First Steps: What We're Doing NOW to Create an Off-Grid Homestead in the Wilderness
I come across so many inspiring off-grid homesteading blogs and quickly become captivated by all of the projects going on, photos of people living out their days surrounded by nature, with their handmade houses and huge vegetable harvests, and it's all so inspiring... but that's not where we are right now. Not yet.
This blog could sit quietly until we get to Washington, find land, begin projects, and so on ... or I could just start writing now and provide insight into the process.
The transition itself is such a foundational aspect, after all, and I think a lot of people are curious when they see these happy earth-loving families living beautiful wholesome lives out in the middle of nowhere... how are they doing it? What did the beginning look like? How do they make money living in the middle of nowhere?
As much as we both yearn every single day to be in our beloved Washington wilderness, we realize that this is the process! We're in it! These are steps that have to happen to make this work.
Here are some things we're working on at the moment to help us make the move to the wilderness to begin our off-grid homestead.
Eric is completing his CDL training
One of the reasons we're in Wisconsin right now is because Eric found a reputable school here to get his CDL and a fantastic company to begin driver training with. He spent Feb-March in school and has now moved on to on-the-road training.
We never see one another during this stage and it's emotionally difficult, but he is making great money and learning a lot and this will open up a lot more job opportunities for him later on that align with our off-grid remote lifestyle.
I am working and building my portfolio
For those of you who don't know, I taught myself web design & SEO last year as a way to make money working from home. In a remote area like we'll be living in, this is really important since there aren't many jobs available.
I'm happy to report that my business is going well and I have steady work. Each day, once I'm finished with work for my clients, I dedicate time to teaching myself more and more useful skills as well as sending out proposals to potential clients to ensure that the ball keeps rolling.
Taking this route and teaching myself these skills was one of the best choices I've ever made and I LOVE the freedom of being a "digital nomad" who can make money from anywhere there's WiFi.
Browsing land listings
Browsing land listings in this area is something I've been doing since 2013! It's crazy to think about.
I keep an eye out on land listings in the area, in case something wonderful that fits our budget comes along.
To be very honest, I have my eye on a piece of land right now. Of course, we aren't there to see it but it's 10 remote acres with high meadows, forest, and exquisite views. It's within our budget and only 2.5 miles from our friends, in an area we already know we love. So my interest has been piqued and I've even gone so far as to print out photos of the place and set them over here on my nightstand :)
Debating selling everything or moving everything
This is something new I'm pondering - should we move all of our things or sell everything?
The move everything side of me says: You have a lot of interesting belongings, take them. You've paid for a storage unit for all of these months, do you want it to be for nothing? If you get a rental home, you're going to want furniture and things to make the house feel cozy.
Then the sell everything side of me says: It's going to cost $2,500 to haul everything (Uhaul + car hauler + fuel), Tiffany! That's money that isn't going toward your long-term goals at all. It isn't going toward an asset, therefore, it's money lost. Be smart! Sell everything, keep the money, and invest in new things once you get there and better understand what your living situation is going to be like. You might not be able to accommodate a king size memory foam mattress anyway!!
I don't know the answer, but it's a topic we're chewing on.
Seek out a rental or buy land right away and dive in?
This is another new development since the plan thus far has been: get to Washington, put all belongings into storage, stay in our friend's RV until we find a cabin to rent. Then find land and slowly start building our off-grid homestead as time and resources allow.
Now suddenly I'm getting hit with: Why don't we prioritize land? Why not buy land ASAP, stay in our friend's RV while we build a small cabin on our land and start to implement off-grid water systems, off-grid power, sort out WiFi and so on.
This would be doing it the real, off-grid, rugged way. We'd essentially be stepping onto a piece of remote land with zero power, zero water, zero WiFi, zero living quarters.
We talked about this tonight and both feel drawn to roughing it, to going to the property as time allows and working on projects, camping while we're there, hauling in water, and so on. I've never lived without electricity. At a homestead in North Carolina, I did have to haul water from the creek, and I didn't really have sound internet or a modern toilet... but there was power.
We'll have to talk to our friends and give it some more thought before we put money down and decide on this route.
On the topic of putting money down, another focus of ours at this point is saving money. We created a strict budget to abide by and are putting back as much as possible right now.
We sacrificed the comfort of having our own place and opted to spend time with family before moving across the country away from everyone. If you have goals to fulfill and are willing to compromise to make them happen, I definitely recommend doing this to cut down on rent costs. I make sure to clean the house and help out in every way possible to create balance.
Deciding if we should sell the car or not
Our current vehicle is a 2wd vehicle. This will NOT fly in northeastern Washington State where most of the roads are unpaved mountain roads and the 6-month long winter measures snowfall in feet, not inches.
It's inevitable - we will not be keeping this vehicle (which is sad - I love Honda Elements for their spaciousness, low fuel cost, and reliability) but should we sell it before or after the move?
We need a 4wd vehicle with towing and hauling ability to live where we want to live and do the things we want to do, so it's another thing on our minds to sort out.
So that's where we are right now! I hope it's helpful to someone out there to read about these beginning steps. The primary thought behind most things right now is: does this contribute to our long-term goals, or not?
If you'd like to follow our journey as we transition to an off-grid homesteading life, you can sign up below to receive these updates straight to your inbox.
Until next time, may we all build and live the lives that bring us true joy!