It can be exciting moving to a rural or more sparsely populated area, while at the same time it is normal to feel apprehensive especially if moving from a heavily populated area. As with anything, there are good points and there are of course, bad points, nothing is what it seems however, until you have experienced it firsthand.
The Journey Begins
On December 22nd, 2006 I was awoken by my dog. One of the biggest fears of all homeowners was now a reality for me, my house was on fire. We escaped, thanks to my dog, but the damage exceeded 100,000 dollars, and the dollar loss was only a small part, the emotional toll cannot be calculated.
Reality hurts, and I was not prepared, and who could be in this situation I thought. Disasters do strike, and is there anything any of us can do. That was my thinking at the time anyway. What can we do to be ready, why didn’t I do more. The questions haunt my nights and the answers, well they eluded me at the time, but the questions needed to be answered, there had to be a solution.
Time passed, and the impact lessened somewhat, I still had my job, so all was not a total loss is what I kept telling myself, but then another nightmare intruded in 2010. Reality once again reared its ugly head, and I was not ready.
I suddenly lost my job, and the prospects of finding another were bleak, and I would soon enough find myself on the long hellish highway toward foreclosure. No job, and now my home probably headed for the auction block as well, what to do, what to do was the question I asked myself repeatedly.
The first thing I did however, when I lost my job was to purchase two years of food, freeze dried food to be exact. If nothing else we would be able to eat if I couldn’t find work. The harsh reality is that disaster can strike at anytime. Disasters are not some abstract event that only happens to others. It can happen in your own home, next door and down the block. It happens and it happened to me.
That day I decided I was going to start prepping, because it was not a matter of if anymore, but simply a matter of when, the next disaster intruded upon our lives, and I needed to be prepared this time.
You Have To Face Reality
I signed up for unemployment, it was a matter of survival after all, When unemployment ran out I refused to sign up for food stamps. I sold off 90 percent of what I had left as far as belongings, keeping just a few essentials, instead of asking for welfare. This kept the heat and the lights on and allowed me to gather the daily basics, for a time anyway.
I asked for help and my church answered in the best way possible. They offered me food, which helped drastically. However, this was a wakeup call for me. I went and asked for
God’s help and he answered, and because of my need at the time I realized I too needed to offer my help, so that’s when I started prepforshtf.com.
I needed a way to help others, to get the word out, to let people know you have to be ready, you have to prepare, and that disasters come in all shapes and sizes and you cannot be caught off guard as I was.
Being unemployed left me more time to think, and I realized rather abruptly that this nation is in trouble, we have problems serious ones. Too many of us are so caught up in our daily lives we really don’t see the forest for the trees. We have problems in this country and it doesn’t take much pondering to see just how bad it really is, just raise your heads up, and you will see.
An 18 trillion dollar debt, mass shootings it seems are common place now, civil unrest, a volatile financial market, a nuclear North Korea and terrorist organizations taking over whole countries. Iran is doing all it can to go nuclear and the list of problems goes on, and the ones listed are just the ones on a national or worldwide scale. What about the problems within communities that only those living there know about.
A New Life
All this thinking led me to one conclusion, I cannot live in a heavily populated area, I cannot be confined, trapped if you will, when the SHTF. We had to get out, and no better time to do so than right now I thought. I had become a Prepper and as a Prepper we recognize the threat and we develop countermeasures, my plan right now called for us to leave this metropolitan area, and so we did.
Foreclosures were at an all time high so I had time, and I took advantage of this time. The courts were backed up, backed up three years in fact, and so I had three years of not paying rent, so I used this to my advantage. The Prepper mindset, find a way to use a situation to benefit you, to help you survive.
We could no longer afford to live in the state of Connecticut. The politicians in my opinion took advantage of the horrific Sandy Hook shooting. They demanded undefined action from whom no one knows, but it fell on the shoulders of the citizens. The political class, from here to Washington used this event to try and take away more and more of our freedoms, so it was an easy decision, well maybe not easy, but the events unfolding made it easier lets say, to let the bank have my house. Then we planned and we saved and we planned some more.
It was hard work, we sacrificed and lived like hermits for three years, but survival is all about sustaining life by virtually any means possible. Once we stopped the movies out, the dinners out and listed exactly what we needed daily to survive, my fiancée and I realized, we can do this.
Where to Go Now That the Decision to Leave Was Made
We looked south to the Appalachian Mountains. Homes there were considerably less expensive than here, but that did not mean they were of lesser quality or size. The market was simply cheaper, because it was not a heavily populated area. People were not rushing there to buy a house, so the demand was less, and thus, the prices were more reasonable, and as a bonus the taxes were much less as well.
As I said we took advantage of those three stressful years. We saved a sizable sum that was used as a down payment on a new house, a new home. My fiancée had good credit, and as you can imagine, mine was wrecked by this point, but hers thankfully was in good standing and this allowed us to obtain a mortgage, we were blessed indeed.
