What People Don’t Talk About When Going Off-Grid or Homesteading: Well-Meaning Critics

If you have ever gone down the path less traveled, then you know while it may be rewarding, it is also faced with multiple challenges and problems, hence the reason it is less traveled than the beaten path. There are many reasons not to take the path less traveled, but the beaten path doesn’t look alluring to you either, so you “jump in with both feet” and head down the path less traveled.

By buying naked land, building an off-grid home, and starting a homestead, we are choosing to take the path less traveled. Along the way, we have come across a number of “well-meaning critics”.

These “well-meaning critics” are people that have your best interests at heart (whether it’s someone close to you or the stranger at the grocery store), but they ask a lot of “what ifs” which ultimately deflates your parachute because you don’t have the answer for everything.

Have you ever felt that the spotlight was on you, and that your plans were being picked over with a fine-toothed comb, while everyone secretly or not-so-secretly is wondering why you're so weird?
Have you ever felt that the spotlight was on you, and that your plans were being picked over with a fine-toothed comb, while everyone secretly or not-so-secretly is wondering why you’re so weird?
We like to joke about giving people a large pallet of paper, saying “Here is our contingency plan! Everything you can think of that could possibly go wrong is covered. Everything.”

Our guess is that many people quit this type of journey (one to get “free from the system” so to say), not because they can’t figure out how to build a house or grow their own food, but because of a lack of support. They probably quit because they run out of steam, feel beaten down by the system, feel beaten down by people that they should expect to support them and feel lonely or even rejected.

My goal with this post isn’t to focus on the negative… it’s to communicate why people say the things that they do. Chances are, your well-meaning critics love you, support you and want the best for you, but they are programmed to act otherwise.

Examples of “Well-Meaning Critics”

Just in case you aren’t familiar with the type of push back I’m talking about from your well-meaning critics, I’m going to share a real-life example as it pertains to our journey specifically.

Well-meaning critic: You’re going to live in a trailer? Does it have air conditioning?

Me: No, no air conditioning.

Well-meaning critic: Wow, that’s going to suck, you know.

Me: It won’t be that bad. It’s not very hot where we’re going, it’s temporary, and we need to start somewhere.

Well-meaning critic: Well, uhhh, (face is wincing in pain) yea, I don’t know about that. That’s going to be pretty miserable. Is there water on the property?

Me: No, not to start. We’ll drill a well eventually.

Well-meaning critic: So you’re going to have water trucked in then?

Me: Well, we will have water in our trailer, but yea we’ll look into getting a holding tank or something.

Well-meaning critic: Oh, yea that’s going to suck too. That is such a hassle.

Me: Not really, I mean I’m sure we won’t want to do it for the rest of our lives but it will be okay. We don’t have a problem camping with little water so I’m sure dealing with a holding tank temporarily won’t be a big problem.

Well-meaning critic: Are there other wells in the area? If so, how deep are they?

Me: Yea, most properties are on wells. Two properties close by have wells that are 300ft and 500ft deep that both put out a lot of water.

Well-meaning critic: Wow, that’s terrible. That’s a really deep well, you know. That’s going to cost you a lot of money.

Me: Eh, that’s not that bad for a well, and we don’t mind. If we have to drill more than once then it’s not really a problem either.

Well-meaning critic: You make your income on the internet, right?

Me: Yea, we have multiple online businesses that produce an income for us.

Well-meaning critic: What are you going to do if the internet goes down? Then you won’t be able to make an income anymore.

Me: I doubt the internet will go down anytime soon, but in the event it does, then everyone’s life will change, and I’d still rather live in a remote location than in a city. We would be able to adjust as we have a lot of skills and a great work ethic.

Well-meaning critic: Well, okay, but what if a nuclear bomb is dropped near you, what are you going to do?

Me: Hmm, I guess I’m not really sure. That doesn’t really seem to be something that any of us can really plan for unless we can somehow befriend someone that owns an underground tunnel which seems unlikely, so I guess we’ll hope that nothing like that happens to us.

The thing is… people like this think they are helping you by letting you know that there is a lot of work ahead, or that you might not find water on your property, or that there is a chance your homestead will catch on fire, or that there is a potential threat to your income stream.

