The Day We Moved to Our Off-Grid Property: Emotions We Won’t Soon Forget

There are moments in life when you have to commit 100% and there is no going back. It’s like that moment when your heart is racing as you’re standing on the edge of the cliff and you worked hard to get up there, but you’re hesitant to jump because once you start, you can’t stop until you hit the water. The day we left our home to begin the journey to our off-grid land was not dissimilar to the feelings of jumping off of a cliff.

As you will see in our 2015 highlights, the year was no walk in the park for us. In fact, it was one of the most stressful years of our lives. Long story short, after we got the call the land was officially ours, we were on the road with all of our belongings just five days later. Here is our story of moving to our land.

For the a glimpse of the emotions we felt that day, watch the video below. Then continue to read the post to see why this day was borderline traumatic and behind the camera, things weren’t so peaceful.

Note: In addition to the video below, we’ve also included a bonus video at the end of this post!

All Systems Go: The Day of Our Move

The day of our move we had planned to leave as early as possible so that we could make the 650 mile drive in one day. We knew the drive was going to be awful so we wanted to get it over with as soon as possible, even if it required burning the candle at both ends. As Jesse’s dad would say, “Overconfidence flies again!” What can we say, we’re optimists but aren’t afraid to rip the bandaid off fast!

The night before we left we packed as much as we could, until we were down to ourselves, an overnight bag and the kitties. We set our alarms for 5:30 in the morning.

Here is the only photo I snapped the night before our move.
Here is the only photo I snapped the night before our move.

Since we didn’t get to bed until well after midnight, we were groggy and exhausted when our alarms went off. We pressed snooze and decided to sleep an extra hour.

6:30 came quickly, and while we still felt like sleep zombies, we sprung out of bed to hit the road. We packed up our sleeping bags, got dressed, brushed our teeth, fed the kitties, and tossed the remainder of our belongings into the car.

Jesse got straight to hitching up the trailer. Because the back end of the truck was so heavy and riding low, and we were trying to hitch the trailer at an angle on a steep driveway, it wasn’t pretty. The truck was having a hard time running. To put the cherry on top, I did a poor job at guiding Jesse down the driveway. Things were not off to a happy start.

As our departure was nearing closer and closer, we loaded the kitties into the car in their cat tube. The yowling was strong – animals have a way of sensing high stress levels. They normally do a small amount of yowling upon being transferred to the car, but this time it was on an entirely new level.

As soon as we were hitched up, we did a few walks around the property to ensure we didn’t miss anything, we locked the door, hid the keys for the landlord, and left. That was it. This house and rehabbing project had caused us a lot of stress (like our cat coming home one night, basically suffocating and dying, due to someone unloading a canister of bear spray on him). Needless to say, we didn’t look back and felt a twinge of nausea at the thought of what we endured during our 9-month stay.

Time to Hit The Road, But Not So Fast!

We were officially on the road. Jesse had left a few minutes before me since he was going to be slow-moving. As I left the property and nervously cruised down the country road for a few miles (the road I was happy to never have to drive on again), I saw Jesse in the middle of the road up ahead with his emergency flashers.Oh no… we’re already having problems?” I thought to myself.

Jesse had pulled over on the side of the road, just minutes after leaving.
Jesse had pulled over on the side of the road, just minutes after leaving.

We were missing a critical tool that would be important to have if we had to unhitch for any reason. We thought we had left it on the bumper of the truck, or hitch of the trailer, and maybe it had fallen off on the way out of the driveway. Our only choice was to go back and look for it.

I drove back to the house and walked the driveway for a good twenty minutes trying to find the tool with no prevail. We decided to take our chances and proceed anyways.

We proceeded to drive into town where we would re-level the trailer on flat ground and get our caffeine fix. If you’ve never towed an RV, even a small one, without a proper leveling hitch, it’s VERY dangerous because the front has no weight on it, making it VERY subject to crosswinds and “the whip of death.” We’d be covering high desert cross winds, holiday traffic and the wind surfing capital of the world, the Columbia River Gorge. Not what we needed that day at all.

We checked that our newly-purchased walkie talkies were working, gave each other a hug, and decided to get on with the show. This was our last stop for nearly 300 miles, and there was no looking back. The cats continued to express their unhappiness which didn’t help our already high stress levels.

We had puchased these just days before our trip, hoping that they would allow us to communicate when cell phones weren't an option.
We had purchased these just days before our trip, hoping that they would allow us to communicate when cell phones weren’t an option.

Our entire family was loaded up, with all of our belongings, and we were on the road. It was going to be weird to take such a long drive without talking having Jesse to talk to. I followed Jesse and the trailer closely, staring blankly at the road ahead.

Normally, this particular drive out of town meant that we were going camping, to lay by a river, to go rock climbing or to dinner on the river, but this time it meant that we were leaving everything behind to start a completely new life that might not even work out because it was going to be such a challenge. Oh, the feelings were strong!

