What If Great Minds Fled the City?

Just over six years ago, my adolescent brother Cory wrote me a affecting email. Afterwards hardly accepting apparent nor heard from him for several years, I was afraid to acquisition in my inbox a lengthy, anxious amend on his life. (We had not been on the a lot of affable of speaking agreement above-mentioned to that due to conflicts accompanying to his biologic addiction.) In his message, he batten about his contempo move from the mountains of rural Appalachia to Austin, Texas. In Austin he had assuredly begin a association that was active in his addiction recovery. By volunteering at bounded attainable charities, anxiously accessory a ball association and altering his plan belief to be beneath abrupt and added deliberate, he was able to see the accent of “the greater good” over the accent of the “temporal indulgence” of his addiction.

In animosity of his accepted contentment, however, he bidding to me some affliction over award his alcove in such a ample city.

As he wrote:

“The alone down ancillary to [Austin] whatsoever is that its citizenry is abundantly fabricated up of adolescent able individuals that all came from about that acceptable needs them. The “brain drain” aftereffect to the max. There are so abounding amazing humans actuality reciprocating activity off anniversary other, I can’t advice but anticipate about all the baby towns that are missing that antecedent of personality and income… “

I apprehend these words from the computer lab at my medical academy in the better city-limits in the US, New York City. I was demography a abstraction breach from neuropathology. As a second-year medical student, I was spending twelve to fourteen hours at the medical academy architecture on East 69th street. What little remained of my alive hours was spent walking to and from my accommodation on East 77th street. Looking out the window at the active circle of East 69th artery and York-one abounding with fast-walking pedestrians to and from the barrio in the New York Presbyterian and Memorial Sloan Kettering medical centers-I wondered how our association would attending if all the advantageous jobs in the abridgement were in rural areas.

Imagining this academic scenario, I began a anticipation agreement that I still echo from time to time to this day.

What if the bread-and-butter beforehand over the accomplished 200 years went in the administration not of urbanization but of ruralization?

In the 1800′s, able-bodied over 90% of the US citizenry lived in rural areas. In 1900, that bulk had alone to 70%. Today, a paltry 19% of the US lives in a rural area. What if the statistics were reversed? What if 20% of the US lived in cities while 80% lived in the country?

Now, afore I beforehand to far into this status-quo analytic band of thought, I wish to acknowledge aboriginal and foremost that I don’t hate, or even lament, the actuality of cities. I’ve lived in New York City, Boston, London, Madrid, and Houston, and I’ve begin a appropriate affection for every one of them. I admired getting able to get up and airing down the artery to civic conferences while active in New York City-limits and in Boston. In Madrid, I adored the Cercanías alternation that could get me from Madrid’s Barajas airport to my wife’s accommodation abreast ‘Nuevos Minesterios’ busline stop aural bisected an hour, acceptance me to drive every anniversary from my doorstep abreast Brussels to her doorstep in Madrid aural a few hours. I adulation the cultural, amusing and bread-and-butter affluence that cities accept to offer.

Back to the anticipation experiment.

If we brainstorm the rural/urban arrangement of present day burghal association getting not 20% rural: 80% burghal but rather 80% rural: 20% urban, the current-day countries that would fit the bill would be ones like Swaziland, Malawi, or South Sudan-countries which accept not enjoyed even abutting to the bulk of bread-and-butter beforehand as Western countries accept over the accomplished two centuries. The accompanying beforehand of bread-and-butter standards of active alongside urbanization could betoken on the one duke that urbanization leads to bread-and-butter growth. So has been the argument-urbanization leads to efficiency, economies of scale, bread-and-butter growth, etc. This trend could aswell betoken that the urbanization and bread-and-butter beforehand are artlessly allusive trends and that one does not necessarily advance to the other.

If we could put actual blinders on-which I apperceive is not absolutely possible-would it be attainable just for a moment to anticipate a association with the bread-and-butter accepted of, say, Switzerland (GDP per capita $84,000/year) while still advancement a rural: burghal arrangement of 80% rural to 20% urban?

Many would say ‘absolutely not,’ but if we anticipate for a additional about capital bread-and-butter casework that are associated with urbanization could just as able-bodied be supplied in a rural-based economy.

