We’re still a long way off from reaching our dream of buying land and living sustainably. Still, I want to document our journey right from the start, and talk about what we’re doing now to get ready to make the move to buying land and living sustainably.
Growing our own food sustainably is key to our dream. We think it’s something everyone should know how to do regardless of whether they plan to live the rest of their lives in the city, in the suburbs, or on an off-grid farm. It is one of the simplest and purest acts of freedom, to walk out your front door and pick fresh food that you’ve grown yourself.
Living in an apartment, our options are fairly limited, but we’re lucky to have a small plot that our landlord lets us use to grow a few vegetables.
Learn About Plants
Growing a garden is certainly helping us learn about plants, and Dan is already an expert in native Appalachian plants. But there is still a lot of learning to do about what plants we could incorporate into our plans to help us achieve certain goals.
We’re doing out best to document what we learn on this blog, about creative ways to grow plants in small spaces, or just interesting facts that we learn about plants.
Research, Research, Research
You’re not really serious about off-grid living until you’ve spent an entire day reading about septic permitting laws. We know that there is going to be a lot that we’ll only learn on the way, but the more information we can have going in, the more headaches it will save us.
In particular, my goal is to learn as much about zoning and building requirements as I can. If we’re talking about investing in our long-term home, spending tens of thousands of dollars, I want to be certain that we’re not going to suddenly have a building inspector knocking on our door five years down the line telling us we have to re-do the whole thing at our own expense.
This one’s easy, since we’re both avid campers anyway. But camping, especially primitive camping, is a good gauge of how much comfort you can handle giving up. You learn very quickly that you don’t really need running water, and that after a week of living in the desert, a simple sun shower is just as satisfying as a shower with hot running water. Camping forces you to think differently about your relationship to nature.
Plus, it’s one of the best ways at the moment to simply stay connected to our long-term dream.
Connect with People Who Have Similar Interests
This is a little trickier, since a lot of people doing what we want to do are trying to get away from the internet and civilization. Still, because trying to make your own way can be very isolating and difficult, there are some really strong communities that have developed around it.
Learn Useful DIY Skills
Part of our goal is to be as self-sufficient as possible, which means learning how to do a lot of things for ourselves. We’re both DIY-minded and enjoy the pride and self-sufficiency of learning how to do things for ourselves anyway. From repairing rust holes in my truck, to soapmaking, to making salves and balms with native plants, we’re doing what we can to learn DIY skills now that will help us later.
Minimize Our Living
Neither of us has ever really lived extravagantly. When Dan moved out here, he drove from Maryland with a friend, and both of them fit all of their possessions into a little hatchback. For most of my adult life, everything I needed could fit into two large suitcases.
Since settling down a little bit, our possessions have sort of ballooned, and we’re trying to remedy that by slowly whittling down our possessions. This will help us get used to getting by with less, and make our move logistically a lot easier when we’re ready.
Find Remote Sources of Income
We’ve spent countless hours discussing practical ways to finance our dream. It’s tempting to think that we’ll just save up a big lump sum, purchase land, and disappear off the grid. But realistically, it’s unlikely we’d ever be able to save up enough to do that, and if we did, it would likely take so long that we’d have sacrificed our ability to physically do the work to make our dreams real.
So that means we need to figure out a source of income that works with our goal. Luckily, both of us are in careers that lend themselves well to remote work. We’re not sure exactly what this will look like, but there are lots of opportunities for freelance or remote work that we are pursuing.
Ultimately, we would like to start a business based off of our land, which we envision as being a combination of eco-tourism, bed and breakfast, and education in sustainable living, along with selling some hand-made products.
We’ll keep you updated on what we’re doing and how we’re working toward our goals! We hope you’ll keep following as we share our journey!