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A Guide to Living a Mountain Life

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 23 Aug 2010 | comments*Discuss
Mountain Living Mountain Life Living On

Whether you’re a city dweller, a beach side resident or a country lover, you may have considered at some point the thought of packing up and moving upwards - up a mountain that is. Many people are leaving behind city life and taking on the challenges that come with living on a mountain, especially a snow covered mountain.

Recent studies have suggested that people who move to mountainous locations are likely to live longer and have a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Of course with any kind of study, this is all based on a variety of factors, still it’s interesting that some scientists believe that mountain living can produce physiological changes in the body.

These changes are in part due to being able to cope with lower levels of oxygen from being at a higher altitude and of course that you receive more exercise by climbing rugged mountain terrain regularly. All in all, the appeal of living a remote mountain life can be very tempting, but there are numerous possibilities to consider before doing so.

Location, Location, Location

Mountain living can be all about location. If you’re hoping to remain relatively close to the city, beach or country area you love, start looking at mountain areas nearby first. You’ll often be surprised at the differences in home prices on mountains and on the size of land parcels available.

It goes without saying that often the more remote you are, the more land you’ll get for your money. If this is something that concerns you, shop around and check out as many different local mountains as possible. Getting a home in a beautiful mountain area can lead to long term capital growth on the property, so even if you don’t plan on staying there indefinitely, you can benefit from selling at a later date.

Another important aspect of location to consider when thinking of moving to a mountain home is the ease of access for cars. The most remote location may look romantic in the summer, as your car makes it’s way up a precarious and winding road, however in the winter this can be a completely different setting. If you’re totally blocked off from the rest of society, you may find yourself struggling to obtain even basic necessities, so consider this before you make a purchase in a mountain location.

If your dream is to live on a snowy mountain where you can spend your evenings and weekends skiing or snowboarding, always anticipate the worst possible weather and how it will affect the location you’ve chosen. Ensure your home is in an area relatively safe from landslides and figure out how much commuting you’ll be able to do during the worst snowfall of the season.

Positive Aspects of Mountain Living

It goes without saying that one of the main reasons many people move to the mountains is to escape the busy, noisy day to day city life. The mountains are generally quiet and peaceful, even if you’re located near a skiing area, you can find some amazing locations that are serene and conducive to great quiet living.

Dependent on where you choose to live, you’re likely to find that mountain living also provides you with a great view of the local area and for many this beautiful view is priceless. With extra space available for less money, you can make use of the beauty around you, buying a home with land that you wouldn’t be able to afford in the suburbs or the city.

This also means that because you’re in a less densely populated area, you are free from unwanted nuisances such as junk mail, people trying to sell you household items, or similar solicitors.

As has been previously mentioned, the mountain air tends to be cleaner and thus is better for your body. If you combine this with many of the parks and local open spaces available in the mountains, you’ll find it’s much easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle there. Whether you’re into boarding, skiing, mountain biking, hiking or trekking, having it all right on your doorstep can often be the only motivation you’ll need to get moving. There are definitely a variety of other positive aspects of mountain living, but these are specific to each individual.

Negative Aspects of Mountain Living

Along with all the beauty and serenity that comes with mountain living, comes the obvious drawbacks and negative points that you have to consider before settling there. Mountain living inevitably means long commutes to work, unless you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home.

If you’re an artist, musician, writer or other creative worker, living on the mountain may be fine, whereas if you need to be at an office 5 days a week, the commute may prove to be too much for you over time. Being able to successfully manoeuvre around the long and windy mountain roads is a real skill and you’ll often need a vehicle that is suitable to this kind of living.

In an area where very little is delivered, you’ll have to ensure that you are always on top of your groceries and your daily requirements. Planning ahead is a key element of mountain living and you have to ensure that you make regular grocery trips so that you’re not left needing something essential.

If you enjoy takeout food, remember that most companies won’t deliver up the side of a mountain and only cover suburban and city areas. If this is the case near you, you may want to buy some insulated delivery bags for those trips to pick up hot pizza or other take out food.

The issue of non-delivery doesn’t end with takeout food and groceries. You’ll also find it difficult to get newspapers delivered and may find that your postman only delivers a few days a week dependent on how remote you go. Generally, services that require a tradesperson or any other professional to come to your home will be more expensive than if you’re living in a more highly populated area. Be prepared to have to spend extra money if you need a plumber, builder or similar.

You should also be very aware of the mountains weather conditions at certain times of the year and teach yourself basic DIY in case a heavy snowfall or storm leaves you without power or with leaks. It’s always satisfying to be able to deal with these yourself.

Overall, living the mountain life can be a beautiful experience, but any guide to mountain living will not only explain the positive aspects of it, but also the negative. Consider both before making the move to the mountains and if you still feel positive about it, try it. You can always leave again if you want to.

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