Everyone always talks about “settling down”. This phrase never excited me because everyone made it sound bad and boring… kinda like getting married! Game over! “Settling down” was something that boring, older people did when it was time to stop having fun, and I never saw a point come in my life where fun would hit a brick wall and “settling down” would happen.
I didn’t want to live like an indecisive young person like the rest of my life either. In my late teens and early twenties I spent my time traveling to Pennsylvania to work a random summer camp job over the summer, I traveled to Okinawa twice and Germany once with Camp Adventure which was a great experience, I moved up to Oregon after attending college in California and I didn’t really know what was next.
Here is a picture of me DILIGAF-ing when I was 20 or so. Most people do this until they are about to hit their 30th birthday and then they say “Oh shit, I’m getting old. I thought I would have a life plan by now and be close to being wealthy and I’m far from it. I better start getting my ducks in a row!”
(Jesse’s story is a bit different than mine and he has been living with purpose for a long time but he will share that in a different blog post.)
When my 25th birthday rolled around I had a revelation that I was going to get nowhere, and get nowhere financially, if I spent the rest of my life without a goal or a plan. However, I didn’t know what goals or plans to have. “To own a house” or “to start a family” seemed too vague and doing the math, I was never going to get there with my last job.
Jesse and I started our relationship at a very inconvenient time in both of our lives. We knew we had something special between us but when we realized our strong feelings we both had to ask ourselves “What are we doing? Do we see ourselves having a happy future together? How does our relationship fit into the big picture? Is this relationship a good idea or are we simply wasting our time?”
Over time we got to know each other very well and talked a lot about what we wanted for our future. We had similar goals but didn’t quite know how to get there. We decided that we wanted to be self-sufficient, not need to rely on money, to own our home and our land outright, to do things that we were passionate about, to have a family, to spend time with our family, to live off of our land, to homeschool our future kids, and basically have freedom.
Seems simple, right?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. The system is not designed to produce individuals with freedom. The system is designed to keep people wanting new and nicer things, big houses, new cars and desire instant gratification so that they take on extreme quantities of debt. We are then supposed to become debt slaves and slavery does not equal freedom. True story, many employers try to determine how much dept a potential employee has to determine how loyal of
a slave an employee they will be. Deep stuff, more on that later.
We were in a lot of transition in our lives, a lot was going on, and we asked ourselves “well WHERE do we want to end up? Where can we live that will help us achieve our goals, not hold us back? Does where we end up matter?”
I’d like to outline the reasons we chose Idaho even though the location in Idaho is a similar climate to where we currently are / were in Oregon.
How We Picked a Place to “Settle Down”
No Building Codes
We wanted to live in a county that had extremely loose building codes. Because we don’t want to overpay for our home by getting into a 30 year mortgage. We instead wanted to put in a little sweat equity and finance our materials with our own cash.
In a perfect world, we would launch our own digital product that could pay for the building materials all at once, but realistically it would take time to collect materials and we wanted to weave building our house into our lifestyle. We also don’t want building our own home to be an extremely stressful venture (more than necessary that is… I hear building a house is stressful!).
Many counties have strict building codes, it can take a long time to get permits, the cost of the permits alone can be pretty steep, and counties can even dictate how you build your home and what materials you use. Some counties also demand that you need to start and finish your home within 6 months which we knew wouldn’t happen as it would potentially take us a few years, and we didn’t want to jump through hoops to renew the permits, so we decided that we’d really just not deal with building codes at all. We want to buy and find materials when we can, build the house when we feel like it or have time, and not have anyone dictate how we go about things.
You may be asking… but if there are no building codes, then everyone’s house will be ugly and unsafe?
Yes that is a one side effect to no building codes. For the most parts the houses we have seen in our target location are good homes. Occasionally we can spot one that clearly was not built to any type of code and looks like a light breeze would blow it down, but we knew that our home would look lovely and be long-lasting. We also kept in mind finding land that would shelter us somewhat from neighbors with ugly houses!
Another real problem when building a home is CC&Rs (Covenants, Conditions & Restrictions). Most neighborhoods have CC&Rs to protect the value of everyone’s homes. To give you an example, If you are in a neighborhood and someone decides to build an ugly house that is bright pink with lime green trim and doesn’t look like the other houses, you could be upset because it may lower your property value! However, many CC&Rs state that you must get the permission of a large percentage of your neighbors to paint your house a certain color and things of that sort. They can also dictate that you need a minimum square footage in your home, a two-car garage, etc. which some people love, but this wouldn’t work in our case. Here are some of the cons of CC&Rs.
We want our land to work FOR us in the way that we see fit. We might want to build onto our home later, or build a second dwelling on our property to rent out, run a business out of, have multiple storage sheds, or have an unconventional home that would violate many CC&Rs.
One idea we have is to live out of a yurt for a while. Yurts can be a great way to live, all your basic needs can be covered, they can look just as lovely as a home inside, but many people don’t want a yurt sticking out like a sore thumb in their neighborhood. I can’t blame them… they aren’t the sexiest of all things on the outside. However, if living in a yurt would help us stay debt-free and achieve our lifelong goals quicker then we would want the freedom to live how we see appropriate on our own land.