Settling Into the Drive: It Was Slow-Going

To be honest, I don’t think either one of us remembers much of the drive. I think we were both staring blankly ahead with our heart rates higher than normal as we white-knuckled the wheel with both hands while being defensive and offensive to protect ourselves against the holiday traffic. Yes, we were making the move on Labor Day weekend which we knew was a terrible idea, but it wasn’t really an option to delay it.

At some point, the cats did settle down which reduced my personal stress level by 50%. As we drove along, my heart was really in the truck with Jesse because I knew he was much more stressed out than I was since he was the one towing the heavy trailer with an under-powered truck.

Mind you we had just purchased our truck less than 2 weeks prior and hadn’t had time to vett it or test it properly. The morning after we got it home the starter solenoid stuck open nearly frying the starter and killed the battery. We were heading into this journey with a lot of faith. 

We drove across the long stretch of High Desert heading North. At times, we were driving up mountain passes at just 30mph, getting passed by the antsy, okay MORONIC, holiday traffic. We tried to accept that this wasn’t going to be a quick drive and keep our cool.

Slow and steady wins the race?
Slow and steady wins the race?

We would check in with one another semi-frequently via our walkie-talkies to make sure things were okay. In the weeks leading up to the move we had slept very little, not to mention the fact that we only got a few hours of sleep the night before. Under normal circumstances, this would not be a good time to take a long road trip.

We had both envisioned this day for months… the day we would leave everything behind and begin our dream life. We thought that this would be one of the happiest days of our lives and that our move would bring us great joy. Why did it have to be so stressful?

Were we making the right choice? Were things going to work out? Were we going to make it without a major breakdown or being ran off the road by impatient holiday drivers? We had no idea, but we stuck with the plan.

To top our anxiety off, most road trips have a comfortable place to crash at the end. This one didn’t. We knew that we would be arriving probably in the middle of night onto bare land in an unknown area with a car and trailer full of stuff, plus a couple of stressed out kitty cats. We wouldn’t even be able to drag ourselves out of the drivers seats to crawl into bed. Genius right?

We wondered if when we arrived, we would just toss our stuff out into the dirt for the night and deal with it over the next couple of days. We didn’t know if the cats would tolerate the trailer as they were both indoor/outdoor cats, so we wondered if they would run away from all the stress. Again, everything just felt really uncertain. We pressed on and figured if we survived we would deal with it when we arrived.

And Then, Late At Night, 12 Hours in, Things Got Ugly

Around 10pm we estimated that we were approximately three hours from our destination. At least that’s what Google Maps said. All day long we had consumed one cup of coffee and two chicken strips each, so energy was low. We were sleepy. It had started to rain and it was a dark night making visibility worse and roads slick. The cats started getting grumpy. One of the cats (Nikolai) peed in his cat tube and that’s when things starting going downhill quick.

If you have ever driven in a car full of cat pee, it doesn’t fit the bill of a good time. I had all windows open which made for a urine-scented, windy drive. Both cats were yowling, and they actually started fighting. They were in an all-claws-out brawl. I had to pull over to separate them, and ended up shoving Malek into a small box in the front seat. Unpleasant, but least of all evils.

Both of our heads were pounding and it seemed that we were having a hard time keeping things together, so we mutually agreed that we had to call it quits for the night. Even if we were able to hold it together a few more hours, what would we do once we got there at 1am, exhausted and in the rain? There are times when you get a gut feeling to not proceed with something, and our gut feelings were strong to call it quits for the night.

We frantically called all over town until we found an available room that allowed cats. Luckily, we had luck after ten minutes of calling around and found an availability just ten miles away.

As mentioned in this post, one of the reasons we got a great deal on our travel trailer was because it had a small leaking problem, as well as some dry rot in the front. This was okay with us because we had planned on keeping it covered. However, here we were in the pouring rain with no choice but to let it get pounded with water all night long. We had caulked the trailer a few days prior, but we had no idea how it would hold up with this much water. In the end, we couldn’t do anything about it so we stumbled into our dry, cozy motel room.

caulking
We had caulked the trailer thoroughly, but didn’t know that we fixed all of the leaks.

Once in the motel room, the stress diminished quickly. We let the cats out of their tube, put out some food and water for them, they used the toilet (yes, they use the human toilet), explored a bit, and they were almost content in about thirty minutes.

Jesse and I took a shower and then crawled into a soft, cool bed. Jesse passed out within seconds of his head hitting the pillow, and I vaguely remember trying to post an update to our Facebook page while gently and simultaneously rubbing his head. I passed out shortly after.

Waking Up Fresh & Hitting the Road Again

The next morning, we awoke at around 10am. Again, we awoke much later than we had planned, but it felt so incredible to be somewhat rested. We loaded the family back up into the cars and hit the road.

