Awhile back I walked about plans. Have been tracking my New Years Resolutions for awhile now. We have been talking about mid range and long term plans here at the TOR house. Codifying them onto the blog is however problematic. So much stuff depends on how long I stay on Active Duty and where we are stationed. A plan that would be practical if we lived at Ft Rilley, KS would not work in Ft Drum, NY let alone overseas. Aside from generic stuff like: working on our food storage, trying to grow some stuff, saving money, squirreling away precious metals, kit, weapons and ammo it would be difficult to make meaningful plans.
There is a plan that has been forming in our minds. This plan doesn't have a definite start point. It starts when I leave Active Duty. Not even going to get into when, how or why I might do that as there are so many factors involved including: job satisfaction, Op Tempo, family happiness, life conditions, and the economy. In any case this could be called the 'I get out' plan.
Here are a few things which shape this plan.
First a long time ago Wifey and I made an agreement that we will not live more than 45 minutes from a reasonable sized town (our definition for this is pretty modest). This was defined as something big enough to get basic services. Realistically we are going to need to live relatively close to a town of this size anyway.
That brings us to the second point. In order to live the kind of lifestyle we want and pursue our various desires we will need a decent income. Yeah yeah yeah multiple streams of income from small home businesses, etc, etc. I have read the same stuff you have. Not going to say that I don't think that idea works, just that I don't think it will work for us. We have and or will acquire the skills (still not entirely sure what we want to be when we grow up;) necessary to make a decent living in a fairly rural area.
Third it is true that some well paying gigs can be found in very rural areas. Moving out to Timbuktu, WY population 57 for a great job is a nice idea. The concern I have about a lot of them is what happens if that gig ends? You need a place where you could realistically get another comparable job. These days most workers change jobs or even careers a few times in their working life. Also while I am not sure the world is going to radically change because of 'peak oil' I do think that whatever form of energy we are using to power vehicles broadly speaking the price is going to go up, not down. The days of 75 mile one way commutes will likely be over in the not that distant future.
Also I have some serious concerns about the idea that you just telecommute to the 'good job' back in the city and can live in Timbuktu, WY. Simply put if you can do it via phone, fax and the net some guy in China or India could do the same thing for a small fraction of the cost. In general it is somewhat egotistical to think that nobody else could do what you do but in some cases it might be true. For those cases my previously mentioned concern about finding a new job still comes up. Maybe the firm of Anderson and Sullivan is perfectly happy paying you the same wage to work from home because you do good work and the boss likes you. What happens when Anderson & Sullivan closes or the boss who always looked out for you retires? Trying to convince Jenkins & Collins you are super awesome and they should hire you and let you telecommute might be difficult or impossible.
Fourth I am not fundamentally convinced that even if money wasn't an issue I would want to live in a super remote place. I don't need to be able to get pizza delivered or anything but it would be nice to be able to decide to go get pizza/ Chinese/ Mexican at 5 o'clock and eat before 7:30. Being able to go catch a movie on a weekend night when you are bored is enjoyable.
One of the parts I really like about the Inland Pacific Northwest is that while there are some reasonably sized towns there is little to no 'urban sprawl'. If you are say 30 minutes outside of Colville, WA or Lewiston, ID or Bend, OR you are out in the sticks. Admittedly finding a place that is relatively isolated but big enough to offer basic services and a big enough economy to make the 2-3 job changes that are normal is an act of compromise. It is however the best answer I can come up with.
Anyway now that those beliefs and observations are out of the way, here is the plan.
We are going to move to the Inland Pacific Northwest, probably Idaho but won't rule out the some parts of WA or OR. [Time for a tangent. Lots of folks talk about how Idaho or Montana or whatever are the best place to be. While in general I agree these places offer some real benefits there isn't a magical line of freedom and safety that matches up with any state boundaries. A guy two miles west of the Idaho state line doesn't have a fundamentally different reality than one two miles east of it. Ditto for Montana or any other state. End tangent.] We plan to purchase a reasonable fixer upper style home on a few acres. Most likely somewhat near a little town that is not too far from the kind of midsized town I talked about above. It would be off of any major highways and distinctly outside of whatever little town we are near. I would say 3-5 as a minimum, maybe a but more depending on what is available and prices. A wood stove is essential and a basement would be a big plus. We have been doing some looking and enough homes in that region have basements that finding a home which suits our needs and has one is realistic.
I would not say this is a picture perfect retreat plan. Then again a rural home in an area with a generally sparse population on enough land to have a huge garden, some chickens and pigs plus maybe a milk cow is a far better setup than most other options. I would rather have a comfortably sized place that we can easily afford and pay off at an accelerated rate than a bigger piece of land which we have to reach a bit to pay off at the scheduled rate. Maybe in a few years or a decade we would upgrade to a bigger chunk of land (if your income grows) but then again maybe we would just stay put.
Between an office/ guest room and a couple sets of bunk beds in the basement the place will be set up to comfortably house several more people. If they are not already present outbuildings will be constructed to suit our needs. In time we will set up a decent alternate power system and if it isn't already so retrofit the place to have the heat and kitchen stove to propane. This would allow us to function in a fairly normal manner during the couple of power outages a year that are the norm. My dream setup would have a spring but that is probably pushing it and would make our search much more difficult. Having a shallow enough well to run on Solar Power with a big retaining tank is a reasonable alternative that would not break the bank.
Also about the time this plan gets seriously underway the LMI and I will start changing some plans from talk into action. My co author Ryan and I have talked about this and he plans to move to the same area. We don't plan to live together like hippies in a commune but being in the same area would be nice. Chad will likely gravitate toward the same area also. We will likely have some other LMI involved who may or may not make the move. A plan of stocking up on fuel and well varied bug out routes will be figured out, probably as a group project since we tend to have interests in the same areas. Establishing some caches along said routes is likely to mitigate the issues of distance.
I am interested in any feedback or thoughts you folks have. Think part of my plan is unrealistic? Got a part you think can be improved on?
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