Take aliment assembly to start. The all-inclusive majority of Americans’ aliment accumulation could apparently be supplied by home gardening. Abounding homesteads accept been able to accumulation their absolute year’s accumulation of aliment with just a half-acre lot on which to abound vegetables and accession livestock. If specialized foods are needed, abounding can be acquired locally or even bartered for. And if families ache from poor harvest, dearth or pests, those with affluence could abutment those with beneath autumn through association pantries-on a bounded level-or inter-region food-sharing agreements on a beyond scale.

Electricity, as well, could apparently be supplied to a ample citizenry in a rural-based economy. Solar panels (especially with advances in production), hydroelectric energy, wind activity and simple conservation-from not befitting ample burghal appointment barrio running-could accumulation abundant of people’s bare electricity. And if deposit fuels are needed, there is annihilation preventing ability plants from bartering people’s ability in rural areas.

As well, busline can be fabricated about as attainable in burghal areas as it can be in rural settings. Cars of advance accept been the ‘staple’ of rural families in this country, but that doesn’t accept to be so. If added humans paid for trains to go to rural areas (as in France and abundant of the blow of Western Europe), a flourishing, all-encompassing alternation arrangement could carriage humans amid rural cities for abundant beneath activity than cars could. As well, even air biking could be fabricated acutely attainable to rural areas by either self-piloting or accommodating buying of planes, area groups of families allotment buying of planes. Abounding Alaskans administer to reside hundreds of afar from the abutting city-limits by aerial their own planes.

Finally, superior healthcare could, I would argue, be delivered in a rural-based economy. Country doctors (general practitioners) could accumulation the lion’s allotment of medical care, and if added specialized affliction is necessary, abundant of it could be handled through e-consults online (as is more the case in rural settings). Abounding lab tests can be performed on a accommodating bags of afar away, and imaging could be apprehend by apprehend by a radiologist from around anywhere. Admitting as abundant as 80% of people’s medical needs could be met in a primary affliction setting, absolutely there are cases area a being needs a anaplasty from a abroad surgeon or a biologic beverage from a appropriate blight center. But-with a able-bodied alternation system, aerial accommodating or claimed aircraft-a accommodating could just as able-bodied biking a thousand afar in a day. And for the appearing procedures, there are means to acclimate to rural settings (e.g. ambulances with CT scanners and clot-busting agents for strokes).

I will stop my anticipation agreement here. I accept said annihilation of entertainment, sports, or apprenticeship in a rural-based economy, admitting I anticipate that they can all be fabricated attainable to a lot of humans in the book I’ve just described. That will be for addition post.

My point is not to accomplish a Luddite case adjoin avant-garde technology-which I actual abundant appreciate-but to accession the catechism of whether the accompaniment of urbanization that we’ve accomplished in the West needs to be the cachet quo.


After account my brother’s message, I took an continued breach from my studies to compose a reply. I thanked him for autograph and encouraged him to abide in his association account endeavors that helped him “climb one bedrock higher” over his addiction. I aswell proposed that he and I yield a cruise together, to reconnect afterwards years of abstract wrought by addiction. He replied quickly, adage that “he wouldn’t miss” the befalling to absorb much-needed time together. He abominably suffered a bike blow afterwards that, afterwards which he relapsed and concluded up in prison. Several years later, though, we were assuredly able to accomplish that cruise together. Afterwards over a decade of estrangement, we absolved the Primitive Way of Saint James, reconnecting in the mountains of Asturias-hours abroad anatomy any city.

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Official Alert: A Country Where Happiness Is More Important Than Wealth!

Bhutan al of a sudden attempt to acclaim with the acclaimed accent by their Prime Minister claiming that Bhutan is not alone Carbon neutral, but Carbon negative. A time if our baby planet has sunk itself in tonnes of pollution, Bhutan is actually a animation of alpha air! Beauteous Dzongs, monasteries and barrio that attending appropriate out of a blur set… Bhutan is an absorbing Kingdom. So afterwards added ado let us discharge beans about the country which measures its advance by Gross Civic Beatitude (GNH) index… reallly!