No breakfast and no coffee. Since we left the house over 24 hours ago, all we had still consumed was one cup of coffee and two chicken nuggets. We simply wanted the trip to be done. There was no time for food, and to be honest, we didn’t have much of an appetite anyways. Here is a quick video I was able to shoot that morning.

It was still raining. After just a few minutes on the Interstate, while cresting a rolling hill that was also curved, the truck began understeering. Understeer is when you turn the wheel a lot but the truck doesn’t turn.  Jesse felt sick to his stomach as he thought that he actually might wreck in that moment. It happened so fast that I couldn’t even tell what happened, but before he was out of control he was back in control by gently letting the truck drift back onto the highway.

All Jesse had to say after the event was, “I’m so thankful for having driven really fast cars on slick roads at a track for so many years. That training, or goofing off, came in very handy today. Otherwise our journey could have ended right then and there.” We came within 8 feet of ramming the concrete barrier on an interstate full of morning traffic. Remember what we said earlier about the importance of a proper load leveling hitch? That.

We drove for a couple of hours before stopping for coffee. Jesse checked the tire pressure of the truck and trailer as he thought maybe this was contributing to the drivability issues. I ordered us a couple of mochas which always increases morale. 

The barista was extremely nice… I told her that we were journeying to our newly purchased off grid land. In response, she shared that came up to the area for a visit 10 years prior and loved it so much that she never went home. This was a pleasant reminder that we weren’t crazy, there indeed was a reason why we were moving so far from home, and that this stress was going to be worth it. She gave us our mochas and we went on our way. Those mochas tasted so good.

Houston, We Have Another Problem

While we had a steady rain all morning, it one again began pouring cats and dogs… in August! This area hadn’t received rain in months, and it looked like there were at least a few more days of rain in the forecast. We knew that we shouldn’t let our trailer be pounded with water for who knows how many days, so we went over numerous solutions in our head. We had planned on having a timber frame barn built before the wintery weather arrived, but this was obviously way too optimistic. We needed an affordable solution to protect our RV now.

Arriving Into Town & Still Had Problems

Finally, we found ourselves rolling into town. Because we were too foggy-brained the month leading up to this trip, it didn’t even cross our mind that we would need a storage unit. We thought that we could build a simple storage shed on our property the first week, but now we didn’t feel so certain. Here we were on a Saturday afternoon on Labor Day weekend sitting in a grocery store parking lot in the pouring rain, calling every storage unit we could find a number for.

We left lots of voicemails but nobody called us back. We thought that our chances were good in a small town as a lot of businesses are small and family owned and because of this, many don’t have a set work schedule. We felt so desperate. We couldn’t toss our stuff out into the mud, and until our trailer was empty, we had nowhere to go. We really didn’t want to check into a motel for a second night when it was broad daylight and our property was just miles away.

Jesse calling a list of storage unit leads I was finding for him.
Jesse calling a list of storage unit leads I was finding for him.

We already knew from looking for land, there’s not active Craigslist for the area. So I decided to see if there was a community group on Facebook… there was! I joined the group, and immediately asked if anyone knew of someone that had a storage unit available and could let us dump our stuff off… LIKE YESTERDAY. A stranger gave me a number of someone we hadn’t yet called. We called the guy, left a message, and he called back within minutes. He had a unit available and said he would meet us there. THANK YOU FACEBOOK!

A Few Additional Unmet Needs, Just Miles From Our Property

We then realized that we had a dead trailer battery and no water or propane in our RV. We probably could have taken care of this before we left Oregon, but did I already mention that we were foggy-brained and had too much to get done before we left? Something had to give.

We stopped by the local auto parts store to pick up an RV battery and discovered a place where we could fill up our water tank and grabbed propane.

But wait. More problems… After filling our the water tank on our RV we headed out of town up a steep 3 mile long hill. Jesse radioed the truck suddenly had no power. In fact he was slowing down with the pedal to the floor. The truck engine was vibrating heavily. We’d have to pull over to diagnose. Before we could even find a safe place to pull over the problem suddenly cleared up and the engine regained power. UGH! Can you say emotional roller coaster?!?

Even though we were tired and ready for the trip to be done, we went to the storage unit a few miles out of town and quickly unloaded ALL our stuff. Yea, ALL of it!

Unloading our belongings at a storage unit so that we could access the trailer.
Unloading our belongings at a storage unit so that we could access the trailer.

Finally, we were headed to our property. The kitties had been so patient that day. They even got some attention from the receptionist at the tire store where we got our RV battery.  All of us were more than ready to get out of the car, for good.

Malek patiently waiting while we had our propane tanks filled for the trailer.
Malek patiently waiting while we had our propane tanks filled for the trailer.

