete silly programming trivia. But occasionally they go further and even actively hold it against you in petty ways.

Overall, I'd say it's no easier to get remote jobs by already having a remote job.


Once again you are wrong, dismissing the the experience of everyone else and set your experiences as irrefutable facts.

Even though nobody is putting their opinions as a rule that applies to all.

Seem like the fact that people succeeded in what you dind't really bothers you.

Hang in there buddy :)


You said,

“Yep. After I had proven experience working remotely with a known company the offers started to come more frequently.”

I’m just trying to point out that this isn’t useful for most people: it wouldn’t work that way.

It seems like you unrealistically need to assert that there can be no downsides, even for others, about the particular remote working experiences you have had. Even so far as to make some sweeping, judgmental comment about me based on the very wrong presumption about my prior remote work.

I hope your insecurities about your choices will subside so you can admit that the risks implied by your advice are too severe for most people to consider abd negate most of the upsides you talked about.


In 1998 my wife and I moved from San Diego to the mountains in Central Arizona, to the small town of Sedona. Except for some onsite contracting work at Google and in Singapore, I mostly worked from home. We had a wilderness hiking trailhead 150 feet from our house. A year ago I got tired of remote work and took an office job in a Midwest university town - a nice change of pace!


I worked for a remote company and I was based in an east coast city. When I mentioned the idea of relocating back to where my family lives in a suburban / rural area of the Midwest, my company said that if I relocated, they’d have to apply a “cost of living adjustment” to my salary and it would be reduced to about 2/3 of the salary I would earn for the same position living in my east coast city.

The salary cut seemed almost perfectly calculated to ensure my personal savings rate could not be any higher in the Midwest than in an urban center.

My job involved no travel or any other aspects that would have been affected by my move, especially since I would be in the same time zone. In fact, I would have lived closer both to most of our customers and to the Chicago office by moving rather than staying on the east coast.

I’ve heard this is actually quite common, and that even for remote workers, companies try hard to price your wage based on where you live rather than what value you add.

Combine this with the huge risk of not being able to find another remote job or nearby on-site job, and living rurally does not actually seem like a good idea to me. You’re one layoff away from a job crisis, whereas in a city or metro area, at least you can quickly find other work.


Indeed.

There's a real risk that a layoff will upend things and there won't be another remote job in the offing, let alone anything local. I recently had that experience and I was fortunate that I have a spouse who works and we put away a savings cushion (which we depleted) for just such an event. I also encountered a prospective employer who dickered over pay scale for remote outside their area vs remote based in one of their metropolitan areas. No thank you, best of luck, I'll commute and work for someone who doesn't discriminate based on my zip code. I also note that a well-known source code control company actually formalizes this practice and offers a calculator to see how hard they intend to screw you, which is at least up front rather than late in the hiring process.


I'm sure it depends on how much the company values you, and how precarious your employment is, but assuming you are valuable to them at your current (well, previous) salary, you should be able to negotiate.

"You aren't paying me for where I live. It's actually quite irrelevant! You pay me for the value I generate. Continue paying me for the value I generate. Done!"

Of course, I've mostly worked for small companies that shit bricks when I leave. I imagine large companies have stupid cough, sorry... inflexible? policies in place that they can't find themselves troubled to work around.


Just say no to salary adjustments. The point of remote is, it doesn't matter where you live. Resist letting it be their decision where your remote base is located.


What do you mean “say no”?


Push back by saying "No, you find me valuable at this rate, and that doesn't depend on where I live since I'm remote already". You may even have to find another remote job.


Typically, even for the most valuable engineers, the company will just say “see ya” at that point.

Finding another remote job with acceptable pay / benefits / work responsibilities / etc., is very hard and takes a long time.

Honestly, I think you’d have to get another job offer (either also remote or in the location you want) to use as leverage for your existing employer to let you move without decreasing your pay.

I just think almost every employer would force a pay decrease in that case, no matter how unfair or unrelated to your value-add, and unless you already had another offer lined up, you’d never be in a position to give them an ultimatum in which you’ll quit if they decrease your pay.

It’s why this idea of earning a SF or NYC salary while living in some nice Midwestern suburb is still nearly 100% myth.


Huh. I guess I'm a myth then.


I'm a contractor but have my own independent business too so i'm mostly a remote worker. I live just under an hour from the capital city (Edinburgh). You could definitely say i live in the country however, i live in the biggest town in the countryside. It has all the convenience that i want like supermarkets, restaurants and amenities within a 5 min walk, fast internet and a 5 minute drive takes me out of the town and into plush green hills and forests where i walk the dogs.

Theres a direct train into Edinburgh from here that takes 50 minutes and the view out the window on the journey is awesome. I bought a house here, a medium sized 3 bedroom with gardens front and rear, for the same price as a cramped 1 bedroom flat in Edinburgh. I also have a 3,500 sqft warehouse with an office i rent for my business and hobbies (motorbikes, quads, metal/woodworking) that costs me the same as a 800 sqft office in the city.

I've picked a damned good balance between convenience, ease of commute to the city and financial arbitrage, i'm very happy here.


