Whenever I’m not in the mood to watch something on Netflix or Hulu, I hop on YouTube. And when I think of YouTube, I think of all my favorite channels and YouTubers. Sure, YouTubers like Emma Chamberlain and Hannah Meloche are totally binge-worthy, but something about their channels feels so exclusive. We see them and similar YouTubers discussing LA life, expensive travels, and clothing hauls. And simply put, desiring their lifestyles is just not great for one’s mental health. Does looking at all of the clothing someone else has bought make me happy? Does watching someone rant about disliking LA also do so? These are questions I’ve asked myself, and honestly, my answer is no.
After realizing that I only watched some channels not because I liked them, but because they let me into a life I couldn’t have, I decided to find new ones to support. This ultimately led me down a rabbit hole of YouTubers that document rural lifestyles. I ended up finding one of my new favorite YouTubers, The Cottage Fairy, through this search. Paola, the woman behind the channel, lives in the mountains of rural Washington State and works as a teacher and artist. In her videos, she documents her lifestyle while openly talking about mental health and the benefits of connecting with nature. The clips of mountains and plants that she captures are incredible, and she narrates them with calming anecdotes.
It was after watching just one of Paola’s videos that I realized her channel was not only engaging, but also helped me relax. I felt soothed by her stories and the charm of her unique lifestyle, and knew I had to become a regular viewer. Yes, I don’t currently live in the mountains and am still viewing at a lifestyle I don’t have, but it’s not a lifestyle based on wealth or unattainable desires.
In fact, Paola’s videos are actually pretty educational, in that she provides details about local environment conservation and brings up topics like wildfires. I’ve learned more than I expected about Washington wildlife and plants. She also focuses on being sustainable and making her viewers aware of the importance of sustainability. Climate change is a constant threat to our generation, and reminders to be kind to the environment and do what you can to protect it are always needed.
While Paola is my favorite rural — or “simple living”— YouTuber, there are plenty of others to check out, such as Girl in Calico and Fairyland Cottage. And no, you don’t have to be a cottagecore aficionado to find them interesting. They simply remind us to slow down and think about the natural world, which I know I can definitely use more of. As opposed to LA YouTubers, I feel better about helping these smaller YouTubers make a source of income in order to sustain their environmentally friendly lifestyles. These lifestyles may not have all the glamour and trendiness of those in LA, but to me, they are much more fulfilling to watch and support.