This article considers a phenomenon seldom analyzed: The return to the roots, to family and friends, to the home village, when hardship hits. It looks into the role of peasant farming as a refuge, for those whose livelihoods have deteriorated, usually due to economic and financial crises for which they have no responsibility and even less say. Listening to the testimonies of those who go back to the countryside, or those returning to the sea (with examples in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Iceland), one hears a mix of struggle and hope, loneliness and fear, success and fulfilment. A destiny not always chosen, an imposed tabula rasa. These movements usually go unnoticed, but some governments provide the means to facilitate them, understanding the potential they hold for the country’s wealth. A few examples are chosen here to inspire policymakers and provide insights into how to revive national economies, particularly in times of financial and economic hardship. These examples also lead us to reconsider our perspectives on the gap between the rural and the urban, and invite us to see what we may consider as a continuum of mutually reinforcing synergies.