Self-reliance and sustainability in the 21st century.
I love what I do – working from home, growing some of our own food, and connecting with folks around the world who are either just planning or just embarking on their journey towards rural living and/or increased self-reliance.
These are ‘out of the box’ people who live outside the status quo. They don’t take ‘common knowledge’ for granted, and have a definite vision for where they want to be and how they want to live. In a way, big or small, they are being called to a way of life where they have some control over their food supply, of what influences their children are exposed to, and their day to day living. Some work for themselves, some are employed, and some are in transition. But the one thing they have in common is the desire to be more self-reliant, and to live in a way where they are less dependent on the industrial food system and in a whole lot of cases, the consumer culture in general.
Where they get tripped up a lot of the time is this big question:
‘How do I get started?'
I received an email recently from a young woman who dreams about living in the country, but was feeling overwhelmed by all the books, magazines, and websites full of all sorts of opinions and projects she felt like she needed to tackle all at once. She didn’t know where to start, especially as a single person with a young child. Challenging? Absolutely.
For me, ‘starting’ was a very looooooong process. It began back in the late 90s and ended with our eventual move in 2008. Well, ‘ended’ is a relative term – it never really ends. The learning is constant, but that move to a rural property is a HUGE step, and is the culmination of a whole lot of work and study. Even though I didn't have all our ducks in a row right away (or, um, still), it was such a relief. I felt more prepared just by getting some space to grow food.
So the next time I’m asked that question, “Where do I start?” here’s what I would say:
By now you should have a pretty good picture of where you’d be happiest, what you can afford, what you’ll do for your finances, what you'll do for schooling, etc. Now the key is to find that property!
In order to prepare yourself a bit further, grab a cup of your favorite beverage and have a read through some of our most popular ‘how to get started’ articles.
I know some of these things might seem obvious, but you'd be amazed how many people skip one or more and then regret not doing more preparation. It's an emotional decision in many ways, made more emotional by the seeming disintegration of 'the system' that's currently in play that seems to make the decision that much more urgent. But if you take the time to do the work ahead of time, you won't have any regrets. And we can all do with less of those...
In Part 2, we’ll talk about the most efficient things to do once you get to your new property.
Did we miss anything? Are there other things you think are important in the 'should I or shouldn't I' question? If so, please share them in the comments below!