The thing also is… you and I know that this type of feedback more often than not, deflates us, as we are already aware of the dozens if not hundreds of reasons why our plan may not work. It is hard because we don’t want to close ourselves off to the world, and push people away, but their good intentions of helping us succeed, or not fail at least, can rob us of energy.

So, let’s not focus on the negative, but maybe I can shed some light on why people respond in this matter when they love and support you, and ultimately what you can do about it to pursue your chosen path with strength and confidence. You may even be able to turn some of these “attacks” into great conversations and into an opportunity to build stronger relationships.

Programming: What The Government Wants People To Do

The answer, my friends, is programming. The government wants full-control over the people. The government wants people to be dependent, in-debt, corporations want the people working for them, the government and corporations don’t want the people to have freedom, and they will ensure the people are kept in their place through scare tactics so that they never get any crazy ideas to be free.

The way this is accomplished is through the media, especially television and the news.

The news is designed to create fear and overwhelm people to put them in a state of learned helplessness. It’s not just the news, it’s most all media. The news focuses on all the bad happenings in the world and makes examples out of people that are trying to free themselves from the system. The news plagues people with images of loss, death, war, natural disasters, cancer, bankruptcy, starvation, disease, the scary police, the scary IRS, foreclosure, and I’m sure you can think of more.

There’s an excellent documentary on this matter but after a quick search, I can’t seem to find it. Let me know if you know of the documentary so I can update the post!

In the end, people end up trying to run away from pain rather than running towards their dreams. This fearful programming is so strong, and makes us feel that one bad decision will ruin us, so we run around trying to avoiding pain, discomfort, failure and uncertainty at all costs.

People think that if they stick to the beaten path then they are reducing their risk. They are told that if they get a good job, buy a house, get into a 30-year mortgage, have a new car, put money into their 401ks, and enter the rat race, that they will live a risk-free life, never fail, and happily retire when they are 60 years old with not a financial care in the world. And this works out for some people, but not everyone, and not most people.

Not only are most people acting out of fear (I’m guilty of this as well at times), but society perceives failure as a bad thing. Nobody wants to “fail”, and nobody wants anybody they care about to “fail” either. I avoided taking risks most of my life and because of that, many things are difficult for me because I haven’t learned many hard lessons. Jesse on the other hand, started a business when he was 16 with an older business partner, made $50,000+ in a year while in high school, and then his business partner stole the money out of the bank account and was never to be seen or heard from again. He said it sucked and was disappointing, but 15 years later he is quite the avid businessman due to his “failures” in business. His motto is “fail as fast as you can” because the sooner you fail, the sooner you learn what not to do.

Most life lessons we learn through “failure” and experience, not by reading textbooks, and this is a good thing. When we “fail”, we give each other high fives because we took a calculated risk and it didn’t turn out as we had hoped, but at least we learned a lesson in some way or another and most importantly, took action.

This programming and fear is rampant in our society. If you look around, society is doing what they have been programmed to do and any people are acting out of fear. They believe they are safe and free from risk which couldn’t be further from the truth: Life is risky and we’re all going to die one day! There, I said it!

While the majority of society may not be truly happy, doesn’t like the rat race, or wish there was a better way, they won’t dare do anything different for fear of loss, instability, homelessness, starvation, poverty, disease, loneliness, rejection, and even death.

People traveling to/from jobs they hate, paying for a car to get to their job, no time to eat a healthy diet, no time to do anything rewarding to the soul, no time for family, they are in debt, they are living paycheck to paycheck, but they won’t stop or change their life because they may “fail” and failure is scary.

Now that you can hopefully understand the foundation of most people (maybe even yourself, it’s okay, we’ve all been programmed to some degree), let’s talk about why it’s hard for people to put this programming aside, even when it is destructive to your morale.

Why People Say The Things They Do

As I said, many of these well-meaning critics truly want the best for you. Chances are, you have even been someone’s well-meaning critic. Well-meaning critics want you to be healthy, secure, stable, and even happy. However, this fearful programming is so strong that they can’t get it out of their head and it is close to impossible to put aside.

When you start talking about taking the path less traveled and doing things unconventionally, it challenges the programming and makes people uncomfortable, if not terrified. The fear within people is so strong that you just talking about something that is supposed to be “scary” makes their heart rate increase. They are putting themselves in your shoes and feeling nothing but fear and a million reasons why if they were you, they wouldn’t proceed.