Yup! Was living in Barcelona for ~6 years, was working in offices in Barcelona as well. About 1.5 years after becoming a remote worker, we moved out from Barcelona into a small town (~6000 people) instead, AMA.


What will you do if you get the ax from your current job? If you’re self-employed how do you generate leads if you’re far from the nearest city?


Probably the first I would try is to find another remote work. Otherwise we would probably have to relocate again if that's not possible, but I'm not very worried about being able to find another remote job.


Another small town in Spain? I found that many of their small towns have really terrible internet, which was a deal breaker for me.


Depends on the town. As a counterpoint El Hornillo, Gran Canaria is one place where many people still live in caves - literally - and they have higher speed and cheaper internet than I can get in most US major cities. According to wikipedia the population is 390 people.


Guess it depends on what you compare it to. It's more expensive than the same we had in Barcelona, but it's not as expensive as people in the US has it, so we're pretty happy.


I'm trying to do exactly this, people think I'm crazy. Do you mind me asking where did you relocate exactly?


Heh, don't listen to them :) Moved to Sant Vicenç de Montalt. Mataro being the closest city.


I did, 6 years ago. Moved to a dilapidated farmhouse south of Salt Lake City, fixed it up, and we do some hobby farming. After 5 years, I went back to an office, so it worked out well that I am still commuting distance to where the jobs are. At the same time, suburbia grew and they have put housing around us. So now I live in an old farmhouse in the middle of suburbia.

Based on my experience, I do recommend getting away and working remotely... but I also recommend not being so far away from a city that your remote employer has a tighter grip on your financial stability than an on-site employer would. (Probably will matter less as time goes on and more remote work is available.)


I'm gonna guess Lehi?

I lived 17 years in Utah, and spent about 10 of that working remotely for a handful of very small clients (remote unix sysadmin). Spent some time in Delta, then moved to Vernon, then found my way back to SLC.

Unfortunately divorce threw a wrench into the works, so I moved out of state to an urban area and ended up back in the 9-to-5 grind. I've been desperate to get my freedom and quiet life back ever since.

Maybe some day...


Nah, Lehi is a mass of urban sprawl these days, with piles of traffic and office buildings. I'm down in Spanish, a few minutes out of the canyon.


I did this and am so glad I did. After being with GitLab (a remote only company) for 6 months, I took the leap and bought a 5-acre hobby farm in rural Florida.

Pros: Quiet! No traffic sounds or screaming neighbors. The owls get a little crazy but I'll take it. Beautiful dark skies at night with no light pollution. In general, things feel more peaceful and slow, even if I am dealing with work deadlines.

Cons: Satellite internet (ugh). I had to supplement with a hot spot which has proved to be a lifesaver. There is a lot more upkeep with 5-acres to mow. I also have 2 rescue horses on the property but I consider that a pro :)


I never moved to a mega city but I've been pretty close to the countryside my whole life. Was very close to moving to SF in the late 1990s and to NYC in the mid-2000's but those didn't happen for various reasons.

Grew up in a farmhouse built in the 1840's. First house I bought was built in 1890 and was on the edge of a protected wetlands. Second and current house is much newer, 1990's, but is on the edge of a national forest. There's been a "city" within 20 miles at all times so we're not totally secluded.

All of my work through the 2000's could've been remote and finally switched to fully remote about 7 years ago.

I have a choice of either DSL or cable internet. A few miles away some businesses have fiber either through Google or a local ISP, but it all depends on if the building had existing dark fiber going in. No one is piping in new stuff. I've been tempted to rent office space in one of these buildings but never pulled the trigger as home internet is mostly fast enough.

One benefit that's nice, but sort of outside of the OP's question is that my family has travelled quite a bit including weeks in Asia and some of my clients never knew. I just had to schedule meetings either at the very beginning or very end of their business days to align with my sleep schedule.

Real estate in areas like this can be stupid cheap as well. My wife manages rental properties and two of the apartment buildings we've bought cost less than than our cars did new.


Yes, I moved to a small island off of the coast of Georgia, just north of Jacksonville, FL. Given that it has a vibrant tourism industry, I'm not sure I'd call it "rural", though it is an hour from any larger cities. It's not quite surburban either, though.

We love it here.

The "gotcha" is the need for solid internet connectivity. That's still hard to come by in truly "rural" places we looked at. Finding good schools is also a mixed bag, but that's true in urban settings as well.


We considered property on Hatteras Island in the NC Outer Banks, but decided against it. The impact of salt water on vehicles was a big reason, as was the flooding and vulnerability to hurricanes - but honestly, the lack of reliable, fast Internet access was what disqualified it for us.


Tybee? Was just down there with my wife for our anniversary. Great little tourist stop.


St Simons Island, about an hour south of Tybee.


(I live in the UK) I not fully in the middle in the know-where but at the edge of a small town in the middle of the countryside 1hr 45mins by train to london. Regarding Salary it depends where you want to live as in the UK there are other parts of the country that are actually a lot more expensive than london with way higher average house prices as just don't have any low end properties.

Like Coltswold villages as average houses prices can be 700k - 800k UK pounds plus. So it all depends, but I being living in a nice average house outside city now for nearly 2 years which I could not afford in london and highly recommend getting out of the rat race, as life is much slower when out of city living.