Five Years Later and Here We Are
We bugged-out and made it to a rural area. The process took time and the only way to do it is to begin, it takes commitment, and it sometimes takes a wakeup call to motivate some of us.
I want to share some of my experiences, share the pros and cons of moving to a rural area. However, for me the pros definitively outweigh the cons, and I am not here to tell you what you should and should not do, you have to make that decision on your own, but it is my hope that I can help make the decision easier whatever it may be.
The Move from Connecticut to North Carolina Things to Ponder
1.) In Connecticut I was paying 4,800 dollars a year in taxes on a 1,400 square foot home sitting on .23 acres. In North Carolina I pay 800 dollars a year on a 1,600 square foot home sitting on four acres.
As with many mortgages the taxes are paid into an escrow account via the mortgage payment, so the dollar amount yearly for taxes, for example, may be divided by 12 and added to the payment each month. The dollar amount being spent each month on taxes was dramatically reduced in NC.
2.) From city water to well water means I do not have a water bill each month, and I know exactly what is in my water by simply testing it as I see fit, no more fluoride, for example, without my consent.
I do recommend that you test or have your well tested on a regular basis, so you can take steps before it gets out of hand. There are things you have to do to maintain your well water quality.
3.) Automobile insurance is cheaper in a rural area generally, so fewer vehicles in your way as you travel about means cheaper insurance rates.
4.) My electricity bill here in NC is half of what it was in CT and I do not use any less, the rates are simply cheaper in this area. I went from an average of $127.00 a month to $86.00 a month.
5.) Propane while it has gone down nationwide is usually cheaper in less populated areas, and so while propane was 6 dollars a gallon last winter in CT, according to the service company here in NC the highest it went last year was 2.75 a gallon.
6.) Privacy and a certain amount of solitude. In CT I could literally spit and hit my neighbor’s house as I stood in my driveway, but here my nearest neighbor is 1,000 yards away, plenty of room and privacy for chickens, goats, and gardens.
1.) Emergency services will not be as responsive as they would be in the city, and so you may have to take care of certain problems yourself. You have to be prepared for this, be prepared to take care of yourself.
2.) Doctors or a single doctor, as is the case here is 45 minutes away and if you wanted to see another one for whatever reason you would have to drive another hour to an hour and a half.
3.) My mailbox is 1/4 a mile from my front door, this may or may not be a con for some, but there it is, good or bad.
4.) No garbage pickup, I have to haul my own trash to the dump, which is quite a distance away, so again you have to plan for this, because you simply cannot let it gather on your property. Compost what you can and use a burn barrel if possible and if allowed, but you will still have garbage that has to be taken to a dump station.
5.) More property to maintain, mowing, trimming, and general upkeep. The mowing alone here on a riding mower takes me five hours. You will likely be more physically active when you move to a rural area, and this can be more of a positive than negative for some people, because of the health benefits, but if you have any physical impairments or lack certain skills, you must consider this, and it can become a con quickly if you do not plan.
The financial burden can be considerable if you have to buy a riding mower or any mower at all, have to buy a chainsaw, wood cutting tools, or buy other tools and materials for gardening and raising livestock. Plan and budget for this, and make it part of the decision making.
6.) You may have to maintain your own road or driveway, and to keep it lighted for security would be your financial burden. You cannot just cut a road in a half mile and expect you can get back in forth during heavy rains that may wash it out or during ice and snow storms, not to mention the dust if not graveled properly. You need to be able to move a tree if it falls across the road, no state employees to call to come and get it moved for you.
7.) Predators, you have to look out for snakes, spiders, coyotes, wolves, bear, and wild boar and some I may not even be aware of that could be lurking.
8.) Jobs can be scarce in a rural area, so self-employment is highly recommended, because the jobs if available will likely pay less, but you would have a lower cost of living as an offset. You will have to decide if working a lower paying, less quality job to live a simpler life, is what you want.
9.) Internet is available but not as fast, and Wi-Fi is hard to find if home service is disrupted. Streaming is generally out of the question, so save some money and cancel your Netflix before moving to the country. Internet can be limited, so it has to be used wisely when you do have it, and in some cases, you may have to pay based on usage.
10) Hungry and do not feel like cooking, don’t expect someone will deliver it hot and fresh in 30 minutes or less. Take-outs may not be available and if there is someone that delivers you may not like the choice.
11.) You lose power you lose water, unless you have a manual set-up or a backup power system to pump water. A private well will need water pumps and usually they are 220 volts. You need a backup system for pumping or keep a substantial stockpile on hand or build a cistern that is filled from runoff or a natural spring.
Certain decisions are born out of tragedy and others are carefully contemplated, but regardless of how you arrived at the decisions, once made, you have even more decisions to make, and there are questions, you do not even know to ask until you have actually moved, and then the adventure really begins.