I had planned on renting a house in the West Virginia mountains for one year to learn what kind of mountain man I was, but because of a landlord problem, I stayed for only two months. Even in that short amount of time, I gained a lot of knowledge about country living and what type of home I should seek in the future. Here are eleven things I learned…

1. It’s a solitary life

If you move to a rural area alone and have a stay-at-home job, you will be alone. Unless you make an effort to have social interactions, which involves going to a job site, your neighbor’s house, or to a store, you will not speak face-to-face to anyone all day long.

I consider myself a solitary type who needs a lot of alone time, but the feeling of isolation on the mountain was extreme. I started to crave meaningless interactions with store clerks, and actually tried to have conversations with them as if I were a lonely elderly person (it turns out that just a couple minutes a day of meaningless small-talk contributes to a feeling of being “social”). You will need to have an introverted nature to go several days without talking to people. If you move to the mountain with your spouse and children, on the other hand, you probably won’t notice the decrease in social interaction.

If you work from home, living in the country is similar to the initial weeks of the coronavirus lockdowns. Funnily enough, my mountain experience was a sort of training that allowed me to endure the actual lockdowns without much trouble.

2. There are more consequences for not being prepared

If something goes wrong in the country, you have to wait longer to receive aid or a resolution. Power outages are longer. Streets take longer to be plowed after snowstorms. Police take longer to respond to your emergency call (if at all).

When my power went out for a day, I realized how unprepared I was. Electricity powered my well water pump, so not only did I have no power but—when the water tank emptied—no water either. I didn’t have a relative’s or friend’s house down the street where I could shower or charge my phone. I realized that I would need a water backup plan, a portable battery system, and also a small generator. These items aren’t expensive, but they do take some foresight. In the city, I never had to think about coming up with an emergency plan.

You will also need a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, not just for the snow but also the rain when you may have to deal with muddy roads on even your own driveway. In the case of safety, you will need some type of home defense strategy and also a first-aid kit, because you won’t be able to count on the local authorities. If you take a purely city mentality into the country, you may find yourself in a crisis that could threaten your life due to a lack of preparation.

3. I don’t need as much land as I thought

Before moving onto the mountain, I figured I needed at least five acres of land (though ten would be better). Maybe I will become a farmer with three chickens that necessitate all that space.

I didn’t ask how many acres the home I lived in had, but based on the size, I guessed between 2-3 acres. After only a month, I realized that it was all I really needed as a single man. One day, I finally looked up how many acres the property had: one acre. On that one acre I had a ton of trees, a storage shed, more lawn than I wanted to take care of, and enough space for multiple garden beds. Even one acre may be too much. When I look for a future house, I will consider plots starting at half an acre.

4. Old habits die hard

I thought moving to the mountain would instantly transform me into a mountain man. I’d chop down trees for the fun of it, make bookshelves, and repair my cars like an expert mechanic. Instead, I simply carried over my city lifestyle into the mountain. I woke up, read my books, and worked on the computer like I had been doing for years. The only thing I really added to my routine was watching birds.

After some time, I did start doing yard work, but it would always be secondary to my computer work and tasks that took place inside the house. Only towards the end of the second month did I start using an ax.

5. Manual labor is more satisfying than computer labor

It feels good to publish an article like this, one that started as an idea in my mind and morphed into a finished product that other people can gain value from. It also feels good to complete a live stream, but I noticed that I received more satisfaction from doing something physical like raking leaves or rehabilitating a dirty fire pit. I believe this was the case because the result of manual labor is three-dimensional, existing in the same plane as you, instead of only a digital screen. You can visually see, touch, and even smell the fruits of your labor.

It’s pleasing to tire yourself from work, complete the work, and then sit down on a chair to rest while admiring your work. When it comes to completing computer work, however, you simply minimize one window where your work was completed and then open a new window to do more of the same.

6. Everything is cheaper

Rent is cheaper. Home prices are cheaper. Groceries are cheaper. Restaurants are cheaper. Even gas is cheaper. I experienced a 10-20% discount from the city on the same goods and services. Why were they cheaper? Doesn’t it take more money to carry goods into the mountains? I’m not an economist so I don’t know, but I greatly enjoyed the discount.