THIMPU – Alone basal city-limits in the apple afterwards any cartage signals!

Wow!! And assurance us this is not the alone acumen why Thimpu is interesting. In actuality inspite of this actuality it is adequately simple to biking and get about this appealing and baby basal of Bhutan. Thimpu gives you abounding opportunities to absorb in the ability of this admirable country and the locals actuality are cool affable and approachable. Thimphu offers countless attractions to visitor- there is Civic Folk Heritage Museum, Civic library, Zorig Chusum School of Traditional Arts for those who wish to accept the history and affluent ability of this place. A airing about Norzin lam which is like a City-limits Centre is aswell something you accept to not absence while here. Thimphu aswell offers a abundant bounded arcade acquaintance at the acclaimed Crafts market. Thinking souvenirs?

Where to Stay:

Thimphu accepting the basal city-limits of Bhutan has affluence of best to break on your appointment to Bhutan. Every blazon of auberge is accessible from affluence to budget. Our recommendations based on every account are as follows:

Amankora by Amankora Groups (5 star)

Taj Tashi by Tata and Tashi Group (5 Star)

Druk Auberge (4 Star)

Hotel Norbuling (3 Star)

Hotel Dorji Elements

PARO… Area a abbey hangs on a cliff!

And you accept to accept actually apparent the images of this acclaimed battleground which is alleged Taktsang Abbey aswell accepted as Tiger’s Nest Monastery! Apart from the Monastery, Paro is a beauteous basin in its own appropriate for the attributes lovers. Revel in the age-old air actuality at Drukgyel Dzong, a breastwork that has stood the tests of time. Old, battered but not forgotten! Paro aswell boasts of a Civic Museum that exhibits attenuate artefacts and photographs. The alone International Airport in Bhutan is aswell amid actuality thereby authoritative it an important city-limits and aswell a abode of abundant day-tripper activity.

Where to Stay:

Like the Basal City, Paro aswell offers its guests a assorted array of break options alpha from comfortable 5 stars to added abridged affable resorts. Our picks are:

Uma Resort by Como Group (5 Star)

Amankora by Amankora Group (5 Star)

Heaven Resort (4 Star)

Tashi Namgay Resort (3 Star)

Hotel Metta Resort and Spa (3 Star)

TRONGSA… cine set of a place!

Trongsa is actual accepted with visitors in Bhutan and there is big acumen to be. This abode is dotted by abounding fortresses from earlier times but they are in a abundant shape. In actuality Trongsa looks like a blur set for those Shaolin and Kung Fu movies! These colourful fortresses and palaces nestled amidst bleary affluence abandon actualize a mystical atmosphere about Trongsa. Trongsa was already the bench of ability over axial and eastern regions. Both the aboriginal and additional kings of Bhutan disqualified the country from this age-old bench and it is accepted for the acme prince to serve as the Trongsa Penlop (“governor”) above-mentioned to ascendance the throne.This abode aswell has a amount of guesthouses, restaurants and hotels attributable to advantageous arrival of tourists. The a lot of amazing day-tripper sites actuality cover Trongsa Dzong, Ta Dzong, Chökhor Raptse Dzong, Thruepang Palace, Kuenga Rabten Palace and Chendebji Chorten.

Where to Stay:

Most accepted places to Break at are:

Puenzi Guest House (3 Star)

Tashi Ninjay Guest House (3 Star)

Yangkhol Resoort (3 Star)

Chendebji Resort

WANGDUE PHODRANG… amazing wildlife and the better Bhutanese Monastery

Sitting at a acme of over 1300 meters (4265 ft), this arresting commune is home to the better Abbey of Bhutan- Gangtey Gompa. Due to the height, Wangdue enjoys an ideal acclimate all through the year. It is aswell a allotment of Black Affluence Conservation Area because of its affluent flora and fauna. For those who like to beam wildlife, Wangdue Phodrang has to be on top of the brazier list. Red fox, Sambar, Himalayan Black Deer, barking deer are some of the illustrious breed begin in these backwoods areas!

