WHEN I meet new people and tell them where I’m from I get one of two reactions: ‘God, that must be boring’ or ‘Where is Dorchester?’ Moving when I was eight from the buzzing city of Birmingham to the rolling hills of Dorset was a shock for both me and my family.
But once I had got used to being able to see open green spaces from my bedroom window rather than tall grey buildings, I began to really notice the differences between life in the countryside in comparison to a city.
The first thing was the fact that almost everyone knew each other – I’d walk down the high street and my friends would be constantly saying hello to people we crossed.
The first time I noticed this I thought it was crazy but now after 10 years of living here I do the same thing.
Last year I worked in a café, and after a couple of months, when I could chat to the regulars on a Saturday morning, I began to love the sense of community gained from living in a small town – a thing you would not get in the total anonymity of a city.
But when I got a bit older and my friends and I would plan to meet up at the weekend, it was then that I realised the lack of things to do.
The range of activities for young people in Dorchester fails in comparison to that offered when in a city.
However, it could be argued that things to do here are actually better – nobody can say no to a day on Weymouth beach in the summer, or an incredibly cheap ticket to the latest film at the Plaza!
Many interpret the sense of safety you get by living here is due to it being ‘boring’.
However, there is no denying that it’s brilliant to have when you’re a teenager.
I am fortunate enough to be able to walk down the street by myself and not be worried about who I might come across – if I do encounter anybody, it’s probably my neighbour walking his dog!
I know many young people find it frustrating living in the sleepy county of Dorset, but I believe it’s your perspective, rather than your location, which needs to change.
If you embrace the countryside with all its strengths, you’ll realise what an incredible place it is to grow up in and you’ll be desperate to get back when you go away to university!