My monthly living expenses in a USA mountain home was maybe only 50% more expensive than living in the center of a fun European city, and the former includes having two cars. Granted, I didn’t party in the mountain (there was nowhere to party, anyway), but based on the same income, going from Europe to the mountain wasn’t a tremendous blow to my budget.

7. I like birds


I did enjoy the mountain beauty, silence, clean air, and overall country living, but I most valued being able to feed and watch my birdies. Seventeen different species came to my home, from the little chickadee to the stout pileated woodpecker. When it was time to move out, I was deeply saddened to take down my bird feeders. I felt like I was abandoning my avian friends. There are many birds in the suburbs as well, and I continue to bird watch, but there is less intimacy and connection when you’re not feeding them.

I did learn that if you want to attract birds, it’s best to have a lot of trees. Better yet, be on the edge of a forest. When I look for a future home, I hope to find one that is as suitable for the birds as it is for me.

8. You get to know your neighbors

In two months, I talked more with my mountain neighbors than all of my previous city neighbors combined. Even in my late 20’s, when I lived in two houses in Maryland, I don’t recall ever meeting a neighbor. In Europe, I didn’t have a conversation with a neighbor that lasted more than thirty seconds. The less dense the living arrangements, the more conducive it is to getting to know a neighbor. I find this to be the case in national parks as well. The less crowded a park, the more likely someone walking by me will say hello.

9. Vegetable gardening is like magic

I bought the book Square Foot Gardening and was getting ready to start planting vegetables. I was amazed to learn that you could mix up some dirt, plant seeds, and then from that dirt grow your own food that is better than what you can buy in a grocery store. I was waiting for a big catch, but the only one I could find is that it needs some manual labor and patience. Unfortunately, I did not get a chance to start gardening, but in the future it will be one of the first things I try.

10. You don’t necessarily become more spiritual

By moving to the mountain, I thought that prayer would automatically get easier, and that I’d become a monk in the world with no additional effort. This did not happen. Prayer got no easier and instead of praying more, I ramped up my internet usage. I wasn’t perusing harmful content, but being away from physical temptation and the secular horde didn’t instantly make me feel closer to God. What did was using my will to pray more and give doxologies to God when observing the nature in my backyard. Faith is a decision, a matter of will, so don’t think a new environment will give you what you should seek no matter where you happen to be.

11. I don’t need to live in the mountains

The mountains are beautiful, but it’s not necessary to live in or near them. I wasn’t receiving direct joy from the fact that my elevation was higher or that I had a nicer view. When I seek a new home, I will consider ones on flat land at sea level. The best part of being on a mountain is saying to others that you live on a mountain, but it’s more of a bonus than a necessity.


I thought I had to live in the mountain for one year to know what type of home I needed, but two months was enough. A half-acre of land with a lot of trees and birds located a couple of hours from my parents will be sufficient. If God deems it, I will find such a home and say goodbye for good to the European cities and the American suburbs, and adapt to a greater level of isolation where I can continue to work on my salvation.

Read Next: 8 Reasons Men Should Live With Their Parents Until Marriage


  1. Fred December 21, 2020 at 10:37 am

    Ah roosh, you receive much joy and satisfaction in your vegetable garden, my only regret in life is not starting sooner, about 5 years in

  2. AUSTIN MARTIN December 21, 2020 at 1:00 pm

    The Blue Ridge Mountains are further east of West Virginia. West Virginia is entirely within the Allegheny Mountains and Allegheny Plateau.

  3. DaveS December 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm

    Thanks Roosh for sharing your thoughts. At one time I thought I wanted upwards of 40 acres, but I found that 3-5 quality acres is just right. If it”™s forested, clear about an acre in the center for your house, which leaves a good buffer zone around you.

  4. Boosh December 21, 2020 at 2:36 pm

    Living in total isolation sucks. It”™s good for 2-3 weeks. But society has many perks. Best is a house in a village. But center. I”™ve moved to a house like this also by the beach. Sometimes I miss city life. I go there normally 1 or 2 times per week. When I”™m there I only want to come back. Btw I”™ve just planted the vegetables in your picture. It”™s greens. Worse thing is you don”™t know shit about farming. When to plant. How much time before you can harvest. It kind looks like real estate. You buy a house. Equivalent of seeding. And the tenant pays you rent which is equivalent of fruits. Fruit trees are incredibly easy to mantain. If one day I become a state official. One of my first measures will be to plant fruit trees everywhere.