I actually have IMAX cinema not far from me and lot of amazing pubs and restaurants so really feel I am not missing out.

Thinks like being able to walk outside your door, with 5 minutes be on a public footpath and heading into the countryside and having clean air to breath. It the health benefits for me.


This is an interesting question. And I’m a bit biased, but I’m doing both. So I’m working remote for a company on the other side of the world. And I live in Barcelona, in the middle of the hectic @22 area, (BCN Silicon Valley) it’s kind of a joke, but that’s fine.

But earlier this year we bought a rural house in south-east Sweden. A modest little countryside dwelling. Completely off-grid. Relying on solar/wind and Private well.

Our plan is to spend our years like this - 1/3 in Barcelona, 1/3 in the country side dwelling and 1/3 of the year traveling. When we are not occupying our apartment or house we are renting them out. So we are basically living for free and get our travel tickets paid for by the income generated from renting our apartment/house.

In Barcelona we have 1000/1000mbits fiber. And in Sweden funny enough we also have fiber but “only” 300/300mbits.

I’m not sure for me personally if living 100% country or city would be something I’d like to do. I love the seasonal changes. And the getaways. So being a remote worker makes that possibly in a way a normal fixed office position simply can’t do.

Also it’s insane what you can get for the same amount of money if you compare and odd city to the countryside. Quality of life really increases with the veriety. At least from my perspective.

Ping me on Twitter if you want to chat more about this in person. @linusekenstam


While I LOVE the idea of living a peaceful, pastoral lifestyle, I’m not so sure I’m ready to abandon the coviences of city living... I love being able to shop at twelve different specialized grocery stores or cheese shops... I love getting medical cannabis delivered... I love being able to find a party any night of the week if I really wanted to...


This is my situation. Worked in DC. Now I live in the Fingerlakes Region of NY and work remotely as a support engineer. I'll echo others points:

* If you _start_ remote, your salary will be lower for your area. Aim for a transition or a company with decent remote salaries

* If you lose your remote gig and have a mortgage, you could be in trouble. You can plan around this though.

* Internet required for remote work often requires a small village/community rather than complete country living

* There aren't many software engineer's to hang with in the country :P

* Remote work is harder than most think, you'll need to overhaul your habits / work environment

I fucking love it for the most part. Dog loves it even more. I don't go "out" much. But I enjoy camping, boating, hiking which are all nearby and free. My hour commute turned into reading/tinkering time. My cost of living was cut in half(at least). It's peaceful and I have more resources to focus on myself. Highly suggest it.


> If you lose your remote gig and have a mortgage, you could be in trouble. You can plan around this though.

I'm 34, with a wife and two kids. I'm at the stage of life where I feel like I've had enough of killing myself trying get a bigger paycheck and am focusing on reducing expenses and building long-term that doesn't require me to work every day.

While I certainly don't plan on doing it, my expenses are such now that I could keep all the bills paid working at McDonald's. I wouldn't be able to buy toys, stay on track for retirement, or maintain our overall lifestyle but it's a huge weight off my shoulders to know that I'm not dependent on maintaining a six-figure job to be able to keep the roof over my family's head.

> Remote work is harder than most think, you'll need to overhaul your habits / work environment

Agreed, 100%. This is still an evolving process for me. I have a great home office that's very nice. I started off working from there every day, but I've found that I was becoming increasingly easily distracted by family, "homeowner stuff", the fact that my gaming PC was sitting right there, etc. My solution to that is to physically get up and go somewhere else whenever I go more than fifteen minutes or so without being productive.

Since this spring, I spend the majority of my days in a hammock. This is an older pic from before I moved, but it's still representative of my mornings: https://imgur.com/9Pi8xaY

When I get too hot or distracted, I go to a diner. When I've been there too long or am distracted, I go somewhere else - a park, the town square, under a bridge, on the ridge above a business, to the library... you get the idea. I just move, reset, and start the process over.


I'm only 27. Still lots of adulting to learn over here.

Regular visits to the diner is one of the best habits I've made when working remotely. Helps ease the isolation of remote work.

I'm not too comfortable working away from my desk. My work feels very awkward without a full keyboard, mouse, and 2 monitors. Somewhat often phone communication also makes it cumbersome.


Live on a farm in Iowa, 10 miles from Iowa City. Nearest neighbor is a quarter of a mile away, then half a mile to the next.

I told my silicon valley job "I'm moving back to Iowa. I can move and work for you, or I can move and work for {pulled out job offer letter} these guys." They instantly said "Move to Iowa and work for us". No pay adjustment; no pushback. But I was a senior engineer in the OS group for a proprietary OS.

For a time I went a week each month and sat in my old chair. After a year of jetlag, I chose a local job (well it fell in my lap) for half the pay, and gave up the commuting.

A few years here, a remote job fell in my lap, San Jose startup needing designers/architect. Took it, back to commuting a week a month. Lasted 2 years, startup got bought, and its been one remote gig after another since then (20 years). No more commuting, pure remote now. Consultant/contractor, few clients know where I work.


I guess I am still on step 1. I moved back to Iowa and kept the same job, and I go back occasionally to see everyone face to face (it is less than 2 hours away by car).

