Heading Home by Lawrence Scanlan review

Beginning life anew in a country setting is a dream that many city dwellers, and even suburbanites, hold close to their hearts.  However, the move from city to country is not for everyone, as is illustrated in Lawrence Scanlan’s informative and realistic portrayal of such a move in Heading Home: On Starting Life in a Country Place.

Many have successfully “bugged out” of the city, with romantic dreams of country quilts hanging on a clothesline above a self-sufficient plot of vegetables, in a surreal green setting offering fresh, country air and sheep grazing in the pasture.  And though many of the country visions held by those willing to give up their city conveniences and even their 9-5 employment are found to actually exist in rural Canada, it is not without sacrifice and many hard-won trade-offs.  Lawrence Scanlan’s beautifully written book is a testimony to the ups AND the downs of choosing such a life and to sticking it out to make it work.

This non-fictional work is chronicled through a twelve month diary period, offering inspiration, insight, and advice from the vantage point of each month’s seasonal challenges and changes of life in the country.  Mr. Scanlon offers compelling descriptions of the sometimes challenging events, that only become such when a person lives an hour from the nearest plumber or pharmacy.  The love he possesses for the country life is quite evident, and even though his realism and practicality shine through his overall enjoyment of country life, he definitely resides whole-heartedly in the country mindset. If ever you have wanted to “make the move”, and turn in your postage stamp lot for a couple of acres, you will find much-needed advice and inspiration in this unique story.

In his prologue, Lawrence Scanlon writes,

“At the heart of the book is the notion that for many of us, place now matters a great deal.  The book poses the question, Why not a small place, a country place?  Canadians have long huddled in cities along the southern border, as if for warmth.  We are a land blessed with land, so why do we insist on crowding the urban edge?”

This thought-provoking paragraph introduces the reader to a worthy opinion, widely held by many brave 21st century pioneers, who have given up the urban conveniences, close access to cultural events and malls, to find a larger view of our Canada, and perhaps of ourselves.  The quiet of the country coupled with the more slowly paced lifestyle is conducive to introspection and soul-searching, something Mr. Scanlon has experienced in his depiction of his family’s new life in the country.

As a former suburbanite “gone country”, I highly recommend this as a must-read for anyone posing the question of a move to the country. “Country” starts in the heart and mind before one ever finds themselves on the end of a rake and shovel.  This book will certainly help you to decide whether the “country” is for you or not.

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