The concept of strategic relocation is not new, but it’s recently become more popular, as more and more liberty-loving folks get tired of being crammed into crowded public transportation or spending hours on the road in the daily snail-pace commute. For many, the thought of leaving everything can be a bit terrifying, and if you have a family who doesn’t want to leave, you might be thinking that your Big Move is more of a pipe dream than a real possibility, even though you see the death grip on your everyday freedoms tightening by the day. Here’s the truth: it can be done. And yes, you can be amazingly happy in a new location that is more conducive to the type of life you want to live.
Just like changing your physical condition requires time, discipline, and effort, so does changing your permanent residence. Add to that a lot of planning, and you’ll see yet another reason why a lot of people don’t do it. Before we get into how to effectively and efficiently plan such a move, however, let’s look at why you might choose that path — or at least, why you’re probably interested in the idea. Over the next few days we’ll go through the process of aligning your thought process, getting down to brass tacks, and even what you should be doing when you get to your new location.
Maybe you live in a high-crime neighborhood. Contrary to what society will tell you these days, moving because you don’t want to deal with crime, homeless camps, drug addicts, or other social problems and vices does not make you a racist. If you want a safer environment for your family, then moving might be your best bet. When I first purchased my home in a quiet lake community north of Seattle, it was a great environment for my kid to grow up, with lots of opportunities. A few short years later, within a five block radius, there was a convicted rapist, a chop shop, a meth house, two shootings, and a hotbed of criminal activity on the next corner. That’s not counting the commute, which more than doubled in time due to exploding population. It was time to go, and I don’t regret making that move one bit. It was hard — and it continues to be. For us, it’s worth it, and we would never even consider leaving our little farm.
There is a long list of reasons why moving out of the city is an excellent choice; if you’re already considering it, then you’ve probably already thought of at least some of these:
- Traffic/Long commutes
- Nosy neighbors
- Inability to become truly sustainable
- Lack of room for storing preps or other necessities
- Higher prices and cost of living
- Draconian HOAs and suburban “beautification” organizations
- Gun laws
- Overregulation, ordinances, taxes, levies, and all the related idiocy
- Wanting to get your kids out of public schools
- Lack of like-minded attitudes or political/religious ideals
Another thing you might be dealing with in your area is the locale’s natural disaster type. Everything is a trade, and while preparing for natural disaster is somewhat the same regardless of where you live, each area has its own specific challenges that you might not be okay with.
If you live in an urban or even suburban area, you might also find that you’re having a hard time finding people who believe as you do, whether that be your worldview, politics, or religious belief. Like it or not, harassment is a very real thing—and not in the ways the media would have you believe. Being liberty-minded, religious, or even just the wrong color in certain areas can get you in big trouble—and that goes for anyone. Regardless of what race you are, there are places you aren’t welcome.
The reasons to move are many, and the bottom line is that you don’t need to justify those reasons to anyone. What matters is what’s best for you and your family, and if that means pulling stakes, then so be it. If you’re set on moving, let’s talk about how to make it happen.
Choosing a Location
Once you’ve outlined your reasons for moving (thereby outlining what you’d need in a new location), you’ll need to figure out where to go. Do you just move to a different neighborhood? Out of the city into a nearby suburb? Do you stay in the same state but move to a rural locale? Or do you go all out and move to a different part of the country?
A lot of this will depend on what your reasons for moving are. If state gun laws are an issue for you, for instance, then you’ll probably need to move out of state. If you just want to be able to see your kids go to a less violent or better school, you may be able to get away with just moving to a different neighborhood. If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at homesteading, you’ll be looking at states where that’s being done successfully.
If you use social media, you can look at groups that are local to the area you’re interested in moving to, to get a feel for the culture. Read their local paper, maybe even pull up the radio frequencies for their local police and fire and listen to the type of calls they’re dealing with on a daily basis. Are they getting a lot of overdoses? Shootings? What area of the town or county are the calls coming from? Are they places you can avoid? Is the crime location-based (such as a specific block or business) or is it widespread all over the county? If you notice over the course of a few weeks of paying attention that a specific street gets a lot of calls, or maybe the cops get called to a certain bar for fights, you can avoid that problem by simply not going to that location.
Look up the laws in your proposed new locale and see what’s considered legal and what’s not. You may very well choose to ignore certain laws in your quest for more freedom, but you should at least be able to make an informed decision about what you’re choosing, and what the potential consequences are so you can mitigate any potential fallout.
Check the county zoning laws and building permit requirements, too. One person I know found the perfect off-grid home—only to find that it was sitting just on the wrong side of the county line, in a location where the county wanted permits for everything and lots of taxes and fees. They chose to pass on that house and went to a county where there are no building permits, and no one cares what they do on their land.
Before choosing a location, you can also pull up all manner of data on everything from average income and education level to demographics, home prices, economic growth, and anything else you’d like to know. It all depends on what kinds of information you seek, and whether you’re willing to do the research. You’re never going to find the perfect place; you can, however, find something that fits the non-negotiables. Check out the local weather too, and keep in mind what will be expected in that area. Are you choosing a place with hard winters? Super-hot summers? Higher altitude? Before you throw out the idea of living in a place with rough winter, for instance, keep in mind that there are positives to everything. Snow runoff, for instance, can help you water your garden months later during a drought if you’ve thought ahead in terms of collection. And after the busyness of spring and summer, you’ll look forward to winter, when you have a freezer full of meat, shelves and root cellar packed with food, enough firewood to keep the house warm, and lots of time to work on indoor projects or study new skills in preparation for spring thaw.
One more thing—be aware of any tourist attractions, natural wonders, or other curiosities in your area. They draw crowds and everything that goes with them. You might have your heart set on living in the mountains of Wyoming—only to later realize that you moved too close to Yellowstone National Park and now have tens of thousands of people clogging your local area for half the year.
Taking the Next Step
Once you’ve decided on a location (or at least narrowed it down to 2), it’s time to talk funding. Look at average rents/mortgage payment amounts. You may need to rent a smaller place until you can buy. You may want a bit of land to raise animals. You may choose to live remotely or in a small town near a larger area. If your ultimate goal is to get as off-grid as possible, understand that you’re not going to want to go directly from an urban or suburban environment directly to a place where you have no electricity and have to haul water. You and your family will get frustrated very fast, and you’ll be tempted to move back. Start small; rent a place with a well and power.
Above all, be realistic about how it’ll be. The first year is really, really hard. The second year is a bit easier but it’s still difficult. Don’t be tempted to show up and assume you’ll be able to be fully sustainable within a year. You’ll learn some hard lessons; those lessons, however, will not only make you stronger, but you’ll find that you’re able to adapt better for the next situation. You’ll learn to use what you have instead of running to the store for everything. Depending on where you end up, you may find that certain times of the year require you to prepare, or forego certain activities in favor of making your life easier later. You’ll learn that at least part of each season is spent preparing for the next one, or getting done various tasks that need doing. There’s a routine to it, however, and over time you’ll also find that you are emotionally attached and invested in your homestead. It’s something you’ve worked on and sweated over, and it helps you survive. If you can find your spot in a state or area that is also more liberty-minded than where you are, you’re doubly blessed.
If you’ve read this far and aren’t interested in taking the leap of faith, that’s fine too — there are those who believe that freedom can be found anywhere. Ultimately, it’s your choice, and you don’t have to defend that to anyone either. For those who can smell the fresh air and imagine a different life for yourself and your family, however, stay tuned. Tomorrow we’ll talk about where you’ll find the money to make it happen.