Plenty of natural resources
As we plan on living off of our land as much as possible we wanted a place with plenty of timber (ideally on our land) and plenty of water. We wanted to ideally find something with water rights so that we had access to unlimited water or even the ability to have a microhydro power system if it were a stream. This likely isn’t going to happen for our first property at least, we still want to be on our own well which means we wanted property an area that had a history of flourishing wells. We also wanted a place that wasn’t prone to drought.
Great to grow a garden
Some climates are better than others for growing a garden. There are many beautiful, remote areas far north but the growing season can be quite short. We wanted a place with a decent growing season, good rain, good sunshine, etc.
Not too cold or too hot… just right!
I grew up in a desert and I always despised how hot it was all the time. I love having four different seasons. I love some COLD weather. But because I grew up in Southern California, I don’t want to be freezing for the majority of the year.
Not a lot of people
We didn’t want to be in a congested place. I was living between Denver and Boulder for close to a year in an apartment and it always worried me how many people there were. Just driving around on a casual Saturday morning I would get stuck in traffic jams. None of these people were self-sufficient. If some disaster (natural or man-made) were to happen, Boulder or Denver would NOT be the places I would want to be. I also just don’t like to be surrounded by people all of the time… I’m much more content around nature.
Loose homeschooling laws
To be honest, I haven’t researched this in-depth. I did enough research to lead me to believe that Idaho is fairly relaxed with their homeschooling laws which is important to me. I don’t want to feel that I will need to jump through hoops if we choose to homeschool our children.
Jesse was homeschooled and I was raised in the public school system that squanders creativity and teaches you to be nothing more than a corporate slave. There is a huge difference in how we think about things. Jesse is a very out-of-the-box thinker and I think fairly in-the-box as I was taught. Jesse has been an entrepreneur from the time when he was 6 years old and charged kids to go down the sled run he made. He made $50,000 when he was 15 years old from a business he started. Entrepreneurship comes MUCH more difficult to me as I was not taught the skills entrepreneurship takes so I have a lot of lost time to make up for.
I’m not saying that we will be able to fully control the outcome of our future children, but we want simply want the option to homeschool our children if that’s what we feel is best.
Loose vaccination laws
There is so much drama and media coverage on vaccinations that it’s hard to know what to believe, but we want the option to not vaccinate our children. Many states have a medical or religious exemption, but not all states have a philosophical exemption. We wanted the best odds at having a say in the health of our children.
Sustainable, self-sufficient neighbors
We are extremely self-sufficient and self-sustainable and want to be surrounded by like-minded people. We don’t like the energy of being surrounded by people that mooch off of the system. People who live in more remote areas tend to have farms and be more self-sufficient. They can hold their own better than your average city slicker.
Reasonable cost for land
We wanted to find a place where land was somewhat affordable. We were hoping to find maybe 5 acres within our price range that also met the other criteria.
While we would like to become less “plugged in”, working on the internet has been one of the tickets to our freedom so far. It allows us to create many mini-businesses and websites that generate revenue and allow us to be location-independent. The internet allows me to work as an independent contractor remotely if I choose to. We wanted a place where we could get somewhat quick and somewhat affordable internet which means that we couldn’t be TOO remote. Going too remote too soon would likely result in failure if we did it before we are ready.
Close to family
We entertained the idea of moving abroad, and that idea is always in the back of our mind, but it is nice to be close to family as well. Basically if there were two equal places but one was closer to family then we would pick the one closer to family.
These are the big things we considered when picking a place to “settle down”. We spent countless hours, weeks, and months researching. Once we found a place that fit our criteria we took a trip to visit and were sold immediately! We took four trips total to our target location and constantly kept up on real estate in the area so that we knew when a good opportunity came by to snag it.
All of these life goals were missing in my early twenties. I suppose all I cared about was saving a little money at the end of every paycheck, taking a nice vacation once a year, buying cute clothes, keeping up with my fitness, trying to tolerate my jobs and hanging out with friends. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. After some soul searching and decided what we really wanted in life we were able to create some very specific goals and a blueprint on how to achieve them. Where we live is extremely important to achieving our goals in life so this is how we picked a place and took action.
Recommended Reading, Watching & Resources
We have watched a handful of seriously great YouTube videos and and even read some blog posts that helped us with our decision. To get access to these inspirational recommendations, please use one of the social buttons below!
- Strategic Relocation – This is a book written by Joel Skousen where he talks about some of the largest, realistic threats to the world and especially the United States. He has a thorough list of criteria that must be used when strategically picking a place to live. He grades every state based on this criteria and gives each state a score. We didn’t purchase this book but I thought about buying it many times and even looked around to see if it was at a local library somewhere. I think this book is GOLD if you are completely clueless as to where to start, and it will teach you a lot as well.
- Strategic Relocation The Film FULL VERSION – This is a YouTube video where Joel Skousen talks about his book. Very enlightening and leaves you with a lot to think about.
- Where Should I Live? 14 Factors to Consider – This includes a few more things I neglected to add to this blog post but overs things such as taxes, affordability, food options, proximity to an airport, employment opportunities, real estate values, etc.
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