I have thought about moving on to your 2nd step and certainly have some opportunities, but I don't even want to drive 15 or 20 minutes to a town every day.


Yes, my partner and I do this. We work part of the year in a very rural area near a national park and part of the year in a small beachtown. Both areas are near family, so rather than being isolated, we are more connected. We're in our 30's so don't really miss the big city social scene at this point in our lives.

Two pieces of advice: Rural internet can be crappy, but LTE has made getting high-speed internet in the sticks much easier. We generally have 2 LTE networks running at once for extra reliability. External antennas and stationary LTE-modems can help boost marginal signal. We're looking forward to 5G availability/SpaceX satellite internet.

Choose places that put your hobbies very close at hand. In both our locations, hikes, sports and nature are just a short walk away. This helps keep you from just spending a lot more time at home.


> Rural internet can be crappy, but LTE has made getting high-speed internet in the sticks much easier.

I'm not sure I'd be able to deal with LTE at home, since I play online games quite a bit, but I'm very impressed with it for work. I often drive out to a lake or river and work from a hammock, tethered to my iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth.

It's incredible to me that I get 50Mbps in a hammock, when it seems like only a few years ago I was paying $80 / month for 128Kbps ISDN only a few miles away.

OK, maybe that was twenty years ago. Maybe I'm just getting old :)


I did it about 5 years ago. I grew up in a rural area and gave city living a go in the bay area for a decade. At the end of it I came to the conclusion that cities aren't good for my mental or physical health and moved back to the middle of nowhere. I spend more time with my family and people in general than I did living in a crowded city. More exercise, fresh air, nature, etc.

There are downsides. The 100+ year old Victorian house I now live in is impossible to pest proof. Rats and bats make an occasional appearance. The insulation is old and ineffective. Work is harder to come by. Resources, such an cars and mechanics, are harder to find. I don't travel much, but when I do, I always wish I lived closer to the airport.

I'm looking at relocating to a rural area that's still out in the woods, but closer to a smaller city than I am now.


> The 100+ year old Victorian house I now live in is impossible to pest proof.

When we were house shopping, one of our "short list" was this house, which is about a century old: https://www.google.com/maps/@36.222585,-93.1124827,3a,75y,26...

We ended up with a slightly smaller home on the outskirts of town that was built in the 70s. It partially burned in ~2008 and was completely remodeled afterward - all of the electrical, most of the plumbing, and all of the ventilation was replaced.

The older home was listed at $99k versus the $135k of the one we bought. It was bigger, in a part of town we preferred, and we loved the layout and "feel" of the older one... but I cannot overstate how glad I am that we bought the one we did.

Even this one has been far more of a financial strain than I expected. One of the things that wasn't apparent to me is the sewer situation. I knew the home had a septic tank, and I'm familiar with the care and maintenance burden that it entails; I wasn't aware that the city has an ordinance prohibiting the substantial repair of existing septic tanks. When our tank reaches the end of its life we're required by law to connect to the municipal sewage system, which I've estimated will cost about $10k. That's higher than usual, but I believe it's accurate: the plumbing in the home will have to be "reversed" because the septic tank and the municipal sewer service are on opposite sides of the house; the sewer access point is 12' underground because of the neighborhood's landscape; the path between the hookup and the access point goes under the three 40-year-old trees in our front yard, at least one of which will have to be removed.

> Resources, such an cars and mechanics, are harder to find.

I've found Facebook to be a huge help for this sort of thing. I grew up in the area I now live, but it's been five years since I was here so a lot of my knowledge is outdated. Businesses close, move, and change hands.

Whenever I need something done I post in a local "gossip" group. It generates a fair amount of the typical drama in the responses, but it's been effective for quickly finding reliable service workers in particular.

> I'm looking at relocating to a rural area that's still out in the woods, but closer to a smaller city than I am now.

I fully understand that. My preference would be to live far away from people and with another land that I can do whatever I want on my property without worrying about the neighbors. My wife grew up in a small city and finds that lifestyle to be isolating - so we compromised on a small subdivision on the outskirts of town. It's dense enough that we know our neighbors and there are people around, but rural enough that there's 200 acres of farmland about two blocks from us. The kind of people who live here seem to be more compatible with my kind of libertarian individualism than what I've experienced elsewhere, too, which is nice. Our town technically has ordinances requiring dogs to be on leashes or fenced at all times outdoors, building permits, etc. - but my neighborhood has at least four little dogs and a couple of cats running around during the day and I don't think a building permit has ever been issued for the entire subdivision. It's quiet, friendly, and we generally get along with one another. My neighbor has a boy about my oldest daughter's age (9), and even though they play together all the time, he still stops at the property line and asks my permission to come over every single time.

I feel like I got all the good parts of 1950s America.


I am currently doing it, near to the forest & foothills of a small mountain south of India. Also, I travel to SE Asian countries to places which are not so urban. While there are many advantages, I see myself travelling to Bangalore quite often to feel the developer vibes and talk to like-minded people to beat loneliness.