All Set, Time To Arrive On Our Land

As we got off the main road and headed down a beautiful country road to our property, I finally started to feel excitement. I took out the camera to video tape this portion because I felt so emotional, and knew I would want footage of the arrival on our land.

Jesse had stopped ahead just before we arrived at our driveway. He told me to go up first so that I could video tape him coming up with the trailer. I happily obliged.

Surprise, We Have Guests!

I drove up the driveway while filming and was shocked to see a couple of people in a green pickup truck on our property. I got out of the car to go talk to them to see what was up, and they quickly rolled up their windows and drove out as quick as possible. They clearly were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing (drugs?). I don’t know who was more shocked to see the other… me or them?

I somewhat followed them as they layed rubber down the driveway. The look on Jesse’s face was priceless. I smiled at him, shrugged my shoulders, and waved him up! There was no time for questions, we had finally arrive on our off grid property!

Jesse rolled up the driveway, did a small loop, parked the trailer, and got out of the car. We were so happy that we had made it, and enjoyed a long, embracing hug. If I were an emotional crier, I would have cried, but I’m not, so we just hugged and enjoyed the moment.

land-arrival

The first thing on the agenda was to get the cats out of the car. I took them into the trailer one by one and they were pretty happy to be back on solid land. They cruised around the trailer for a bit, used the bathroom, and eventually settled down to take baths.

We took a few celebratory photos on the property.

After the cats were in the trailer and we had taken our photos, we looked at each other and said “Now what?” Specifically, we were referring to the fact that there was a lot of rain in the forecast and we had no time to rest. We had to protect our investment and get the RV protected.

Time to Get Back on The Road, We Had Critical Problems to Solve

While we were initially wrapped up in the romantic idea that we were going to build a timber frame barn for the trailer before the wet weather arrived, we admitted defeat and turned to our iPhones for a solution. We discovered that there were some large RV carports in stock at a Home Depot just thirty miles away. It seemed crazy to jump back in the car but it had to be done, so we found ourselves back in the Subaru putting our seat belts on. I happily volunteered to drive to give Jesse a much-needed break.

When we arrived at Home Depot, we quickly priced out the cost of building a minimal pole barn. We thought that it would be quicker than doing a timber frame structure and that it could be a short-term solution. After seeing that it would cost thousands of dollars, nor be a permanent solution, it seemed that it would be a huge waste of money and a distraction from building what we actually wanted.

We ended up buying what we saw was in stock online: this Garage-in-a-Box by ShelterLogic. As it worked itself out a very kind gentleman name Jeff helped us that day. Jeff, if you’re reading this, we appreciate you very much. You have no idea how much your help meant to us that night. Read more about our RV garage shelter and see how we took it even a step further by putting together an RV deck.

Heading to The Property For Good, We Indulged in Bad-For-You (But Delicious!) Pizza

We felt a little defeated that on day one, we splurged on a large, $500 expense for our property. The entire idea of this journey was to not use money to solve our problems and here we were, off to a bad start. One thing that we really want to hammer home is that you can only do so much planning, but you can’t plan for it all. It’s a great idea to try to not use money, but sometimes it can’t be avoided and that’s okay.

The idea is to shoot for the moon and even if you miss, you will still land among the stars. Our travel trailer cost $2,500 and the Garage-in-a-Box was $500. $3,000 wasn’t a bad price to pay to own the roof over our heads. If we had rented an apartment for $500/mo we’d eat up the same amount of money in just 6 months. As I’m writing this we’re entering our 6th month and we’re still in our RV cozy, dry and happy.

As we rolled back into town with our Garage-in-a-Box in tow, we suddenly found that our appetites were back – HARD! We quickly were approaching a local pizza joint so I slammed on the breaks, cranked the wheel, and made a fashionable entrance into the parking lot.

We ordered two medium pizzas… one Hawaiian and one BBQ. I think we both ate almost an entire pizza EACH. We literally stuffed our faces, and we may have even washed it down with a high fructose corn syrup-laden root beer. AND we enjoyed it, take that! We didn’t even feel bloated or regretful the next morning. I think our entire dinner conversation consisted of us saying “HAH! We made it! Can you believe it? We are here! We are alive! Damn, this pizza is GOOD!

Pizza has never tasted so good. We've resumed to this pizza joint since and it's really not good food... but that night, it was!
Pizza has never tasted so good. We’ve returned to this pizza joint since and it’s really not good food… but that night, it was 5 star dining!

mmm-pizza

We drove back to our property to find it just as we had left it. Both kitties were sound asleep and all was peaceful in our new home. We put the few slices of leftover pizza into our little refrigerator, crawled into bed, and passed out in anticipation of waking up to our first morning on our property.

