Status Update On Our Homestead Journey: Current Setup as of June 2018
One of the primary reasons for ever starting this blog was to give a more transparent look into what it takes (or at least - what it has taken us) to build an off-grid homestead from scratch.
So many of the off-grid homesteading blogs out there are people who are already doing it, they're on their homestead living the wonderful homestead-y life. But we, along with many of you, simply aren't to that stage yet.
We're in the very beginning of this transition, which - unless you have a lot of money - can be a lengthy process.
We haven't built our home, we aren't growing our own food, we don't even have our own piece of land yet!
As overwhelming as those things can feel, we have to keep perspective...
What we have accomplished is:
Eric getting his CDL, allowing him to live anywhere (and increasing his value around here where the few good jobs that do come available are CDL jobs)
Tiffany becoming an online entrepreneur so she can work from anywhere (very important when you want to live in the middle of nowhere with no jobs available)
Check out our comprehensive list of ideas for making a full-time income while off-grid homesteading if you haven't already. There's a lot of useful info there.
Saving enough money to move across the country with all of our belongings
Establishing a solid living arrangement in a wilderness where rentals are few and far between
All of the above items took 8 months to accomplish. It can seem like forever when you're in the middle of it, so you must have a clear vision of your overall plan to help you stay the course.
Of course we're itching to have our own land (right now!), a home built on it, and be waking up each morning to work on and enjoy it, we have to remember that we are making leeway, that progress is being made day by day, and that we have already accomplished a lot designing lifestyles that allow us to live in this gorgeous wilderness which is the canvas our homestead dreams will emerge from. In due time.
So for the sake of transparency, and for those interested to see what the transition to an off-grid homestead actually looks like while it's underway, not just years down the road when everything is setup and going, here is what life looks like for us at this moment in time...
Our Current Setup In These Beginning Stages of Our Homestead Journey
Yes - we are living in a wilderness. And it is incredible!
A county twice the size of Rhode Island, with not a single traffic light of any kind, and 3 people per square mile.
No light pollution makes for the most incredible night sky, and being nestled in between the North Cascade Mountains to the west and the Rocky Mountains to the east makes for superior wildlife observation (and landscape inspiration).
After waiting and waiting, we're finally here. And to be honest, right now this feels like enough.
FULL-TIME RV LIVING
One of the obstacles of living here is that rentals are hard to come across. I mean - very few and far between. This is probably true of most remote areas.
The solution to this problem came through community, through established friendships.
In the Autumn of 2016, Eric began working on a landscaping project for a man and woman who live in the area. Long story short - we all became wonderful friends, and years later here we are, on their land. It is their RV I sit typing to you in right now.
This was offered to us months ago, and we debated for a while about holding out for a rental. A place to put all of our belongings in, decorate as we pleased, and all of the other comforts that come along with having your own place.
But the more we mulled this over in our head, the more reasonable and attractive their offer became. Saving money is, after all, an important part of us taking the next step to buy land. And living in the RV, with a sort of work-trade arrangement, allows us to save money that would otherwise be spent on monthly rent.
This is one of the reasons I don't recommend rushing into a new area just because it sounds nice. There's a lot of work that needs to be done (again - unless you have a lot of money) beforehand.
We have lived in this area on and off since 2016, which has given us time to understand it better, meet people, make connections, and so forth.
Our current living situation came from a connection that took time to establish, as good friendships do.
I would also caution against moving someplace remote without having solid relationships nearby, because even the most rugged individualist hermits can get flat tires (on really remote mountain roads in an area with NO cell phone reception of any kind) or acute illnesses and need support.
If you've never really been in those situations, in a truly desolate area, I don't expect you to actually internalize that there are indeed times when you will need other people. And they will need you.
I used to think - living in rural Kentucky & North Carolina - that I knew what "isolated" meant. I thought if I came upon bad times, I'd be fine - build a fire and wait it out, walk someplace, take care of myself... now I know this is romantic and unrealistic thinking.