After spending enough time in Bangalore and then in Cebu (Philippines), With the convenience of remote work, it influenced my priorities to clean air and water than meetups and people. Work-life harmony is much better, while the work-life balance is out of question currently with the workload. I find myself not spending money, there is some energy left in the evening to read, I go walking near the mountains and meditate every morning. Life has turned out to be better overall.


That is my exact situation.

I'm currently on 2-ish acres of land (we are renting), in 100+ year old brick farmhouse. My neighbours are 3 soy fields. You can hear coyotes not 50m away most nights. We have a dog, and he loves the space to run. We've planted ~30m^2 of vegetable gardens, and participate in community supported agriculture programs that let us fill our pantry, deep freeze, and refrigerator with amazing seasonal local produce and local beef/poultry/pork while supporting the local town economy.

Internet can be troublesome. We "lucked out" with a 7mbps DSL connection, but my nearest neighbour about 1km away has no choice but to use a satellite connection which is shaky at best, and unusable in bad weather.

Your perspective changes, too. It takes at least 15-20 minutes to get anywhere (we have a walk score of zero), so driving a half hour doesn't seem like a big deal. Heck, we drove 40km each way a few days ago to find some sushi, since my partner had a craving for it.

The rental aspect takes away much of the negative of country property maintenance that has been described by others, and does give us a bit more mobility/liquidity should financial emergencies arise that would require us to move back to the city. The downside, of course, is that we have less freedom to change or modify the property to better suit our needs, but such is life.

My quality of life has significantly improved, mostly because I have a lot of space to do things I've always wanted to do in the city but couldn't, and it's all stuff that gets me off of the computer. I taught myself how to fix old cars. My partner is learning carpentry, and has taken up leatherworking. I make ~20gal of wine in my basement from fruit that we pick ourselves. We garden.

I grew up in farm country as a kid, so it's not that jarring for me, but I it was still a bit of an adjustment after living in major cities for most of my adult life.

I hope that I can continue to live in the country and work remotely; it's been quite the positive lifestyle change.


I moved to a small city in the south of Chile with my wife who's also doing business remotely. You can live really comfortable here for less than $2k/mo for two people.

While we are not in a countryside yet, we bought a half hectare of land on a hill near the city and plan to build a house in a few years. I except the total cost of land + cleaning some forest + construction to stay under $150k (but we want a relatively small house).

If you are interested in moving to Chile, I made a whole site about it: https://valdiviaguide.com/


Yes, I work remote for my old job in Silicon Valley. I really haven't tried to find a new employer, and I'm many years away from retirement, so I don't know what will happen when it's time to change jobs.


Are you working with outdated technologies?

If so I would suggest start learning new technologies, start adding simple projects to you github and writing on linedin.

Seems like too much but just start one thing at a time. This way you will dramatically increase your changes of finding another remote when when necessary.

But in the end of the day you also need a plan B, which is money saved and some idea of where to go in case you need to move back to the city to find a regular job.


That easy before the wife and kids came along.


I used to live in sao paulo, working for large software consultancies, and it has been 10 years that I started working remotly and moved to a small beach town 3 hours away: more productive, more free time, less expenses.


I live in Connecticut 2.5 hours from Boston and NYC.

I've worked remote for the last 5 years.

I'm toying with the idea of starting a web series on tips and tricks of going remote while living in a non urban area, spreading the wealth and trying to spend locally.

Here is part 1:

https://russell.ballestrini.net/how-to-work-from-home-the-ro...

I'm an avid permaculturist and I grow some of my families food.


It sounds like our lifestyles have a good deal of overlap. Interested in collaborating? I don't have the passion to make a series like this myself, but I could put together a few blog posts and contribute.


Sounds Interesting, feel free to reach out (contact info on my blog)


Would anyone like to share how they went about getting such a job?


My company is pretty good about letting people that have worked with them for a while move to a remote job. One person moved to Ireland, another near Yosemite, a couple to Oregon. I've considered it before but I need to stay where I am for other reasons. I wouldn't mind moving closer to my home town if I have kids.


I was actually looking to move from one urban center to another, and switch jobs accordingly. During my job search, my current employer found me on hired.com. They're an entirely remote company. Taking this job has turned out way better than I ever expected, especially considering I wasn't looking for remote work. I was able to move closer to family, get a house with a separate office, and live surrounded by woods, all while staying on track with retirement savings and living comforts.

I was weary of doing remote work initially. I always felt like the remote workers at my last job were a little more disconnected than the office workers. I also turned down the opportunity to work remotely at my last job. Working at a fully remote company has been an eye opener though. I feel more connected to my coworkers now than I did when working in an office. It all depends on the company's culture.

In the future, if I had to look for another remote job, I would look for remote-only companies. Their culture is likely to befit remote work much better, and the people making salary and benefit decisions are able to better sympathise with the employees because they are remote also.


It's easier than it used to be (you can search job sites for remote and actually find jobs now!), but still harder than finding a normal job of course.

Also, there are sites like https://www.remoteonly.org/ that list companies


I've never been "officially" remote but I've had quite a bit of flexibility for getting onto 20 years. At my current job, I did take it as an on-site position. It actually only missed out by about half a mile from being the nearest major tech office to my house.