This is when irrational things start to come out. They try to find every conceivable hole in your plan so that you will see that it’s better to really just stay on the beaten path. If you haven’t seen The Village, I highly recommend you do so. In The Village, everyone talks about “the bad color” attracting evil, and by talking about the path less traveled you are talking about “the bad color”. Their job is to remind you that you are talking about or wearing “the bad color”, and discourage you from traveling into the woods where bad things happen and where the monsters live.

People fear “the bad color” and what is in the woods, on the other side of the fence. This fear is very real, and the media has painted the image of a big, bad, scary monster on the other side of the fence. It sounds silly, and we laugh at the movie “The Village”, but this couldn’t be further from the truth and the fear is real.

Even if logically these well-meaning critics know that you should do what makes you happy, that your plan seems somewhat logical, they can logically see why doing things the traditional way may not be the best either, and that what’s best for them is not necessarily what’s best for you, their fearful programming is too strong and takes over. They act and say things out of emotion and the primary emotion is fear… fear of loss, poverty, starvation, homelessness, disease, bankruptcy, being lonely, looking like a freak, being perceived as weird, the government, and death.

Don’t take it personal, because it’s not. These people either A) Really, really care about you, love you, want what’s best for you, want to be supportive and want to encourage you or B) Don’t know you at all, don’t care about you at all (think a short conversation with someone in line at the grocery store), yet the things you say still scare them so they start asking you the “what ifs” because if they were in your shoes, they would be scared shitless!

So again, let’s not focus on the negative. Most of us are good people with good intentions. But what can you do about it to keep your morale high?

How to Deflect These Comments: Using Aikido Methods

Way back in the day I took some Aikido lessons. Aikido focuses on “not on punching or kicking opponents, but rather on using their own energy to gain control of them or to throw them away from you”. If you fight back you will exhaust yourself and never win. Supposedly, using Aikido, a 100lb woman can protect herself from a 250lb man. Impressive, eh? I didn’t appreciate or enjoy Aikido lessons then, but I have a new appreciation for the art in my daily life.

Rather than seeing these well-meaning critics as opponents that are picking a fight with you and fighting back, you simply need to dodge and redirect the energy. Fighting back is pointless, and you don’t need to waste a tremendous amount of energy defending yourself because it won’t make them feel better, and it won’t make you feel better. It’s a lose lose situation.

You need to weigh each well-meaning critic individually. Some people really are genuinely interested in your journey and want to learn more because it’s so “out there” yet they are open minded enough to learn more. They may not know anything about living off the land, living off-grid, building a house from scratch, so naturally they will have A LOT of questions. Feel free to answer and educate, but not before assessing whether their energy is positive or negative.

If you feel that you are being attacked, then you may wish to respond differently based on the relationship of the person “attacking” you.

If it is someone important to you (like family or a close friend that you don’t wish to lose), then you may wish to explain to them how you feel. You may be able to say something like “I know I am taking the path less traveled and that there are a number of risks, and statistically I will fail and I’m okay with that. I know you support me and only want the best for me, but I would really appreciate encouragement rather than pointing out the negatives to me. I’m not upset, I still love you, I’m just saying this because I value you and want to keep our relationship as strong as possible”.

If the person isn’t close to you, then you really don’t need to defend yourself or even continue the conversation really. Just say the minimum you need to say to be social, or if you choose to continue the conversation then keep a watchful eye on your energy levels. Use it as an opportunity to observe the fear and discomfort, and know that you are transcending that to achieve your dreams in life, risks aside.

Surround Yourself With Like-Minded, Supportive People

On a journey such as this, surrounding yourself with like-minded people is critical. It’s great to have a group of people you can bounce ideas off of and people that won’t judge you when things don’t go according to plan. Some people you find may have already taken the journey, or will at least be further along, and can truly provide some great insight and helpful tips.

I am currently dabbling in and out of different communities to get a feel for things, but I’ll update this post of where I spend my digital social time which includes Facebook groups, Instagram, forums, and other blogs.

Our Favorite YouTube Videos & Documentaries

If you’d like to learn more on this subject and further understand why people do the things they do, and ultimately, how to not let the negativity of other people affect you, then here is a list of our favorite YouTube videos and documentaries on the subject. Watch at your own risk… some are lengthy and all are deep!

