Updated: Jun 15, 2021
Living the simple life is anything but simple.
Centuries ago, self reliance was a prerequisite for living in underdeveloped areas. However, if we are being honest, this is an age where it’s just too easy buy prepared food, pre-made goods and tools for everything crafted by robots.
With current events, it has become more widely recognized that a return to productive lifestyles of days passed may just be the safest way into an uncertain future.
Long before "the world's gone crazy" went mainstream, I had my sights set on that simple life. As a child I remember being asked repeatedly to envision a career for my future.
“What do you want to be when you grow up?” As if a person can only be one thing, and their position in the workforce defines them at the same time. I struggled to find an answer. Even as a youth I viewed the steady vocation as a prison, and that feeling has never left me.
There was a time as a high school student when my ultimate plan was to become a wilderness transient a la Christopher McCandless from Into the Wild. Sadly, these types of journeys rarely end well. I may have assumed the same fate if I hadn’t stumbled on the true wilderness escape that is building a homestead.
Sadly, I believe many of the young naturalists of our time feel that same lost and hopeless mentality that I was once overwhelmed by. I was fully ready to assume a futile fate over the prospect of enduring a lifetime of doing meaningless or even questionable tasks in the workforce.
It’s not that I am opposed to doing hard work, it is just difficult for me to find contentment in a grueling full time job; which only increases the profits of the already wealthy, with little regard for anything else.
I value so many other things above money. Yet I am expected to sacrifice those most valued parts of my life in order to slowly climb a corporate ladder, with no real guarantees that my efforts will in fact pay off.
I truly believe this type of thought process is responsible for so many individuals who find themselves depressed, addicted, homeless, or worse.
We want something different. More holistic. More fulfilling. We want to be close to nature. We want spirituality dammit!
We just don’t know the proper approach towards finding these things.
With the 2020 pandemic, many people discovered the idea of homesteading as a pathway out of the troubles of our times. So much mandatory time quarantining at home convinced people to try their hand at gardening, building, creating, and more. Chaos and uncertainty at the grocery store has highlighted the fragility of things that we deem to be guaranteed available.
Truly, the only way to make sure you are prepared for the next catastrophe is to take control of your life and begin to supply yourself with some of the bare necessities.
"Forget about your worries and your strife
I mean the bare necessities
Old Mother Nature's recipes
That brings the bare necessities of life"
So how can you be at ease like good ol' Baloo?
The question is not whether one can live off the land or not. This has been tested and proven possible since time immemorial. The greatest concern for a wannabe homesteader is how do I successfully operate a self reliant household, while abiding by the rules and regulations of a modern day society.
I find myself seven long years into a sojourn of envisioning of a small permaculture farm with the promise of freedom at the end of the road.
Though my wife and I are much closer to our goals, the dream still feels so far away. We’ve been striving to be better gardeners, reducing our dependance on packaged products, researching and planning sustainable methods of living. At the same time, we have been working tirelessly at our regular jobs, attempting to put ourselves in a stronger position to make our goals financially feasible.
Living in the suburbs, where livestock is not permitted, and the garden is limited to a few choice areas in the yard. Practice is not entirely practical when at this preliminary stage.
The challenge of affording an independent lifestyle, including luxuries like internet, phone, tv, etc. rapidly add up to be quite a large undertaking.
Then of course we have to adhere to the governing rules and regulations of our locale. At a minimum, to operate within our society we are required to pay for certain “bare necessities”. This includes, but is not limited to insurance (health, home, and car) and taxes (property, sales, use, and income).
Once we abandon our steady paying jobs, success at homesteading becomes quite a rigorous and intimidating enterprise, with little room for error.
However, that fiery urge to pursue peace of mind in a radically different way of life burns on, continuing to drive us evermore toward our dreams. We have acquired land, we have invested countless time into plans, we are very much filled with desire and conviction.
However, we still have real concerns to address - financially, logistically, and personally. The hard reality to face is that the world is no longer set up to allow for independence of the individual. However, thousands of people worldwide are creatively achieving stability for themselves through the homesteading lifestyle. I am assured that we too can do it, and the only thing left is to dive in head first.
We are so close to heartily crossing into the great unknown. By no means has this great plan of societal escape been easy. In fact, never in human history has it been this difficult to start a small scale farm! Yet, there is no way I’d rather aim to live.
If it speaks to you, you can become a homesteader too!
For the price of a used car, you too can secure yourself a little bit of sanctity in the form of a plot of Earth. Grind now to give yourself the ability to live freely later.
I am here as a testament that even though escaping the system seems impossible, there is always more than one method to accomplishing a given task.
You are not alone in your endeavor to become a homesteader. Though it is a seemingly endless plight; it is one well worth the battle to those stubborn enough to make it happen.
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