Until you've been someplace like this area, trust me - you don't actually grasp the words desolate or isolated. (And of course I have no idea what isolation truly means in the sense of the Alaskan bush, or the Siberian taiga, because I've yet to experience it on that level... it's all a spectrum).
These are whole new levels of personal responsibility. But even that won't always take care of you.
My point: Relationships are important for long-term stability in an area. Even a vast wilderness.
Our RV setup is cozy and we are so grateful for the opportunity to be here in this heart-home, our beloved northwest wilderness, working toward the next steps of the overall journey.
A FOCUS ON MAKING AND SAVING MONEY
And while we're here in the RV, we're both working hard to grow our incomes and save as much as possible to buy land.
I work online and spend a lot of my day on client projects, my own projects, reaching out and responding to new potential clients, and more.
Eric has been hired by local folks as well as businesses in the nearest town (population: ~1,000) for landscaping projects, which he is fulfilling before going back on the road truck driving. He hopes to find a local truck driving position that pays well, but if that doesn't happen, we're prepared for the fact that he may have to go over the road again for a while. These are all just necessary steps in the overall path to design the lifestyle we want to live.
We were going to buy land as soon as possible, but we've now decided to chill out, slow down a little, save more, and wait for land to come available in our favorite wilderness areas, places around here that feel best to us.
By springtime, if nothing has come available in those areas, we'll have saved even more money and will be ready to buy many acres outright.
A note on goal-setting:
If you have long-term goals like we do without having a clearly defined budget that you actually abide by, it's likely those dreams will just remain dreams. (This is such an important topic, I'll probably write a blog post specifically about budgeting to meet your goals soon).
KEEPING AN EYE ON LAND FOR SALE IN SPECIFIC AREAS
Throughout our time in this region, we've honed in on areas we love the most, places we imagine our homestead being.
Right now, we have two primary areas within the county that we're watching.
As we save money, we also keep an eye out for land in those areas.
The longer we're able to save, the more prepared we'll be when that land does become available.
This is definitely an exercise in patience and restraint since we're itching to have our own land and to start building.
Sometimes getting to the next step can make a person impulsive, then in hindsight the action wasn't really the best idea and didn't produce the greatest outcome. Being a naturally impulsive and spontaneous person, I've had to learn through a lot of trial and error that sometimes just being still and not making a move is actually the best move.
Ah life, you teacher ;)
WORKING ON PROJECTS
So while we save money and explore the wilderness and work hard, we also find time for fun projects!
Some of these projects contribute to our future and others are just for sheer pleasure.
There isn't much I can think of that is more enjoyable than being inside our little RV home, way out here in the middle of nowhere, as the blue light of dusk overlays the landscape, and taking a book or an embroidery outside, sitting in the chair, listening to birds settle in for the night, watching deer graze, the pink alpenglow lingering at the tops of the mountains across the horizon, and the sound of wind moving through the heavy evergreen forests.
A few nights ago, we both sat outside reading at just this time of day. Before coming in, we did a lovely little mindfulness exercise by being quiet and really feeling the wind on our skin and the sounds of everything, all bringing us into the present moment. It felt so soothing to the mind that we sat there much longer, in silence, so long that we both observed the brightest star in the sky disappear behind a tree as the earth turned...
How fortunate we are, even now - no land of our own, no home of our own, uncertain about many things - but together, here in a place we love so much, allowing ourselves to take the path less traveled and to go deeper and deeper into existence.
Thanks so much for reading! We have a lot planned in the months to come, so we'd love if you'd subscribe to the blog to follow along on this journey and all of the things we'll be getting into out here.
Please leave a comment letting us know what brought you here - homesteading? Wilderness living? Or something else? We'd love for you to feel this blog is a conversation, not a monologue. So, please, say hello :)
Talk with you soon,
This is a space to share glimpses into daily life here in the Washington wilderness - full of nesting & nomading, & forging deeper relationships to self, to old ways, & to the natural world.
I write about:
our homestead journey
health & wellness
wild food foraging
DIY & craft projects
making a living online from home (or anywhere)
my own recipes from scratch
and much more