Get involved!

Let me know what you think of this post! Did you enjoy this content? Do you feel it’s too “heavy”? Have you experienced similar things on your journey, life or way of thinking? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and experiences. Let’s try to keep a positive-spin on the comments even though it’s a difficult subject :-)

Great article for those that feel criticized for their decision to homestead - purelivingforlife.com #homesteading #offgrid #survivalism

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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. Matty Watson says

    Awsum ! Awsum ! Awsum ! I’ve dealt with all this stuff too Alyssa. Keep going, you and Jesse. What I’ve discovered is it’s better to say nothing or make up a story. You guys are obviously in touch with your senses and are completely able to assess who is open, and who is closed. You will feel it within seconds of meeting them. It’s amazing how many people are slaves to the system. Anything out of the ordinary is hard for them to conceive. But, if you told them you’re doing the 9 to 5, mortgage, commute… You’re totally acceptable.

    I like meeting people who do the opposite of that nightmare. It becomes rather boring hearing the same old story. My question to you guys is, “can I see how you select the site for you well ?” Or, “Is there lots of tranquility on your land ?” or, “Is it snug in your van ?”

    Love it ! This is my first comments on your blog. I found you and Jesse on Google+ and subscribed straight away. I love what you guys are doing. Keep it up and deflect the bad vibes and immerse yourselves in your good vibes. Looking forward to the next post 😉

    • says

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Matty! Yes, it is crazy how you can sense energy within seconds of meeting someone. When I was doing the 9 to 5 I was congratulated on the new job, when I got into a huge mortgage I was congratulated by dozens of people, when I bought my new car I was congratulated by dozens of people, and when I tell people the path we are on now I get blank stares and disgusted looks. It is hard which is why people don’t do it, but doing what’s “easy” really doesn’t create security, it’s all an illusion, so I’d rather try to go after the real thing or die trying ya know?

      Jesse has a saying “If the world goes left, then I go right” and it couldn’t be more true in this case. If the masses are slaves to the system and we’re doing what they’re doing, well, we’d rather not lol. So if the masses go left then we should go right, right? So if the masses look disgusted at our lifestyle choice then it’s actually a good thing, right?

      Of course, when we have our land paid for, our beautiful home built, are completely off-grid, have a beautiful garden, maybe have a new car again in the future, then we will once again be congratulated for the “success”. Nobody wants to go on the journey, they just want the instant “success” and hence the mortgage payments, the 9-5 job where you get paid for every hour of work you do, the car payment, etc.

      I could talk for days on this subject. You’re right, different questions should be asked! There’s nothing wrong with some constructive criticism from those that have done it and have valuable lessons to share, but those people likely aren’t operating out of a place of fear and are genuinely trying to help. I don’t have the answer to your questions yet but will be sure to continue sharing the journey :-)

      • says

        Totally get this. I’m an escapee from the employed rat race and have been on the run for the last decade :) . A lot of my old corporate friends disappeared fast in the early years. But being different really sorts out who your true friends are. Now I am taking it to the next level and am in Italy setting up a small farm in my spiritual home.
        Interestingly we have had quite a few begrudging comments from our old Irish friends and some more friends may be lost in pursuit of this dream and challenge. People by and large like people who are like themselves, it’s the tribal way, or the highway. We are being bold and brave and will not let people hold us back but it’s hard sometimes. Thank you for your advice, I think we’ll be using it regularly. Ciao :)

    • Jesse Stafford says

      That’s some hardcore truth there Matty. Wow. Find good energy and when you do, cherish it!

      So glad to connect and share our adventure! Are you doing something similar or planning to?

  2. Emily says

    I think your plan is amazing….mainly because my husband and I have a similar plan :). We always get critics, but the people closest to us that we care about are usually only trying to look out for us and I take the feedback with that spirit in mind. With the other critics, I generally like to have a little fun….Have you ever heard of the Humanure Handbook? Tell them you are going to use a composting toilet and watch their face (hilarity ensues). I think that many people are afraid of thinking outside of the box, but a lot of successful and content people are the ones who do.