Bonus Video: Time to Get Some Shut Eye After Two Long, Stressful Days

Before we passed out the first night on our property, Jesse recorded a short video on our Sony Handycam. I actually completely forgot that he did this until about five days ago, and I’m happy he recorded this! We had so much stress leading up to the moving to our land, so in a way this was the first peaceful night of sleep we had after many months, knowing that we’ve accomplished a huge milestone.

Check out this bonus  video by “liking” or sharing this blog post!

Moving to a Property is Stressful But Rewarding

The only impossible journey is the one you never start. Here is the emotional story of the day we quit our lives in the city to move to our completely #offthegrid property in the Pacific Northwest. Nothing went according to plan but we made it!! #homestead #homesteading
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I’ll keep this summary short… but if you plan on embarking on a similar journey, don’t expect it to be rainbows and unicorns the entire time. Moving to bare land to homestead is not stress-free. It can be very stressful and very scary. Nothing feels certain, and nothing IS certain! There is risk, and things may not go your way. Our goal in sharing is to motivate others to take the leap even if it seems like you’re going to die along the way. When times are rough, remember why you are embarking on your journey in the first place and push harder until you see blue sky, and you will see blue sky!

All things considered, everything worked out well for us. We dodged a lot of bullets. For all of these reasons, we will not soon forget the emotions that came with leaving our life behind and venturing to start an off grid homestead. Even though it was/is stressful, it is our land, we own our trailer outright(our home), and we finally feel an odd sense of stability in our lives. We’re finally home.

Get Involved

Do you have fears of moving to your own property, or have a vivid imagination about what that special day will be like? If you’ve done it, what were your experiences? Were they similar to ours or was it everything you had imagined and more? Let us know in the comments below! As always, we love to hear your stories!

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I am an aspiring homesteader on a journey to become self-sustainable and free. In my past, I've worked corporate jobs to make ends meet and get ahead a little; it didn't make me happy or confident in my future. Since taking the leap to self-employment and living a more simple life, my happiness levels have increased greatly and I've never felt more alive. I finally understand what I want in life and how to get there, and that is what this blog is all about.

Comments

  1. Mike says

    You guys are a real inspiration to anyone aspiring to become independent and off the grid.
    Question:

    What are your plans for building a house? What type of structure are you thinking about? Log home or Tiny Home? Are you also planning for a greenhouse and other structure such as a work garage work space?

    It would be great to hear about some of your ideas.

    • says

      Hey Mike! First, we plan to build a barn that we will put the travel trailer in. This will provide better protection against the elements than our RV garage and will be a better solution come next winter. We plan to build a loft in the barn that will be turned into an apartment, and living there will allow us to ditch the travel trailer. We don’t want to rush building a house so if we can enjoy life in the barndominium for a few years that would be great… would allow time to decide on house plans, finding materials, researching various building techniques, etc.

      For the house… not sure yet. Ideally, we would timber frame it with lumber from our property, or maybe by then we will pick up additional property just for the lumber. While our home will probably be small (but efficient), it definitely won’t be a tiny home. The barn will serve as the garage / working space… and we may do a greenhouse too… but this project is obviously very young so we have many years ahead of us to fully develop the property.

      We are not short of ideas and can’t wait to explore further building options and ways to make our property incredibly efficient.

      • Mike says

        Great idea and a great plan. A multi-function Barn building is a good idea. Lots of material out there for free to build a Barn too. The challenge is always finding the means to haul it back to your property.

  2. Lia says

    I am so excited and happy for you both enjoy and embrace your Journey thank you for being such an inspiration to us.

    Peace
    Lia

  3. Dianne Finnegan says

    It was so exciting for me to read about your adventure. You are certainly sooo brave in my book! Maybe if I was younger, I would have considered something like that – as a 50 somthing widow, I couldn’t so I bought a home and started a business. That’s my adventure, and boy it can certainly be a roller coaster! But there is nothing better than doing something you absolutely love with all your heart.

    I look forward to reading more about your building your homestead! You guys ROCK!!

    • says

      Building a business is nothing short of an adventure… just ask Jesse! I agree… there aren’t many things better than doing something you love with all of your heart, whether it’s starting a business, building a home, or starting a new hobby. The world is not short of opportunity. Thanks for the kind words, great to hear you’re enjoying following our progress!

  4. Holly says

    Back in September, we sold our house in south Louisiana and bought 40 acres with a cabin high in the ozark mountains of northern Arkansas. We were in two seperate vehicles with husband pulling a utility trailer with his work machines, me and our 16 year old son following. We planned on heading out at 5:30 for the 10 hour drive and immediately had problems since the utility trailer’s lights were not working. Since the sun was going to be up soon, we left anyway with me following close behind him acting as his lights. We watched the machines bounce and shift on the trailer, not to mentioned watching the trailer bow in from the extreme weight. It was slow going. Did I mentioned we had two dogs in the back seat? We also had to stop at a storage unit to store the trailer since we weren’t read to move into our cabin yet and had to stay at a condo rental. The storage unit had insisted they had a unit to fit the trailer. It didn’t fit and we had it stuck for a while. I think it was about 17 hours later when we finally made it to our temporary rental.