Modulo a fair bit of travel, I did go in a fair bit at first. What basically happened is the people I work directly with became more and more distributed over time and then I had a new manager who works remote. So increasingly, it just didn't make sense for me to do the 30 minute or so commute.

I still go in now and then but I actually spend more time at other company locations than where my desk ostensibly is.


I live among cornfields in rural Iowa.

Worked for the same place in a different state for several years then moved here some years ago to begin working remotely.

The entire county has 1G fiber to the home internet service available at a reasonable price and everything works out wonderfully.

You can get a nice, sturdy old house on an acreage for significantly under $200,000. Even the ""fancy, big houses"" on 10+ acres are rarely listed for more than $300,000 to $400,000.


I am escaping at the end of this month when I move into the house that I grew up in, situated on 1.5 ac in Northern California. It's on a hilltop on a private road. The peace and quiet will be refreshing after years of living in the noisy suburbs. The only problem is getting a strong enough internet connection. So far, the best I can get is 6/1 DSL. After years of 100+/5+ that hurts more than you realize!


I live in Northern CA too, about 40 miles Easy of Sacramento. I live in Comcast's zone (so I get 100/5) but my friend .5 mile away only has DSL as an option. A lot of people around me have to use radio frequency internet or satellite. Before I even considered a house, I would first confirm with Comcast that they serviced that house. Double check though! We were in escrow for a different house before I realized Comcast had given me the wrong info the first time.


I was visiting my dad in Maine last week. He is the very last house on his road that can get DSL. He gets about 0.5 down. Internet is a regular topic at their homeowner meetings.


Among the people I've been working with this is a trend - especially once they have children and need some inexpensive real estate.

One extreme example: Our tech lead from two projects ago has four children and his wife is a homemaker so they're living exclusively off his salary.

One downside is employers are aware of the fact that the cost of living is lower in rural areas so wages for remote workers(at least where I live) are generally lower.


I 've been working partly from home in the English countryside and partly from our offices in London for many years now. Definitely wouldn't want to go back to working 100% from an office. There are disadvantages of course working partly or fully from home but having a walk in the mornings with our dog makes me forget them.


> Especially as a tech salary goes infinitely further in rural areas than it does in downtown SF/NYC/London/etc.

They will also pay less though. It's not like even Google, FB, MS pay the same salaries in Europe that they pay in SF. I guess remote workers would get even less in most companies.


Depends on the company. The salary scale at mine doesn't take into account where you live (which I think is smart; we don't target people who live in any particular place, so we try to pay what the work is worth to the company).


Not saying this does not exist, but it's hard to find good companies that offer remote work, and finding one that pays remote workers equally to onsite is even harder from my experience.


> so we try to pay what the work is worth to the company

As in you pay a percentage of the revenue that person generates? How do you work that out per person? Or is it aggregated over all developers? What do you do to determine the worth of cost-centre work like support?

Do you find paying based on worth to the company is massively different to the market rates?

How do you work out the worth of work that isn’t generating revenue yet but might in the future or might never, like research?


I'm not a developer, but the process is the same for them.

Where revenue is directly attributable to something, that's taken into account. For non-technical roles, business decision-making ability is heavily accounted-for, as are skills like legal research that are fairly specific (that's one of mine). It's not a very precise process, but I have yet to see any precise process for compensation that wasn't obviously pretty bad. There's also a requirement around capital contribution in relation to your pay level, and then you also get some quarterly/yearly distributions.

Our entire company is remote, so comparing to market rates is tricky. It's below-market for the Bay Area (but so are most startups), and far above market rates for the area I live in. Anecdotally, my pay (and responsibility) has gone up significantly here compared to previous jobs because this system allows a pretty dynamic evaluation base, whereas my previous employers' compensation systems didn't know how to account for outliers in output and competency, at least below executive levels.


Yes - I took a remote job partially so that I could live whereever I wanted. I've been living in remote South-West England (Cornwall) for 6 years now and I love it here! It does limit opportunities in some ways but it's beautiful and a wonderful place to raise a family.


I didn't quite make this jump, but did switch to a remote role at my startup so I could move from a big city to a relatively smaller city (Pittsburgh). So far I have been really happy with the move, mainly because housing in the major cities is insanely expensive.


This is definitely my dream! Unfortunately I work in embedded which is especially hard to find remote work in (I`m guessing?). So I`m thinking about switching to more high-level work, maybe back end web development, I can at least leverage Linux experience.


100% WFH, Live on 15 acres and surrounded by literally several thousand acres of corn in northern Illinois. Closest neighbor is more than a quarter mile away. We only have five neighbors in a one mile radius.

We have a dog, cats, chickens and horses.


I do it. I work remote, live outside the county in a rural state.

It's not for everybody, especially if you're a workplace social butterfly.

But if that aspect doesn't bother you, there is a lot of upside (especially financial). It works well for me.


Does living in the Santa Cruz Mountains count? I have a couple acres, lots of redwoods, and can’t see my neighbors. And I’m 35 minutes from Mountain View if there’s no traffic.


No, countryside seems like prison to me. You have to drive everywhere, you have to shop at the only one shop with limited choices. The isolation, etc.


