Modern Homesteading First Steps: A Journey Towards Freedom - by Evan DeMarco
In the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, as the world grappled with unprecedented uncertainty, Janna and I found ourselves drawn to a peculiar form of entertainment—zombie movies. I joking told her one night that watchings these movies was research for the pending zombie apocalypse. Little did we know that these tales of apocalyptic chaos would plant the seeds for a journey towards modern homesteading, a path toward true freedom.
The Quest for Freedom
The first and foremost goal of becoming a modern homesteader is the pursuit of freedom. Freedom from the grip of grocery stores, power companies, and water suppliers. This newfound liberty is attainable in the heart of a bustling city or on a sprawling 120-acre Tennessee landscape. It's about breaking free from antiquated and crumbling infrastructures and forging a self-reliant path. So, how did we begin this journey towards modern homesteading, and how can you take your first steps?
1. Understand Your 'Why'
Our journey began with a series of heartfelt conversations about what we envisioned for the future—for ourselves and my daughter. Did we see ourselves thriving off the grid, surrounded by open land, or did we yearn to remain connected to the city's pulse? Ultimately, the decision to embrace the wide-open spaces of Tennessee was deeply rooted in our 'why.' Your own 'why' is personal and unique, and it's the North Star that will guide your modern homesteading journey.
The concept of 'why' is something we borrowed from Simon Sinek's book "Start with Why." It's a simple yet profound idea. Understanding your 'why' means knowing the purpose, cause, or belief that inspires you. It's the reason you get out of bed in the morning, the driving force behind your actions. For us, it was the desire for a life of meaning, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. We wanted to break free from the hustle and bustle of city life, the dependence on supermarkets, and the unreliable grip of public utilities.
Our 'why' was a vision of a future where we were connected to the land, living off its bounty while treading lightly upon it. It was about creating a legacy for our daughter, teaching her the value of self-reliance and environmental stewardship. It was the dream of a life where the work we put in directly translated into the quality of life we experienced—a life where we were in control of our destiny.
2. Grasp the Nuances of Capitalism
Modern homesteading doesn't mean reverting to a barter system where you trade eggs and goats for your neighbor's daughter. It means understanding how your career and the need to generate income intersect with your plans. If you have the flexibility to telecommute, fantastic! Your search for a homestead location might revolve around the availability of robust fiber optic lines. But if you find yourself chained to an office desk, it's time to strategize your transition towards greater freedom. Regardless of your specific situation, diversifying your income sources is a fundamental principle of modern homesteading.
The Role of Capitalism in Modern Homesteading
Capitalism, often a buzzword associated with corporate greed, plays a pivotal role in modern homesteading. It's not about rejecting capitalism; it's about leveraging it to achieve your homesteading dreams.
In the modern world, money is a vital tool for securing the resources you need to build and maintain your homestead. It's the means to acquire land, construct shelters, invest in renewable energy sources, and purchase the tools and supplies necessary for self-sufficiency.
Understanding capitalism within the context of modern homesteading involves two key aspects:
- Generating Income: Modern homesteading requires a reliable source of income. While some fortunate individuals can fully embrace off-grid living and generate income solely from their land, many need to balance homesteading with remote or on-site work. If you're among those who can telecommute, you have a significant advantage. Your primary limiting factor in choosing a homestead location becomes the availability of good internet connectivity. Research and select an area with robust fiber optic or high-speed internet access. This ensures you can maintain your career while transitioning to a self-sufficient lifestyle.
- Diversifying Revenue Streams: Relying solely on one source of income can be risky, especially when you're striving for independence from the conventional grid. Modern homesteaders are adept at diversifying their revenue streams. They explore income-generating opportunities that align with their values and lifestyle. These may include selling surplus produce, homemade goods, or crafts. Diversification not only enhances financial stability but also aligns with the self-sufficiency ethos of modern homesteading.
Understanding and navigating capitalism are essential aspects of modern homesteading. It's not about abandoning the financial system but using it strategically to achieve your goals.
3. Create and Execute Your Plan
Once you've clarified your 'why' and devised a strategy to sustain your dream, it's time to roll up your sleeves and start building. Our website offers an array of tools to assist you in breaking down each step of this process. However, the most critical advice we can offer is to find a pace that suits you. Rushing might burn you out, while moving too slowly might impede progress. Set realistic expectations for every phase of your modern homesteading journey.
Creating Your Modern Homesteading Plan
Creating your modern homesteading plan is like crafting a roadmap to your dream lifestyle. It involves setting clear objectives, defining milestones, and charting a course towards self-sufficiency and freedom. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you create and execute your plan:
Step 1: Define Your Goals
Start by outlining your specific goals for modern homesteading. What does self-sufficiency mean to you? Do you want to grow your own food, generate your own energy, or live off the grid entirely? Be as detailed as possible. Your goals will serve as the foundation for your plan.
Step 2: Assess Your Resources
Take stock of your current resources, including your financial situation, skillset, and available time. This assessment will help you determine your starting point and identify any gaps that need to be filled.
Step 3: Research and Learn
Modern homesteading requires a diverse set of skills and knowledge. Dive into educational resources, books, online courses, and local workshops that cover topics such as gardening, animal husbandry, renewable energy, and sustainable building practices. Learning is a continuous process in the world of modern homesteading.
Step 4: Choose Your Location
Selecting the right location is paramount. Whether you're searching for a rural property or adapting your urban space, consider factors like climate, soil quality, zoning regulations, and proximity to essential services. For remote work, prioritize areas with reliable high-speed internet access.
Step 5: Develop a Budget
Create a detailed budget that outlines the costs associated with your modern homesteading venture. This should encompass land purchase or rental expenses, infrastructure development, equipment, and ongoing operational costs. Be prepared for unexpected expenses by building a financial cushion.
Step 6: Build Your Infrastructure
With your goals, resources, and location in mind, start building the infrastructure necessary for your modern homestead. This may include constructing energy-efficient shelters, setting up garden beds, installing renewable energy systems, and establishing water collection and filtration systems.
Step 7: Cultivate Self-Sufficiency
Begin growing your own food, raising animals, and generating your own energy. As you gain experience, you'll become more self-reliant, reducing your dependence on external systems.
Step 8: Adapt and Evolve
Modern homesteading is a dynamic journey. Be prepared to adapt and evolve your plan as you encounter challenges and opportunities. Learning from your experiences and adjusting your strategies is key to long-term success.
4. Embrace the Learning Process
Becoming a successful modern homesteader isn't about reaching the destination; it's about savoring the journey, warts and all. Mistakes are an inherent part of the learning process. The more you embrace these missteps and the joy of learning from them, the richer your experience becomes. Remember, the ultimate goal is freedom. Our pioneer ancestors earned their independence through unyielding hard work, grit, and determination. Technology has paved a smoother path, but the learning curve remains. Cherish the process, and the journey becomes the destination.