    • says

      Hey Emily, that’s awesome you and your husband are doing something similar! I have heard of the Humanure Handbook! I may pick up a copy but I did enough research on the matter. We would like to install a septic system but will definitely keep it in the back of our mind. We were at the bank talking about this matter and the teller asked what we were talking about and Jesse blurted out “pooping in a bucket” and her face was pretty priceless. She actually had heard about it because she was fairly obsessed with tiny houses but yea it can be fun to throw people for a loop depending on the mood haha.

  3. says

    Totally get where you’re coming from. Usually we just grin and say, “Yep, we’re excited for the challenge.” Most people probably go away thinking we’re off our rockers. And yet, I know there are quite a few of them who secretly admire us.

    • Jesse Stafford says

      It’s the grin that throws them off Maridy! 😉 Most folks attribute challenge with tribulation. Anyone excited to be challenged must be at least a little bonkers! Reminds me of the bumper sticker or t-shirt “Smile. It makes me wonder what you’re up to!”.

  4. Scott says

    Congrats to you both. I have secretly been dreaming of doing something similar for about a year, but not sure how committed my family will be. I am reading and watching everything I can get my hands on about these topics and hope to so start putting this knowledge to use. I see in your bio that the land you are looking for is in Idaho. I live in Idaho and was wondering what part of the state you are looking at? I plan,to follow your journey closely and just maybe we could help each other in the future. Good luck and God bless.

    • says

      Hey Scott, how large of a family are you hoping to take this journey with, and do you have kids? I imagine it would be more difficult with a family, especially if not everyone is 100% on board or comfortable with the idea, but definitely not impossible. I do think many of the pain points in doing this transition can be addressed in one way or another. I do have to say, we hyped the move up a bunch in our head and now that we are here, it’s not a big deal at all. We feel the same as we did before, our habits our similar, but we feel great knowing that we are finally here with a blank slate. We both love some of the luxuries of “the system” and are FAR from being a mountain man and mountain woman, so hopefully at some point we can help some families in making some sort of transition by addressing specific pain points! We purchased land north of Sandpoint and absolutely love it up here. Where are you located?

  5. says

    I get the same kind of looks and comments.

    I’m not sure if your way or mine is the more difficult challenge. My wife and I both have full time jobs and trying to establish a homestead. I guess it’s fun to have an audience everyday but burning the candle at both ends will cause burn out and I mean quick.

    When someone hits me with the “what if’s” I usually just ask them the same question. Most don’t realize how fragile their lifestyle really is. A storm takes out the power for a few days and they are lost while we are just inconvenienced. If anything worse happens those in the city are in a real world of hurt.

    I’m cheering for you and have shared some of your posts on Facebook.
    You might be interested in http://www.earthineer.com It is not as active as Facebook but it is made up of people who are farming/homesteading etc,… Everything from herbal remedies to solar power. There is always someone there to answer your questions and offer advice.

    Don’t let anyone get you down, not that I expect that would happen anyway. I can’t wait to see the “finished” project. It’s never really finished it’s forever evolving.

    • says

      I can’t imagine doing what we’re doing with us both having full-time jobs… neither of us do and we run out of time daily, but then again we’re both self-employed which has its own challenges and we’re more busy than we ever were with 9-5 jobs. I suppose both ways have their own challenges for different reasons, but it sounds like you and your wife are troopers!

      Thanks for the website recommendation! It’s always great to know where we can all go to for help from experienced homesteaders.

      We are definitely getting to the point where comments from “naysayers” doesn’t really bother us. We understand fully why people say the things that they do and most people simply operate out of fear, so we feel bad for the people that are paralyzed because of fear of the “what ifs” even if their current lifestyle is vulnerable. We simply hope that these people can put their fears aside one day and explore a lifestyle that better suits their needs, that is unless they are truly happy doing what they are doing. We try not to push our value system off onto other people as everyone is after something different.

      Thanks for stopping by our blog, and sharing some of our posts! Feel free to engage in our community, especially on Facebook, if you need some extra support on this journey!

