The Truth About What Happens When a City Girl Moves to Rural Tampa

I’ve lived in or outside some big cities all of my life. I’ve lived in Montgomery, Birmingham, Orlando, and now Tampa. Target and Chik-fil-A were “right around the corner.” In fact, the grocery store, shopping center, school, and church were never more than a ten minute drive… then we moved to the country! 

We moved to rural Tampa (Lithia) one month ago and let me tell you, we had to do some adjusting! Here is what I learned when I moved to the country. 

First, the word country is relative. Some people wouldn’t call the outskirts of Tampa “country” just like some people wouldn’t call Montgomery a “city.” I consider Lithia the country because I’ve never lived anywhere near a cow. Now, I have a cow in my backyard! 

  • We live far from EVERYTHING!

It’s at least a20-minute drive anywhere- and with traffic, it’s almost always longer. We have to plan our routes and our shopping trips. We even have to plan gas station stops! This means no more “grab-something-on-the-way-home” dinners. It will be cold by the time you get home.

We’ve learned living far out has its advantages. We don’t get stuck in traffic as often. We’ve become good at planning and being productive on the weekends. We have more home cooked meals.  

  • Bugs! Yep, they roam freely out here.

    I am fine with bugs outside but I am talking about those that find their way into the house. Specifically, for us, it’s spiders! Gigantic, mutant ninja spiders- the size of my hand and as quick as lightning! I’ve counted ten (10!) horrible encounters and they are absolutely terrifying! I had one hold me hostage in my own bedroom while he played Ring-Around-the-Rosie on the bedroom door. We’ve sprayed. We still see them! 

You know what else roams freely out here? Deer. We’ve seen as many as four deer in our yard at one time! There is something so peaceful about watching a momma deer with her babies graze in our backyard and it entertains us until they wander back into the woods. 

  •  Lizards and skinks.

    Thanks to some help from three “crocodile hunters” (AKA our children) these creatures are in the house and they like to dart right by me as I walk to the kitchen. I’ve lived in Florida for a long time and I’ve always said I don’t mind lizards… I just don’t want them living with me. Skinks are not lizards- more like tiny blue-tailed snakes with legs.. in my house!  

Do you know what lizards and skinks like to eat? Spiders. After doing some research, I realized that little skink that ran through my house is an highly elusive- endangered species and I should count myself lucky for even seeing one! 

  • Say Good-Bye to Netflix. 

    Say hello to satellite cable and internet. It’s our only option out here. Unfortunately, we were spoiled by digital cable and high-speed internet. Now, if a rain cloud blows by, your service goes out. It’s Florida so there is always a rain cloud blowing by… which means, at the very least, your service will be SLOW! And.. you can forget about streaming. 

Saying hello to spotty cable and internet has actually been a blessing. We spend less time distracted by TV and social media and more time face to face. Now, we are readily available to help with homework, read a book to the children, or play a board game. We have more conversations. Occasionally, family movie night with a good ol’ DVD. 

  • Neighbors? 

    We’ve lived in neighborhoods where neighbors came over and introduced themselves. It’s not that way out here. We live at the end of a dirt road. Our road has five other houses. I wouldn’t call us neighbors… because we are pretty spread apart. We aren’t even close enough to wave across the yards. 

Who needs neighbors when you can have space?! Wide-open space, fresh air, nature, and starry nights.

I say to each their own. If you had asked me years ago I would have proudly claimed to be a city girl but after all, I’ve learned, I just might be a country girl in the making! 

 

Kim McNeely
Kim grew up in a small town in northeast Alabama. She majored in journalism in college at Faulkner University. There she met baseball-playing Florida boy named David who swept her off her feet and then married her. David went right into a coaching career and Kim lost her desire to write. In 2008, they started a family and Kim fell in love with motherhood. She has been a stay at home mom for almost 12 years devoting her time to raising three children. Her kids have grown up on baseball fields and in ball parks. They moved to Lithia a few years ago and enjoy exploring Tampa and checking out the local baseball teams. Kim likes being creative and crafty. She is a list-maker, scheduler, and planner. She loves planning play dates, parties, and budget-friendly family activities. When Kim isn't at a baseball game, she spends her days convincing her 11 year old, Emerson, to put down the cell phone; helping her 8 year old, Everly, with math homework; and entertaining her playful 5 year old and only son, Easton. If she finds some free time, she writes her blog, catches up on her favorite TV shows, scrolls social media, and folds massive piles of laundry. Her desire to write returned when she realized that her children were an endless source of inspiration. She also realized she knew more about baseball than the average mom and wants to share her knowledge with others. You can follow Kim's blog and Instagram as she documents The Baseball Life.