    We are now settled in our new environment but it’s been tough going and a little bit of a system shock. I’m sure you can relate.

    I loved reading your story and can’t wait to see more from the both of you.

    • says

      Wow, that sounds so familiar that with all fairness, I think I can say “I CAN RELATE!” What a trip. When we picked up our trailer the first day, it also had no working lights so I had to do the same thing and follow closely behind. I guess that just goes to show that on such a big move, things are bound to go wrong, but that’s completely okay! Roll with the punches! Congrats on moving to your new property. I understand the system shock completely but for us, it’s getting better with time and now we are in a really great schedule that is almost effortless! Thanks for sharing your story Holly!

  5. Joe says

    I love your Youtube videos and blog, both are very well done and you explain you decisions well. If its not too personal I would like to know how this journey has effected you marriage. Both of you together all day every day, living in such close quarters, and all of the extra stress involved in your journey into self reliance. You appear to be a great couple that are very much in love, but it must be very trying at times. I wish you well and hope your new life will be all that you want it to be and more!

    • says

      That is a great question Joe, and something that should be talked about. We do plan on doing some posts / videos around the subject as it’s an important one whether people like it or not. I’d say that this is a great test of our relationship but so far things are working out quite well. I think I should share a lot on this subject but not all in this comment as I’d have to give it some thought. In short, we’re both amazed that we work on our property together, run multiple businesses together, exercise together, have fun together and can still talk for hours on end – we never run out of things to talk about. That said, we do feel that it is important to do things solo at times and get out to socialize with other human beings so that we have some sort of balance. We aren’t at a point of heavy socialization today, but we’re working to have more balance in our lives. One step at a time. We do have times where our patience is thin because this type of journey is obviously stressful, and sometimes we snap at each other, but when that happens we always debrief the situation, talk about how we felt, why we said the things we did, and ultimately it leads to a deeper understanding of one another and our relationship. This is one reason why we didn’t want to build a house right away because that is a HUGE project and could easily end in failure. We need time to do small projects together so that we learn to work with one another and learn the other’s “work personality” so that when we take on a larger project, we are more prepared and giving ourselves the best odds of success. The rest of my thoughts on this matter I suppose will have to wait for a longer post :-)

      • Joe says

        That was a great answer, for now, I will keep an eye out for that post(and all of your other posts too!) Thanks for sharing your lives with us, I’m sure you are inspiring many people too consider a similar journey, and the trials and tribulations you face help to give us a more realistic idea of what we may face. Thank you again, and keep doing what you do so well!

  6. Frank says

    Wow this is a crazy story. How many cigarettes did you smoke with all that stress??? Why did you quit your jobs? This must have been a big step!

    • says

      We don’t really have any go-to stress curbs (okay, maybe we eat a lot of chocolate!). Jesse only held a corporate job for a short while, aside from that he has built businesses his entire life. I on the other hand had a corporate job since being out of college (not all that long to be honest, hah!) and I didn’t quit voluntarily… I was laid off but saw the writing on the wall for many months prior. That said, I wanted to quit but didn’t because I was afraid of taking the leap to self employment. We like self-employment because we can work on what we want when we want, can work remotely, are in charge of our paychecks, can build passive streams of income (not possible in corporate world), we earn a little from multiple sources so it’s a slim chance that our income would be cut off overnight, we only works on what makes sense (in corporate world, we rarely worked on things that made any sense, nor was a voice appreciated, nor is there really an “open door policy” HAHA, we were both terrible employees that were way too opinionated) and the list goes on. We love what we do. We don’t get all of the good without the bad though, but that’s okay with us. Even though we frequently work 80+ hours a week (each), the perks are worth it and we have greater odds of being able to walk away from our “jobs” one day. More on our income strategy here: http://purelivingforlife.com/6-ways-we-make-money-online-while-homesteading/

  7. Rick says

    You’re both genius’. Genius is hard work, persistence, sweat and blood;and you’ve both shown it! 80 hours a week each, and I believe it, is what it takes to make a breakthrough on the journey you’ve impressively undertaken. The blog being the icing on the cake. There’s no stopping you. I know that.
    Love you both.

  8. Angie says

    Love your story! Questions though, how did you pick your spot where you wanted to be? Did you purchase the property? What kind of business do you do off grid that lets you make a living? Just starting out here and trying to get my ducks in a row. Thank you!

  9. says

    Hey guys…great blog post and truly an ADVENTURE! It takes a winning attitude to keep going and it seems that you guys have it. Each day gets better! Later today I’ll share this post with our facebook readers. Thanks!