    • Troy Stutsman says

      Hi Ned:
      I just joined “Earthineer” and it looks like an amazing site…!
      Thanks for the heads-up.
      Have a blessed day!
      Troy

  6. Brandy says

    Wonderful blog. I just found it today and have really enjoyed the process you have documented. I myself am single, with three kids, recently sold a house in Michigan that I flipped and paid off all my debts. Then I moved back to Washington state where I am from. My plan is to find some property over here on the west side of the mountains and set up my own home stead. It will be interesting trying this with a full time nursing job but my family is here and very supportive. I don’t run into much opposition from family since we are all kinda strange that way. My grandparents did the same thing on the coast and our families original home stead from over a hundred years ago is in Lacey, WA. My friends and people I meet do tend to think we are crazy but we are accustom to giving the “wild smile” with the “loving a challenge and good hard work” statement. In fact we are always looking for ways to produce off grid energy and I am looking into green, alternative housing and heating options. Anyway, awesome journey, looking forward to hearing about more of your adventures.

    • says

      Sounds like you have a great start, Brandy! That’s great to have the support of your family and for everyone else, I agree that the response “we love a challenge and hard work” is appropriate. We wish you the best of luck on your journey!

    • J W says

      Hi Brandy! I just had to comment and say welcome back to Washington. Also I LOVE Lacey, WA. We lived there for a little while but ended up buying our current home and property a little farther to the east, where prices are cheaper and land is bigger.

  7. says

    I love this reality of things people say. Most of my close friends/family know my desire to live off the land but they all think I’m crazy and wish me luck. There are a few who still like to point out more of the negative, but I like your idea of redirecting it and just flat out saying, only encouragement is welcome in this conversation. Thank you for the time and energy you put into your posts.

    • says

      That’s definitely challenging when many that are close to you wile they understand what you want, still think you’re crazy! In a way, this stuff IS crazy because crazy is not not normal, right? In that case, I don’t want to be normal! We’ll try to shed more light on how to not let naysayers get you down as this is something we’re frequently fine-tuning. Keep your chin high and focus on things that bring you positive energy, and try to let the rest not get you down, even if you wish you had more support :-) The more time we spend on this blog, the more we realize that there are A LOT of people that want a more simple way of living… they just don’t all live in one area necesarily!

  8. Jason says

    Love the blog and have always wondered with the hard and sometimes dangerous work on the homestead, how do you handle medical/insurance? I have little ones and this is one of the biggest worries I have.

    Keep up the great work. Watching every thing you post!

  9. Ariel says

    I just found y’all’s blog today, and I have to say that I’m loving it so far! Hubby and I both want to one day live at least mostly off-grid, or at least be mostly self-sustainable. We came from very different backgrounds, he’s grew up in the country and I’m from the city, but at least we agree on our end goal. LOL But I have noticed since we had our first child and announced that we were going to do things like cloth diaper and live more simply and frugal that we have gotten quite a few of these “well-meaning naysayers” too, and we haven’t even told people about the eventual plan to homestead! LOL I will certainly be following y’all’s journey with much vicarious joy.

  10. Robin says

    How did I miss this conversation! It is great.

    I came to your blog, through Mother Earth News (online) and have been following along, ever since.

    Take a look at the above entries. Isn’t it interesting and amazing. The men and women that responded have (at some point in their life), stepped off that endless escalator. Each has started thier journey. All have faced detractors and know ‘that smile’.

    I just adore giving that smile!

  11. Alexa says

    This post is really inspirational!!! Man the questions we had when we told everyone back home in the Midwest that we were picking up and moving with our 10 month old to live in a yurt in the mountains of Colorado in NOVEMBER! Our families were worried to say the least. We’ve dealt with some pretty hard challenges since we moved here. After the yurt (which actually turned out to be an amazing adventure) was an old homestead where the water stopped running for three months and we had to melt snow to flush toilets and bathe (the worst experience to date). As we embark on our journey to sustainable living, my partner definitely has the fear, but I remind him if we got through all of that we can definitely get through buying and building our own sustainable housing. Thanks for the inspiration! I’ve booked marked this for when I need a little encouragement. :)

  12. Nox says

    Nice article. I’ve always understood the things you’re talking about. We’re just now making an offer on the land that we intend to live on. Much like you are doing – offgriddable, probably with city services as backups when needed if convenient.

    When I tell people about what I am doing, I get baffled looks. Yes, I’ll eat the eggs my chickens lay, (and the chickens), and milk my own goats. Yes, I’ll make my own soap. Yes, I’m going to cut down a tree and cut it into roughs, and dry it in a solar hut and then build stuff out of it. Really. They just can’t believe it. They are plugged in, completely dependent and can’t imagine any independence.