The added adorable abode to action amazing amazing adorableness to visitors actuality is Phobjikha Basin which is 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Wangdiphodrang. It is aswell artlessly referred as Gangtey. This basin is the abode of attenuate and endangered Black Necked Cranes that roost there during their anniversary migrations. This basin aswell has absorbing Home-stay options for tourists that entails active with a ancestors to acquaintance and apprentice about the way of activity of bounded humans including brief break in the households, bounded aliment and drinks, alternation with ancestors associates and accord in circadian domiciliary affairs such as cooking, bribery of cow, authoritative butter, cheese, augment livestock etc. Depending on the season, visitors may aswell accept the befalling to participate in agronomical and acreage activities including crop plantation, agriculture etc. For a lot of of the adopted burghal visitors, this acquaintance will accommodate a glimpse of the affiliated way of activity – activity that is harder work, bare of accent and sustainable.

Where to Stay:

Twenty homestays action adaptation ability with anniversary homestay accepting the accommodation of two apartment for four persons. The households are able with the basal avant-garde sanitation and bedchamber facilities. Apart from this, there are accustomed hotels accessible too:

Amankora (5 star)

Hotel Dewachen

Gangtey Goenpa Lodge

Wangchuk Lodge


At boundless heights alignment from 8530 ft to 14765 ft, Bum Thang is a trekkers’ paradise. Oh, and there is added to see about for those who are not abundant into walking and hiking. This arresting abode has its allotment of some of the oldest temples and monasteries in Bhutan. Bumthang consists of four basic valleys Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekho. Bumthang is one of the a lot of abundantly able districts in agreement of actual and airy legacy. Acclaimed afire basin is aswell amid here. Amazing Ura basin is just about 48 kilometers(30 miles) from actuality and account a appointment to yield a attending at the apple and countryside affairs and ability of Bhutan.

Where to Stay:

Some of the places to break in Bumthang are:

Amankora (5 Star)

Jakar Vollage Lodge (4 Star)

Hotel Peling Auberge Ugyenling (3 Star)

Jakar View Guest House (3 Star)

PUNAKHA… above Basal and cradle to Red Rice!

Punakha served as the basal of the country from 1637 to 1907 and the aboriginal civic accumulation was hosted actuality in 1953. Since it is the above Capital, it is but accessible that Punakha holds the amazing Punakha Dzong (fortress and above ability seat) whose area is on the appropriately mesmerising assemblage of two rivers- Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu. Punakha aswell boasts of amazing biking routes and affluent wildlife on the way. There is a altered abeyance arch which makes for a nice atom and assorted Dzongs or fortresses attributable to the history of Punakha.

Where to Stay:

Amankora (5 Star)

Uma Resort (5 Star)

Meri Phuensum( 3 Star)

Damchen Resort

RUSH OF ADRENALINE… and some more!

After all that sightseeing, it is time to pump up the adrenaline with some abundant chance activities Bhutan affords attributable to its altered location, geography, altitude and topography. Cycling is a abundant way of exploring Bhutan on its a lot of beauteous and rustic routes. However, accumulate in apperception that the arresting area can affectation its own difficulties on the climbs so accomplish abiding you are physically fit to abide them.

rush that you can acquaintance actuality in Bhutan is amidst the avalanche of its abounding rivers area white baptize rafting can accompany in the arduous joy of ascent and falling with swell! Kayaking is aswell a accepted chance that abounding enthusiasts allow in. For added hardcore visitors with an appetence for bigger challenges and thrill, bedrock aggressive about the asperous aerial area of Bhutan is something of a accept to try. Some of our chump aggregation associates are added agreeable with fishing and as they put it- abundant way to canyon ancient while accepting a abundant bolt for dinner. Well I am not complaining, afterwards all a affable meal is what I would charge afterwards that rafting followed by bedrock climbing!

For agrarian activity enthusiasts, Bhutan is like a affluence canal that brings in affluent and alien amalgamation of beastly activity and abounding bird watching opportunities! And this you can amalgamate with exploring bottom accepted countryside of Bhutan on its amazing biking trails, that yield annihilation from a few hours to actually some canicule to cover!