  10. Patty says

    Wow! That was a heck of a day or two for you both. The almost wrecking part would’ve sent me straight to the motel for the evening. You guys are like my heros. We are going to be starting our little homestead journey in a couple of months so I look to your blog as a way to give me in site of what to look forward to. I can hardly wait to see your next post each time I get the chance to swing by. I think I’ve told you a little before about our plans and yes, we wont be in the mountains like you two, but it will still be a lot of learning how to get what you need without running to the store every time the mood hits us. That is going to be harder for my hubby I think than me. He seems to have to stop by the store daily for something. I know it’s going to be some stressful hard work, but I’m so glad I found others that are as crazy as we are. We are a little older than you and we probably wont have the funds in the bank as you do, but we will be giving it our all. It’s hard to tell others of why we want to do this and get the response we would think we would get and not be even close. Family and friends have a way of trying to snap you out of your dream. But I’m so glad to have found you guys to show us that if we can dream it and work hard for it we will have it. Thanks for giving us the good the bad and the stressful. And just know you are helping some of us by laying the path down for us to be able to gain ground.
    God bless you both and I will be waiting for the next episode in your adventure.

  11. says

    Hello from way up here in Canada. So happy you posted your good bad and ugly move off grid. It made me feel more motivated to continue our own move. We have been working on our plan for (oh goodness) 8 years now. We bought a Mobile home thinking it would give us more capital to buy land. Although this will eventually work itself out, we have had our home up for sale for two years. The mobile home was a great idea for us as we have lived without a conventional Fridge or stove for 7 years. Anything you can cook in an oven I have found you can cook in a toaster oven. We have a camping one for off grid. We have over the years figured out what we can run on solar power and a battery bank. I have learned (with on grid power) how to can and preserve food, how to properly use that food in a healthy way. We are older (in our 40’s) and my husband is on Medically initiated retirement (going on 6 years now). We are moving from the “snow belt” in Ontario,Canada to much further north. So there will be some adjustment going from tons of snow to bitter cold. We are also moving with 4 cats and 5 dogs….so that will be entertaining. Our three kids are finished high school and off doing their own thing although we will be building “out buildings” for the kids to stay in if they need a break from city life. when they are not staying with us we will hopefully rent out the “cabins” to people wishing to try the off grid life for the weekend (a big thing up here). The land we are hoping to buy is around 17hours away so it will likely be a two day trip. I am so anxious to get started so I am truly enjoying living vicariously through you two until our home sells (fingers crossed/before spring).
    Love light and blessings

    • says

      That is so awesome! I think anyone who started a blog and said “moving off grid to bare land is EASY!” because I believe that couldn’t be further from the truth. All you can do is make a plan, work the plan, and then change the plan when it doesn’t work out how you thought. We are frequently changing our plan and I’m sure we’ll have a lot of setbacks… just don’t know what! Sounds like you have many things thought out and I think renting out little cabins on your property is a great idea. We hope to do the same in the future as it could be a nice source of residual income (with some work) and would be great to show others what living an off grid life is like. Hope you continue to find motivation and inspiration in our blog, and best of luck to you and your husband!

  12. Dieter Dittrich says

    You were lucky to have such a pleasant move to your property. A fairly recent vehicle purchase for moving all your belongings could bring on a lot of trouble during those many miles and numerous steep climbs. No flat tires, no overheating engine, brake problems, the rest is just a walk through the park. Now your life will be filled with never a boring moment. Off grid is wonderful, always finding new solutions where most on-grid people would just throw in the towel or call a contractor.
    Good things come to those who persevere.
    Impossible: a challenge in need of a solution.

  13. Caryn says

    As I read your story (with tears streaming down my face with joy), I thought of our own adventure we are about to embark upon! 8 weeks and counting, We will be leaving our rural apartment living and moving to the wide open space of the Ozarks. We will be doing what we have long dreamed of and planned for since our kids were toddlers (now 17 & 19) I’m very happy to tell you they are going to move with us! I mean we planted the seed so long ago and now they are eager to come with us as young adults. It’s funny even packing makes me happy. So with that said we will be bringing our 4 cats and 2 dogs along for the adventure of a lifetime… I’m the dreamer and my husband is the realist so we keep each other balanced. When I think of this move I’m reminded of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (Dead Poet’s Society) “I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die discover that I had not lived.” That quote sums up my family’s journey!
    To all those who think they are too old… You’re never too old to become the person God intended you to be.
    Live deliberately
    Blessings to you Jesse and Alyssa
    Caryn & Jacob

    • says

      Hey Caryn, so happy you posted on our blog! That is so exciting for you and your family… what a joy to have your children coming with you even as young adults. 8 weeks will fly by no doubt. We wish you the best of luck with your move – I’m sure you’ll be able to resonate with parts of our journey, hah! That’s a great quote by Henry David Thoreau. I think that’s the thing that separates us from most people (you as well I’m sure)… we live deliberately. Where we live, how we live, what we live in, and what we do on a daily basis is all deliberate – very little of it is circumstantial. Many people are victims of their circumstances and while it’s not always possible to change things overnight, it IS possible to live a deliberate life. Again, best of luck, and keep in touch! Would love to hear how things work out for you!