    Do I know how to do all of this? Nope. I sure don’t but I can try and learn and when I fail, I sit down and take a humble moment and figure out why I failed and do better.

    Most importantly, I have no debts. I am about to have no house payments. I’ll be deciding what to do with my time, and when. That is the freedom that I want. Freedom from compulsions.

    I look forward to reading more of your insights.

    • says

      This is so awesome Nox! Yes, we still deal this on a very frequent basis. Many of the people that give us weird looks work full time, have the government raising their children because both parents work full-time, work at a corporation that owns their soul, are drowning in debt, own nothing, have zero freedom, and are not self-sustainable in the slightest. This isn’t to say that everyone should live the way we wish to live because we’re all different, but people can’t relate at all to a sustainable way of living! Keep us posted on your progress – we don’t know what we’re doing either and have failures and successes every day! We hope the offer works out on your land and you’re well on your way to freedom!

      • Nox says

        If not this land, some other land. We’ve failed to buy at least one that was really our good fortune not to succeed, as we later decided.

        I admire your bravery and willingness to take risks. Your methods might not work for me directly but I am learning from them. I mean that in the nicest way. My partner and I are very strongly motivated by research and investigation – and granted, some degree of the results of research is chaff, and it’s not always easy to thresh but it’s something we enjoy and that drives us.

        I am quite impressed with how your shack addition to the RV cover turned out and I appreciate your willingness to just go at it and tear into your timber and make boards. Now that I’ve seen you do it, that helps me refine and adjust my own expectations.

        I’m also very interested to hear how your green wood hot tub deck turned out, and if the green wood drying in the sun ended up causing any issues.

        For me the biggest questions are juggling priorities. So many of the things we want to do predicate others, or in some cases while not hard predications, change the effort required to perform other tasks.

        We’re planning on sharing our experiences, once we get land – I personally would like others to understand what is within reach and if I can encourage anyone to step away from the hopelessness of struggling through spending most of their waking hours working only to pay for the next day of living to work again – that’ll be success.

        My take on homesteading is a little different, since I think with an engineer’s mind. I am all math and diagrams. Figures and formulas. There are so many interesting problems to solve in efficient ways. I’m really looking forward to it.

  13. says

    Having pursued professional and Air Force occupations in male-dominated fields, I’ve heard so much of this all my life, but as Divine Guidance would have it, I landed in an Air-Force-wide engineering corps whose motto was: “Lead, Follow, or Get The Hell Out Of The Way!” That became my mantra and still is to this day…although I’m not as young as I once was, and I’m single, I still dream and then continue to pursue those dreams–one of which is homesteading. Recently, I came across another piece of wisdom which I have appropriated: “Some people say that when you get old, you stop dreaming….I’ve found that when you stop dreaming, you get old.” Hallelujah, I am not getting old, LOL

    • says

      You’re so right Tess! I love your attitude and quotes. I can see you having to fight this in a male-dominated field for sure. Never stop dreaming!

  14. Seth says

    This post is SPOT ON! My wife and I are planning on homesteading in about 2 years time, and to some folks, even a mere mention of what we’re planning on doing is getting the “well meaning critic” all fired up! GREAT post!

  15. Brenda Corley says

    I’m loving your blog so far and have read 2 or 3 posts so far after following a Mother Earth News link. My question is about how to access restricted info? I wanted to know your 13-point plan for homesteading, for instance, and was unable to access it even after hitting the LIKE button.

    I am 56 and slowly looking and learning about better self-sufficiency for retirement. I’ve signed up for your blog as I’ve already learned from you and expect to learn much more – and I didn’t want to lose you!

    Thx for your help.

