All of my adult life, I have never had roots deeper than top soil. I have spent most of my time traveling and seeing the world as best as I could. I have been blessed to have been in 88 countries so far. I have lived full time in London for about three years and in Guatemala for almost a year and half.
Whenever I got bored, it was off to see another part of the world. One might say, I lived life backwards… I did the retirement type travel before I got so old that I wasn’t physically able to.
Being a computer programmer made my gallivanting easier than most other professions, I suppose. I have always been able to work wherever I plug in my computer. I have worked from an RV, off grid, in the mountains of Montana; a campground in Texas; a cabin in Colorado; a hut in Guatemala; countless hotels in Europe and just about every other place you can imagine.
I have lived through numerous bad situations, mostly weather related. My “fun times” include being stuck up to my truck’s axles in mud, on a high Colorado mountain “back country” road with no way to call for help; riding out Tropical Storm Agatha as we watched our internal stucco walls literally crumble from the force and volume of the water; the Jarell tornado on May 27, 1997 (https://goo.gl/T4LSGG) and countless bad snow storms including the one on December 23, 2002 in Branson, Missouri when we received 16 inches of the white stuff that paralyzed the city and left us stranded in a hotel (http://goo.gl/NC9O3d); as well as the Cascade Campground Wildfire on July 27, 2008 (http://goo.gl/AXMxwe), that forced us to abandon our RV, just to name a few. The list goes on.
Seeing so much of this big blue marble, and living through what it can dish out, has made me look differently, than most people, at every situation I find myself in. I am always mindful of a “way out” no matter what surroundings I am in. My vehicles all have emergency supplies in them. I have a “go bag” ready for a quick exit or emergency trip. My guns and knives are always cleaned and ready for use. My radios are always fully functional. My gas tank is always full and my tires always have plenty of tread. I think I’m prepared for just about anything.
After living through some pretty wicked weather and gallivanting around the globe with me, Ranae, my wife of 14 years, finally got me to settle down a bit and plant some roots as the saying goes.
This brings me to the point of this particular article. The things we had to consider when purchasing our land was a huge effort. We did months of research and had long (very long) conversations about the worst case scenarios we might encounter at any piece of land we were considering buying.
Before deciding on this little piece of land we call “Six Acres”, we evaluated a lot of different things and if you are considering the move to a more self-sufficient lifestyle, I would encourage you to consider some of the following items as well.
Because there is so much to consider as you embark on this journey towards self-sufficiency, I am breaking this article into multiple parts.
How isolated do you and your family really want to be? The classic image of people living a self-sufficient lifestyle miles from civilization is very dated. Today, many people are living this lifestyle near cities as well as in more rural locations.
For us, the best choice was remote. We live approximately 75 miles from the nearest grocery store (of any substantial size) or super Wal-Mart, but yet, it’s close enough to make a day of it and get anything we need. The use of ice chests when going to the grocery store was new to us, but it’s worth it.
Here are some other things to consider about remoteness:
Hospitals and medical care: We are both over the 50 year mark, so we are mindful of services such as the nearest hospital and good reliable medical care. If you need specialized medicine, this should be a big concern for you as well. I have severe life-threatening insect bite allergies, so keeping plenty of EpiPens on hand is a must out here too.
Access to fire and law enforcement: Being remote, in some parts of the county, has some draw backs, not the least of which is the timely access to fire and law enforcement should you need them. We looked not only at the crime rate, but also the reputation of the local sheriff department before buying our land. We were lucky, in that we selected a piece of land in a county with one of the best sheriff departments in all of Texas. Their department is well known for its high conviction rate. The crime here is relatively low and the chances of getting away with crime is pretty slim here.
The fire departments around us are all volunteer organizations. So it was important to us to see how the community supports their fire departments. The community here is quick to help support the volunteer fire department financially and in many other ways.
We are very blessed to have these two fine departments (fire and law enforcement) in this county. You should definitely be mindful of these two organizations in your area.
Fellowship with liked minded people: It was no accident that we chose the community in which we now call home. This particular community is, in general, very conservative and most people here proclaim their faith in Jesus Christ. This was a big deal to us and was, no doubt, one of the biggest deciding factors to us looking for land in this county.
Access to phone and internet: This can be a real challenge out here in the “sticks”. I will be writing a future article on the hurdles we had to go through to obtain internet and phone service. But this should be taken into consideration if you rely on either. Especially cell phone usage. It’s next to impossible without a cell-booster, atop my 130′ tower, where we live.
Employment opportunities: Living “out here” doesn’t have much to offer me in the way of the computer programmer field, but there are plenty of other jobs for those wanting to work here. Just be sure to look at the employment situation before you make the move or you could be sorry.
TO BE CONTINUED NEXT WEEK
Vern Six is a freelance computer programmer and entrepreneur. He is a United States Army certified survival expert and former Christian missionary. Vern has been a hobby blogger for nearly five years and now has his “According to Vern” blog published in numerous newspapers around the world. You can learn more about Vern by visiting his website at http://AccordingToVern.com