  14. Jonathan says

    Wow! This was a great blog post and exiting too. Do you plan on building your home by yourselves? There are some nice home building kits you can buy and it’s all DIY. Also look into SIP board homes. Costco has nice storage shed kits for a good price and easy to assemble yourselves.

    • says

      We do plan on building the majority of our home ourselves although I’m sure we’ll need help at some point. It seems that kits are still much more expensive than building a timber frame home with lumber on our property or from a local logger but I’m sure it’s a good option for some people. SIPs are very high-cost as well but it’s a popular choice for timber frame homes. We still have some time before we’re ready for the build though so I’m sure we’ll come up with something that works! Thanks for the ideas!

  15. says

    I’m just finding you in the last week, and have really enjoyed your email newsletters catching me up, and these posts!

    Watching the video, it was fun to recognize spots along the drive! “Hey, I know right where that is!”

    We live in Wenatchee, Wa and travel to Missoula often, so we go that stretch of road on I-90 often. :)

    I’m busy reading about and learning about permaculture, and growing food. We plan to sell our 4br split level in the spring (both our children are grown, and it’s too big for us, plus the money-sucking chemical hole in the yard…er…I mean the in-ground pool, is a…drain!) (See what I did there?)

    We plan on buying a small place, paying off our car and being debt free (except a small mortgage) while we save to buy land.

    We are interested in a monolithic dome home, because with all the fires recently, we want a fire-proof home.

    Thanks for sharing your journey! It’s inspiring!

  16. Shane says

    Great story guys
    Awesome effort
    My partner & I brought a plot (forest) , but I had luxury of a fully kitted out motorhome I had been living in for the past year or so, so off grid was easy ha

    Carving a road in as we speak, the closet main city 30miles away, local town (cafe, fuel, very basic) 5miles away,

    I’m sitting in my motorhome , just levelled it in its new semi permanent spot for the next year, we think we have found a house site so it’s on the digger and carve a track out in that direction.

    Keep up the good work

    Shane

  17. Drew says

    Hello,

    I admire you both for having the passion and courage to do what you’re doing. I’m an avid rv’er and so there are some common threads between us- as far as conservation and managing resources. There’s a man I follow in his blog. His name is Ray Burr and he’s suggested some great tips on solar installation and builds. He also has a friend based in Wyoming who does bigger systems.

    http://rvtravel.com/new-foam-car-debuts-your-next-dinghy/

    Drew

  18. Bobby Waters says

    Wow! Very inspirational! I love watching your videos and reading your blogs. We just bought some land up in Alaska not too far north of Fairbanks. We’re planning to move there from Indiana in 2 years. If everything works out ok we will try for next year! We just bought a 1990 ford e350 14ft box truck that we are going to remodel to be kinda like a motorhome. We will be going to a salvage yard to see if we can get some stuff from an old motorhome that is sitting there . We are getting pretty antsy about getting to our land! Watching and reading about your own journey has taught us what we could expect along our way. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

  19. jeremy hawker says

    I love your life journey story
    and am looking forward to many more installments
    just watch your health,,,,, if you have a bad back,…..
    and dont be a hero
    i know you are trying to be self sufficient but you may need to get help for the heavy work.
    with the size of your web following, you may well get some volunteers for just food and lodging
    just dont ask me
    Anyway we are off to Spain end of April for 2 months and as always my plan is not to have any plan
    so as i sit in the sun sipping chilled rose wine i will enjoy reading about your latest exploits
    and see you working away
    kind regards
    jeremy hawker – Solihull UK

  20. Aussie Liz says

    Your description of the people who were hanging out on your property when you arrived reminded me of a similar experience I had.
    I live off-grid, with a long driveway that comes off a reasonably well-used road. I’d been out for a walk, and coming home I found a ute (pickup truck) at the bottom of my driveway, only 30m off the main road. Its cab seemed to be filled with humans in awkward positions – but no faces to be seen. I walked by, trying to figure out exactly what part of the human bodies within were squished up against the windows, but not wanting to be rude enough to poke my nose right up to it (even though, as the landowner, I probably had the right to!!)
    I stopped at some nearby blackberry bushes to pick some fruit, and saw a sudden movement of limbs in the ute, the mess of humanity separated into two bodies, naked bits no longer on view, and off they drove…
    Saturday afternoon, public road, what were they thinking???

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