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Let's all move to the countryside

More and more young people are leaving the city to turn to less hectic environments

Let's all move to the countryside More and more young people are leaving the city to turn to less hectic environments

Milan is a city of contrasts. Some call it the Italian New York, while others see it as provincial and insincere—a city built on false promises. One thing is certain: few Italian cities stir up emotions like Milan, igniting a battle between its defenders and critics. In the midst of it all are the people who live there, by choice or necessity, for familiarity, study, or work. They navigate the ambiguities that fill every corner of the Lombard capital, which perhaps contribute to its subtle charm. The problems are both objective and subjective, some persisting over time, while others have worsened, especially after Expo and even more so after Covid. Some issues are uniquely Milanese, while others are shared with other cities.

Not Just Milan

@nary_resort The story is much longer of course, but what was supposed to be 3 months has turned into seven. #exnewyorker #smallfashionbrand #smallbusiness #brooklyn #southeastasia #expat #phnompenhcity #cambodia #lifepivot #costofliving #leavingnyc ceilings - Sped Up Version - Lizzy McAlpine

Milan may be the city in Italy that comes off as harsh, but it's certainly not the only one people want to escape. Torino, Rome, Bologna, Florence, Naples, Palermo—they're all on the list. In general, a city gives and takes. It offers job opportunities, entertainment, diversity, and chances to meet new people and experience new situations. However, it also takes time, tends to be more expensive, is more polluted and less peaceful. Perhaps it's less suitable for building a family or a community, a village, a support network. This reflection on Italian urban centers fits into a broader international and global trend: the move from cities to the countryside, where life is more affordable and serene, and where one might hope to buy a home and achieve better life and work balance. A place where one can grow at a slower pace. Being in more intimate settings makes one feel less alone, less isolated, less abandoned in the flow.

London and New York Too

This shift is also happening in London. Once seen as a hub of opportunities and stimulation for all of Europe, including Italians, it is now being abandoned by people aged 18-24, according to a YouGov survey. 47% of young respondents plan to leave the swinging city in the next ten years. The main reasons are the skyrocketing and unsustainable costs of living. The UK isn't the only one experiencing this. According to SmartAsset, which conducted research on North America, ranking states based on immigration and emigration numbers, as well as the movement of people in and out, young professionals (aged 26-35) are increasingly leaving New York and California, traditionally considered "the place to be", to move to places like Florida and Texas. These states are less frenetic, but still considered modern and up-to-date. In China, large groups of young people are moving to remote areas to embrace a more isolated way of life, akin to hermits. This extreme choice signals an extreme weariness towards the traditionally understood modern and contemporary way of life.

A New Paradigm of Life?

@absoluteana I am so tired of watching our people being displaced due to modern day colonizers. Digital nomads are nothing but neocolonialists. Gentrifying our countries and using our culture as their cheap backdrop. #digitalnomad #travel #digitalnomads #wanderlust #remotework #entrepreneur #digitalnomadlife #coworking #travelblogger #travelgram #nomadlife #nomad #travelphotography #workfromanywhere #coworkingspace #laptoplifestyle #nature #business #digitalnomadlifestyle #workfromhome #instatravel #locationindependent #adventure #freelance #digitalnomadgirls #digitalmarketing #backpacker #traveltheworld #startup #travelblog original sound - Absolute Ana

Covid has played a role in this shift. The possibility of remote work, initially used out of necessity, is now being maintained by some companies. This has led to a significant increase in the phenomenon known as digital nomadism. Workers who are fully remote for companies with offices in very affluent and chaotic cities travel around the world, working from anywhere and, why not, saving some money along the way. However, this mechanism is proving to be deeply harmful for the chosen locations, driving up prices significantly and making life difficult for the so-called locals. Others simply choose to buy a house in the countryside, perhaps requesting reduced working hours and dedicating themselves to gardening. It's not just about cottagecore; the truth is, young people have a very different idea of life compared to the previous generation, from various perspectives. Some, just entering a post-Covid job market in disarray, have made a decision: to let go of ambitions, speed, and entrepreneurial pursuits, and instead focus on themselves, on building a serene work environment, on their passions and projects.

The City of the Future

@niamhmackinnon day in the life living on an island in the scottish highlands #dayinthelife #voiceover #spendthedaywithme #minivlog #dayinthelifevlog #countrysideliving #isleofskye #Scotland #ruralliving #capcut #fyp original sound - NIAMH

The change is bigger than it seems, and its true effects will only be seen in the medium to long term. What stands out in this decisive turn towards tranquility, away from the frenzy, is a renewed focus on one's own health (including mental health) and the building of a support community. It would be nice—in a future we hope is not too far off—not to feel forced to choose between ambition and tranquility, between personal fulfillment and community. It would be nice if a good work-life balance, the possibility of starting a family and buying a house, were achievable wherever we desire, whether it's in the countryside, in the suburbs, or in the heart of the world's most chaotic metropolis.