  16. jeremy says

    What a breath of fresh air you and your husband are. Your list of goals is almost exactly mine. Only extra one was finding a local solid biblical church. I love that you are cued in and alert to mind control of our media and govt, just like (dumb sheep vs. snakes and wolves). I love the lists, the data and the details. I would love to hear why you are against injecting poison (read vaccines) into your bodies (LOL) I find that refreshing, along with no zoning codes, which is really overreach by fellow local town/state/country citizens telling you, hey you new land owner, you are dumb and can’t comprehend how to build, so I need to come “inspect” you to make sure you are following our rules and doing the way I was told to do it mentality.
    I love the sacrifice that you made by selling the entrapments of the successful instant gratification fast food world for long term freedom earned by planning and thinking outside the brain washing done in every public school. Friendly reminder: even though no kiddies yet, please fight now for your continued right to protect, defend and raise your kids by attending hearings applicable to such laws especially home school laws, school choice vouchers, and freedom from vaccines etc.
    I am a small business owner, very interested in how your husband sold his business and did he take a stipend instead of lump sum? Do either of you also bid on local jobs from places like CL, homeadvisor, thumbtack etc?
    Please don’t let monday night quarter back critics discourage you from your plans and your total freedom, we all use to enjoy here in USA before the socialist took over with FDR “plan”.
    Sorry I will stop ranting:)
    BTW: you are the first blog I have ever commented on
    You may have inspired me to attempt my own blog.
    I look forward to watching your life unfold and your dreams and goals compile more freedom.

    • says

      Sounds like you “get it” Jeremy :-) I feel honored that this is the first blog you’ve commented on! There are certainly lots of things we pay attention to and try to be active about, whether or not they apply to us today (like kids). We try to take time out of our busy schedules to stay on top of things, be alert, and be active community members. Jesse sold his business by taking a down payment and then annuities until the cost of the business is paid off over a few years. We don’t bid on local jobs… we’ve worked hard to move our income online so we do very little client-based work (almost none now). It wasn’t an easy process but we’re happy we took the time to make it happen. Keep in touch, we enjoy hearing from others that have similar goals!

  17. Regina says

    Christmas evening, I called my dad. He is a retired IRS tax auditor. Up to his eyeballs in debt, will never see daylight out of it all. For the first time, we talked about our off grid living. 3 1/2 hours later…lol…he admits, he wished he had chosen that kind of a life. Even on grid but financially freedom wise…but he bought into that life straight out of college. He had loads of questions, good honest questions. He is the only one in my family who truly was interested in hearing my answers. The rest have expressed “interest”, but mainly waiting for my answers so they could jump in with the next question or horror scenario.
    My advice, search out communities of people who live or want to live the off grid life! Definitely find online friend, but go the next step. Become penpals! I found one in Texas. Sometimes it a short letter and a bird feather from her, a response and a little quartz crystal I pulled from our river as a return post. Sharing with those who care, can be that little lift you need on a rainy day.

  18. says

    I know this post is older, but it is everything that is building and bubbling in my heart, and I have to comment! My husband and I are in our early 30’s with our first kid, and we are leaving the city for 12 acres of off-grid, house-building, what-the-heck-are-we-doing freedom this summer!

    We’ve had our share of well-meaning critics as well, and have already started crafting our careful responses. Lots of smiles, lots of “we’re really looking forward to the challenge!” It’s amazing to me what people are willing to sacrifice for the sake of comfort…or, to avoid change. We’d far rather have to do some hard work and live well than just stay in the city with our deadening city jobs.

    Way to go with talking about the programming that our society imposes on us! It’s refreshing to know that others feel that way too.

    We love watching your videos and are excited to be entering the homesteading pool of crazy people this summer (finally launched our YouTube channel, too!). Keep up the good work!

  19. says

    I got all this stuff when i married my Philippino wife she will leave you, steal all your money hire a contract killer, the family will hire a contract killer whatever. 19 years later we are still together raised two daughters the family adore me and have suped US in hard times. By the way I do believe the family that prays together stays together so say grace.

    If you don’t step off the beaten track you never make any positive discoveries eg electing Mr Trump.
    Can I just nail my colours to the mast and say I think your president is wonderful (Trump NOT obama) if he turns out a tenth as good as Reagan he will be great. One last thing Putin is a Christian regards himself as a defender of the Christian faith so lets be friends.

  20. Don says

    Hello, I do not know if this is the documentary that you had in mind near the top of your post when you talk about fears but I did find this: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3810760/?ref_=fn_al_tt_5

    It is
    Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things (2015)
    Even if it is not the one you had in mind it might be of interest to you. I have not watched it yet but I just downloaded it in less than 4 minutes ( I have a fiber net connection so it is very fast.)

    I am enjoying your posts very much but have only seen about 6 of your videos so far.

    Don

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