Get out into nature

City dwellers and those who live in big towns often scoff at and look down on rural folk, for their simple ways. They scorn the idea of moving to a rural community, afraid that they would feel bored and lost without their shopping malls, cinema complexes, theaters and restaurants. And yet, when they go to their cinema complexes and see movies set in the countryside, it sparks their imagination. They daydream about looking out of their front room window out onto the plains, surrounded by majestic mountains. They imagine themselves walking home, through a wooded area, stopping on a bridge to watch the fish in the creek. But it doesn’t last long. Pretty soon they’re back in their box-like apartments, trying to sleep with the wail of police sirens, under an orange sky. Tomorrow they’ll negotiate the traffic, making sure they lock their doors through the bad neighborhoods on their way to work in their big, box-like office building. And they’ll spend the majority of their salary for the pleasure of living that way.

The truth is, city folk have got it all wrong, and some of them are catching on. Smart city-dwellers who can afford it have long had second homes out in the country. Those who couldn’t afford it used to come out for picnics. With improved rail and bus links, it’s easier to get out of the big smoke on a regular basis and get to know the countryside better.

Perfect for those who’ve ditched the car in their city in favor of a greener and healthier way of getting to work – the bicycle, is mountain biking. You can choose a real off-road bicycle from somewhere like Cycling Plaza. If you’re worried about having to take it out from the city with you every time – don’t. Just keep it in storage nearby the station you get off at. It couldn’t be simpler – wake up early, get on the train at Penn Station, get off in Trenton, pick up your bike and you’ll be out of the city in no time and right into the heart of the New Jersey countryside. If you can get on a train, you can do this from any big city in the world – LA, Dallas, London, Toronto – they’re all easy to get out of by train.

Of course, if you’re not so keen on cycling, you might still be interested in hiking. If you’re going hiking, you pretty much want to be in the right area when you start hiking. That is to say, you don’t want to have to hike to where you want to be, as it’s all time-consuming. And, although sometimes rural towns do have train stations, you’ll likely have to change, making your journey unrealistically long and complicated. That’s why a car is usually the better option. But it gets better – rather than having to drive in and out of the big city, thus ruining your relaxing day, it’s better to take the train out to a smaller town where you can pick up a rental car for the last leg of the journey. Pre-book everything in advance and you can pick it up from the station. When your hike is over, drop it off at the town, hop back on the train, and before you know it, you’re back in the city. It might seem incredible, but you can have breakfastin Manhattan, have lunch in the Ramapo Mountains and be back in Manhattan in time for supper.

If you’ve got more time on your hands, you could spend long weekends out in the country, learning about the wildlife and the terrain, the history of the area. You might be interested in learning to fish out on the lake, or getting your hunting license. Just being out in the fresh air, with the sounds of nature might be enough for you. Or you could learn to paint. Of course, you can do that in the city, but good luck painting a beautiful natural landscape as tourists push you out of the way and hoodlums try to steal your oils. Take your masterpieces back to the city and sell them to folk who are still dreaming of the countryside.