Live in rural West Georgia. Work in Alabama. ...i have a lot of advice and tricks. PM if you need help. It is very doable.


No, I already live in a small city and I want to get remote jobs from big cities


No and no but that's my dream.


Yes, we have. We did this 10 years ago. We moved from Santa Barbara,CA to northern Arkansas and bought a 5 acre piece of land with a 2-story farm house, on a 3 mile dirt road, on the edge of Buffalo River National Park, very peacefull, very pretty, very "remote". We wanted to create an off-the-grid life by growing our own food (my wife focuses on the animals, I focus on veggies and fruits) and use open source technologies to assist at this if it made sense. My wife started a local and resonable successfull business (today), while I would do what I do, remotely. I'm a back-end developer, focused on LAMP stack technologies, trying to go from employee to freelancer to ultimately, a international software business (Isn't that what we all want?). I loved my 15 second commute. Most things went well as planned, but it was hard work. Days start at 5AM (it gets hot here) and end at 9PM, 7 days a week. Upkeep and repairs took most of the time and resources. Lessons were learned, mostly the hard way. But we made progress and our place is now our Home. Still, internet sucks (DSL), power losses several times a year, sometimes for half a day or more. We're still not off the grid (except for my greenhouse), but that's not on my todo list anymore. I have bigger fish to fry. Of course, setbacks had to happen .. about a year ago I was part of a company-wide layoff. Initially, I wasn't too upset .. the house needed a new coat of paint and I needed to update some skills, as I want to work on back-end automation (Jenkins, Ansible, Chef, NodeJS, Docker, cloud tools and what not) and focus less app development, so I took time off and focused on what I wanted to do, according to my yearly plan. A few months later, the house was painted, the courses were finished and I was re-charged to get back into back-end work again. .. i n m y d r e a m s .. Long story short, it took me 8 months to get into a new position and I took what came along first, a full stack web developer position, 2-hours drive (twice a day) from where I live at a payrate I had 10 years ago. Now, all I do is work, sleep and drive. My weekends are packed with chores to upkeep our home. During my job search time, my wife worked more IN her business (to increase our income) as opposed to working ON her business. We had to get rid of 80% of our life stock, simply because neither one of us was home long enuf to take care of them. My greenhouse ended up empty. I'm still looking for a remote position, but they get sparser by the minute. I didn't get a single inquiry where telecommuting was an option. We're glad we had an emergency fund that covered our bills for about a year. It's close to depletion now. We both love our home a lot, enuf to not sell it anytime soon, but living remote and working remote come at a price. I never was really concerned about losing my job when we moved here. "Jobs are everywhere", I thought. True, but that don't mean you can get one of them, even with +15 years of experience and an updated education with skills much wanted. That was definitely new to me. I've been 'in between' jobs and contracts before, but this time it was different. My advice on moving to the countryside .. have a plan B and resources to cover for it.


Also doing it in rural Missouri. I grew up & lived in the St. Louis area/ suburbs first 30 years of my life; that's where (most) family still resides.

I have a small agency and work independently from home. Currently have a sweet gig for a Global Fortune 500 corporation with offices all over the U.S. and around the world. Every day I collaborate with colleagues spread across North America, yet I still get to enjoy the beauty of the countryside. Occasionally I'm asked to travel into St. Louis (90 minutes) or Nashville or Cincinnati (6 hours each, respectively) for meetings.

Several years ago I "escaped" to a large wooded property just outside a small town with population around ~4500. Fortunately I also have a small college town 20 minutes away - home of the University of Missouri tech & engineering campus - with full-year population ~25k (it's also the county seat), where I can shop at Wal-Mart, Lowes, Staples, Kohl's, etc. In fact, there is also a brand new Starbucks + new development just opened with a Menard's, PetSmart, TJ Maxx and more.

So while I enjoy the privacy and peace of rural living, I also have a number of modern conveniences within easy reach. Also worth noting: my small town is fairly affluent, so there are nice restaurants (including a place with 20+ craft beers on tap), and we have a full-size grocery store.

Upsides of working rurally:

* Money goes significantly further. Not so much for typical everyday items and consumables, but especially because:

* Housing is VERY affordable.

* Property taxes are extraordinarily low. I have a 4000+ sq/ft home with 5BR and 3BA on 160 acres. Total annual real estate tax is less than $2k. Smaller home on 1/3 acre lot in STL suburbs was 2.5x that amount.

* Personal property tax and sales tax rates are also quite low. That makes it much more affordable to purchase/own vehicles, farm equipment, etc.

* Multiple, awesome farmer's markets every week -- 52 weeks/year -- where you find (inexpensive) produce, eggs, meat, dairy, baked goods, and you buy directly from the actual farmer/producer.

* Don't see any neighbors. Rarely hear them.

* True sense of ownership over your environment - no need to "keep up with Joneses" like you do in Suburbia

* Feeling of isolation. That's an upside for me, but won't apply universally of course.

Downsides:

* Maintaining a large property is a lot of work. A DIY mindset is helpful. So is a chainsaw.

* Poor cell service.