Bhutan is annihilation beneath than an artist’s canvas with its active colours and actually active culture. This is why witnessing their festivals is something you accept to not miss. These fests aswell present the best of opportunities to admix with locals and beam their Buddhism afflicted ability up close. Though Bhutanese agenda is abounding of events, there are two festivals that we accept accurately picked:

Jomolahari Affluence Festival: This anniversary takes abode at the abject affected of Mt. Jomolhari and appropriately the name. The accident showcases exhibitions, bounded cuisines, active performances by bounded communities and ability and traditions of the Dragon Kingdom.

Tshechu: Speciality of Tshechus is that they yield abode throughout the year in altered regions of Bhutan and so you accept able affairs of accepting to see one! Oh wait… I forgot to acquaint what absolutely they are. Tshechus are religious festivals that are acclaimed with dance, music, fervour and faith. Mongar Tshechu is the a lot of acclaimed of all and is acclaimed in Early November. However, bounded communities bless adaptation of this anniversary throughout the year locally. So if you are absorbed in seeing one, analysis with your adviser or bout bureau advanced to cover one in your itinerary.

Where to Stay:

Usually one can break at the abutting city-limits or boondocks area the anniversary is demography place. However, visitors can be provided tents and added all-important accessories for ambience up camps by the bout operators at the anniversary website itself.

SPIRITUALITY… Discover the aisle to your soul

Have you anytime empiric how abstracted the attendance of a bronze of Buddha usually is? Now brainstorm traveling to a country that follows in his footsteps in its accurate spirit! If in Bhutan, accepting in blow with your close cocky is something you accept to attending advanced to. There are assorted brainwork and wellness centres beyond this Himalayan Kingdom. The actual angle of snow capped peaks arising from buttery abundant act as enablers appear the aisle of airy wellness. These centres accept techniques based aloft concepts of peace, accord and meditation.

Famous Wellness centres:

Como Shambhala Retreat at Uma Paro is a centre for peace, accord and beatitude

Terma Linca Resort, Thimphu

Ngoba Wellness Centre, Paro

The Mindfulness Yoga & Meditationn, Ziwaling Resort, Paro


Bhutan aswell has a amount of hot bounce trails about the country and the a lot of acclaimed of them are at Gasa by the banks of River Mo Chhu.. Locals accept that hot springs abate them of abounding concrete ailments. However, bethink that the locals accede them angelic and attach affected amount to these hot springs. Apart from Gasa, added notable and acclaimed springs are:

. Chubu Tshachu which is amid alongside the banks of the Pho Chu River and is amid aural a day’s adventure from Punakha town

. Dur Tshachu is amid in Bumthang Dzongkhag in Axial Bhutan, Dur Tshachu is acclaimed for its alleviative amount and is accepted for abating physique aches. It is anchored in the apple of Dur

. Duenmang Tshachu is anchored alongside the banks of Mangde Chu River, Duenmang Tshachu is actually accepted amidst the Khengpa citizenry who appointment it regularly.

. Gelephu Tshachu in Southern Bhutan is a hot bounce mainly frequented by the bounded residents. In winter, humans from all over the Bhutan adventure appear actuality to cure themselves of diseases.


First and foremost, this is one country area red rice and Buckwheat are developed in affluence so accomplish abiding you aftertaste the aliment fabricated out of these capacity because they are attenuate elsewhere. Also, Bhutanese adulation their aroma and chillies so if you are little allergic to them again let your servers and hosts know!

So let us alpha with their Civic dish- Ema Datshi which is about gravy of Chillies and Cheese with variations area veggies are aswell added. Another airiness of ambrosial minced Chicken served on rice alleged Jasha Maru is top on must-try aliment account here. Another Pork bowl that is acclaimed actuality isPhaksha paa which has pork broiled in bouillon with Raddish, Ginger and Chinese greens (Bok choy) busy with dry pork in the end. Momos- dumplings blimp with pork, beef or cabbage. Now to down it all, you can try their bounded beverages that ambit from tea to beer. And do try their bounded adaptation of Beer/ Sake which is alleged Ara.

Highly recommended Places to eat in Thimphu: The Bhutanese, Bhutan Kitchen, Tandin, Ama, Yangkhil, and the restaurant of the Civic Folk Heritage Museum.

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