    1. Giuseppe December 21, 2020 at 4:05 pm

      I have lived in isolation for nearly 2 years now in a remote town

      My basic social skills declined in that time.

      What I plan to do is join a gym about an hour away in a busier place, and go there 4-5 times a week to workout.

      It’s a bit out of the way, but the benefits are worth it just for seeing people.

  5. KoolKing December 21, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    I find this site is really good for looking at properties:


    For instance, you could search on WV land, say 1-5 ac for zero to 100K, you’ll find something suitable for sure.

  6. Anna Carter December 21, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Roosh, feeding birds on a daily basis is one of the best feelings in the world. When I lived in the countryside of Quebec, I fed birds (and squirrels) in the mornings and the deer at dusk. The birds recognized me in the mornings and would tell each other that I was outside. The deer stopped being afraid of me and would just stand still and look at me when I was outside. I really felt love and friendship from the birds.

  7. Buster December 21, 2020 at 10:08 pm

    Bird watching is a lot of fun and really relaxing.

    When I lived in Southern California I redid most of my parent’s landscaping to make it more water efficient. To that end I planted as many native plants as I could find and filled the rest in with plants from similar climates–different sages, succulents, wildflowers, etc. They ended up getting more birds but also a better variety of birds, plus a lot they didn’t normally see in the suburban environment, even though their back yard butted up to a big undeveloped area.

    They would like to put out a big dish of bird seed to attract the doves. The doves would attract coopers hawks, my parents got a kick out of seeing them swoop down and dramatically grab one of those slow fat doves.

    There was another great side effect–the number of bugs and vermin went way down. They used to have a problem with big meaty spiders, but those all disappeared a few months after the birds showed up in bigger numbers. I think it was because the various raptors ate up all the vermin, and a lot of the seed eaters would also eat insects. Its natural pest control.

  8. Ron Dale December 22, 2020 at 6:05 am

    Roosh are you worried about the elites making the corona vaccine mandatory? They can threaten me, take away my freedoms, but I will NEVER let them inject anything into my body.

    1. Sweet Martyrdom December 22, 2020 at 5:15 pm

      “Are you worried about the elites enforcing the *know a Hyde* laws? They can threaten me, take away my freedoms, but I will NEVER let them decapitate me.”

      The fact that we must die is not in our hands, and the forces that want you dead in this manner may well be irresistible. The manner in which we go to our deaths is, however, ours to place in God’s hands, or not, as the case may be. Your call.

      I am not advocating surrender, only urging you not to fear your inevitable suffering and death.
      If God is real, then He will put everything right, and His mercy is our ONLY refuge.
      If He is not, then there is no lasting refuge for anyone anywhere, and none of this matters anyway, and we will all achieve ultimate equality in the bellies of worms.

      1. Smitty December 28, 2020 at 4:34 am

        God is not magically going to save you or magically fix things. Why? Because we are plenty capable of fixing all the bullshit that is going on in our world right now. But things won’t get better if Christians keep the mindset of “God’s in control, so we don’t need to do anything”.

        You know what is required to fight the powers that be. But you and most other Christians are too chicken-shit to do what’s necessary. And you’ll end up paying the ultimate price that way.

  9. Steve December 22, 2020 at 2:42 pm

    Me personal I don”˜t have problems with being alone. Most people just consume emotions like.. TRASH

  10. Aidan December 23, 2020 at 1:09 am

    West Virginia sounds beautiful. I hope to visit some day. Have a very Merry Christmas, Roosh.

    “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:11, KJV.

  11. dru December 24, 2020 at 12:34 am

    I did the opposite, i grew up in the mountains and moved to the city with 18 years. Big time party ensued, and now i moved back north at 36. I only feel like i waisted my best years listening to traffic jams, sirens and petty arguments in bars.

  12. Cavalier December 24, 2020 at 9:47 am

    I relocated from NYC area to Central NY 10 years ago. Bought 30 acres and put a modular home on it. Paid to have some fencing and a pole barn put up. Now I raise lamb, pigs, beef for myself and a very small profit. I have chickens for eggs. Best choice I ever made. I am not too far from Utica so I do have a small city to go to. I live rurally though just dairy farms and open land. I barely noticed the lockdown. Low local compliance and I just spent time up in my woods. Isolation is really quite enjoyable.