* Few/expensive internet choices. Currently using a 20Mbps satellite connection (which works just fine, including for realtime screensharing via Skype or WebEx) that costs $120/month. Earlier this year my telco line-carrier (CenturyLink) finally began offering DSL, so I plan to look into that -- cheaper but may be slower.

* Not much nightlife, few opportunities to socialize.

* No Whole Foods, Costco or Sam's Club. So I generally go into St. Louis once or twice a month to stock up.

If you're considering making the "escape" yourself, I would strongly consider the following:

* Road access. Rural properties differ significantly -- even within a small area -- based on the length & quality of roads you need to travel. Personally, my driveway connects to a _numbered_ state highway with hard pavement in good condition (maintenance and slow plowing are prioritized over smaller _lettered_ highways & county-maintained roads). Plus it takes only 10 minutes to get to the Interstate highway... a huge win. Compare that with some rural areas where you might either: A) travel a long distance on two-lane roads to reach the Interstate; and/or B) drive for miles on a gravel road just to hit pavement.

* Related to above: your driveway. In case of snow you'll probably need to plow yourself. If it's gravel, you'll need (or need to hire someone with) a tractor for periodic road maintenance/grading. Likely need to haul in & spread more gravel every few years.

* It's stark contrast from life in a metro area. Everywhere you look parking lots -- including at the golf course -- are filled with pickup trucks. I was previously accustomed to an abundance of luxury cars as far as the eye could see.


I moved from Boston to the upper Midwest in 2008 for school and haven't left. I tried moving back into the city and it was not enjoyable and left after 9 months (traffic... ugh, I don't know how you people do it!)

I live on 20 acres on the back side of a farm quarter, have a 2,000/sqft garden, a tractor, a big truck, ATV's, dirt bikes, a river in the back section of the property, wildlife, a dog, farm land, clean air, and the best drinking water! We regularly have bonfires, do target shooting, watch the sunset (and sunrise which can be even better!), and the stars are way bigger here.

I'm about 20 mins out of "town" which is about 60-90K people. I rent a small 12x12 office in town for $200/mth where I get internet (75down/15up) to work. Considering my 3br, 2bth house rent is $400, I think I am ahead of most as far total cost of housing.

I have everything I need, most of what I want, and very little of what I don't want. It's a great lifestyle. I have found that the people here are what keeps me.

There are a few things to note...

1. Rural life requires that you be creative and assertive to survive, no one will entertain you. For example, if you want to attend a meetup every week on React... you better start one. Want to have your choice of farmers markets... you should just plant a garden. That isn't to say we don't have farmers markets, concerts, festivals or things like that but there are fewer of them and they aren't as grand as they are in other places. In general, we have "everything" but we don't have all the choices.

2. Building a community can be difficult unless you are intentional. I am active in my church which makes a big difference and is where I find most of my friends (my family is still in Boston). If I didn't have that, I don't know where I would find friends. This is especially hard if you are single. Often times, the people are very friendly. Don't expect to jump straight into a group and be best friends, things move slower, and take time. HOWEVER, once you earn trust you are "in" and the people care deeply about you. I can't even explain it. I can list at least 5 people right now that, if I called, would drop anything and come help with something. Anything from help with car troubles (it's cold and snowy in the winter) to more sensitive and private parts of life which take years to develop. Relationship, I am firmly convinced, is life.

3. If you actually move out into the country prepare to get dirty. We mow for 3 hours a week at least. At least 2-3 large trees fall on our property every year that need chopping / hauling / splitting / burning. Gravel roads can be tough on vehicles. There is snow to move and spring cleaning / fall prep. It's work, but very fulfilling work if you are used to being behind a computer all day.

4. Finding another remote programming job is hard unless you are in the top 1% of performers in which case they probably want you on site anyway. The competition for remote work is FIERCE, I was lucky to land the job I did and am so thankful for it. Save some money just in case because you never know what could happen.

5. Don't expect to "change" things over night, everything is slower. People are open to listening to new perspectives but don't expect them to adopt them right away or ever.

AMA.


Yup.. I miss definitely escaped the insanity of Silicon Valley in Commiefornia last November.

Took an $85k+ pay cut to move out to a BEAUTIFUL 40 acre ranch in Middle Tennessee. And I STILL have more $$ in my pocket at the end of every month than I had back in crazy land.

I shoot & hunt n my woods, fish in my pond, ride dirt bikes and horses with my kids. We have a massive 1000+sqft garden my wife planted that we get awesome produce out of.

I work remotely for a company in MI. So I rarely have to go anywhere..

It's like a dream come true.


Sounds like a real charm. Congratulations to you. I envy the fresh produce.


It's GREAT.. We're working through the plans to build a chicken coup. I have 4 kids, so we go through 9 eggs every morning. Some of the locals around here keep giving us their home-grown, free-range (REAL free range, not the nonsense they define that by out on the West Coast) eggs and we LOVE them!

Homemade smoked sausage too! People here are SOOOOOO much more friendly than any city I ever lived in. It's such a breath of fresh air.


> the insanity of Silicon Valley in Commiefornia

I'm glad your dream came true, but name-calling like this (regardless of who you're directing it at) will get you banned on HN. If you'd please read the site rules at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and follow them when commenting here, we'd appreciate it.




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