Self-Reliance, Anti-Social Behavior and Why Moving Out to the Boonies May Not Be Right for You

Most people in the modern preparedness community weren’t born into it. For most of us, there was some sort of “Ah-Ha!” or “Wake Up!” moment that helped set us down the path to becoming preppers and modern survivalists.


Shortly after having my own “awakening” I decided that my main goal was going to be to one day buy a huge piece of property out in the middle of nowhere and lead a completely self-reliant lifestyle away from anyone and everyone other than my family and maybe a couple of farmers down the dirt road from my super-awesome, self-contained prepper homestead.


I’d be completely on my own, I’d harvest all my own food, drill a well, collect rainwater and power everything with solar and wind. Who cares if the rest of the world is going to hell? I’ll be just fine!


Well now that I’ve gotten a little older, hopefully a little wiser (and in turn a little lazier!) I’m quickly coming to realize that the rural homestead dream isn’t really what I’m looking for out of life and it certainly isn’t what my family is looking for either.


In today’s post we’re going to talk about the rural homestead dream that most preppers have or have had in the past, how that lifestyle could actually lead some of us to be even unhappier than we are now and why that kind of lifestyle isn’t for all of us.


Before the hate mail rolls in….


First and foremost, let’s get something out of the way. If you TRULY want to get out of the city or suburbs, buy a big piece of land and carve out your own self-reliant homestead….that’s awesome. I commend you and I hope that dream comes true for you as quickly as possible….IF that’ll make you live a happier life.


The point of today’s post isn’t to dissuade anyone from that lifestyle at all or to say that preppers are pre-disposed as being anti-social; the point is to (hopefully) get a few people to think about the rural homestead choice a little deeper, help you build a real community and maybe even prevent someone from making a lifestyle choice that they may regret later.


(So please… no hate mail!!)


Do you really want to be a homesteader or do you want to get away from people?


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  1. Charles

    I read your report. It has a lot of wise words for those; who want to go and homestead in the sticks. My advise for those people is to start small and work up; like raising chickens and having a garden. Then add a little each time as time goes on. I know from experience, it is hard work. The ones without skills, learn new skills. It is hard and don’t stop learning. I hope this helps.

    1. Ready4ItAll

      I agree Charles. Homesteading isnt just something you decide to “do” one day. Its a lifestlye thats drastically different from “normal” people. It takes time to get acclimated to it if you’re not from a homesteading background. Raising backyard chickens, gardening….all great first steps if you think you might be interested in full-on homesteading one day.

  2. Scott

    Not hate mail, but certainly disagreement. I think the issue is more clear cut than you are making it. As much as I hate most of the stuff on Doomsday Preppers, one thing comes through loud and clear: What do you think is going to happen? Yes, too many times they talk about less probable events, at least IMHO, and their solutions are often..well, interesting. That being said, we/you/they have a concern/fear/whatever that something bad is going to happen.

    Try this. Create a dial with 5 positions.
    Position 1 – Things are kinda rocky right now, but everything is going to get better and we will all be rich and famous.
    Position 2 – Things are kinda rocky right now, but they will improve. You probably won’t be rich or famous, but life will be good again.
    Position 3- Status quo. Things are kinda rocky right now, but there will be small, gradual improvements. It won’t be terrible.
    Position 4 – Things are kinda rocky right now, but they will get worse. Think 1929.
    Position 5 – Zombie Apocalypse. Ok, not zombies, but it will be bad. Mad Max, beginning of the new Dark Ages, something.

    Most people, but especially preppers, at least have a feeling about where they think the needle will go. So do you, or you wouldn’t be a prepper. If you think the needle will land on 1,2 or 3, you probably don’t need to do anything. Why prep? But anything greater than 3 starts getting hairy. Even if there is no zombie apocalypse, having a place to grow food is a plus. And there will be more crime and social disruption in populated areas as the government tries to keep things from getting out of hand (best case scenario). The further right you go on the meter, the more difficult it is to survive in urban locations. Think Venezuela and rioting. Think Argentina and de facto rationing. Think power shortages in both places. Think about declining jobs and labor force in the US. Think inflation in food and fuel prices, like we are currently seeing but getting worse. 4.0 on the meter is not unrealistic. 3.5 is too likely. At some point, we have to consider survival over happiness.

    So, yes, a farm or homestead is harder work, but it can/should be a regular food supply. More isolated, but we probably are not going to be Ted Kozinsky or lord of the flies. We are more likely to find people who already practicing some form or self sufficiency in those locations. You don’t find a lot of them in my neighborhood.

    Last thing: Like the weather, everyone talks about getting your friends and neighbors on board. How’s that working out, actually? I would like to see someone actually get numbers on the number of converts that have signed up. Right now, an estimated 3 million people are preppers. That’s 1%. 1. One. Even if you double that number, heck, multiply it by 3, it’s still not enough to make your suburb work in a bad situation. Trying to persuade people to doing anything more than getting ready for a week long power outage gets you labeled an extremist. So most of us walk the social tightrope by prepping as anonymously as possible. We do the best we can, and interact with people without talking about prepping. Our bug out locations/homesteads/whatever are for hunting, or vacationing. .

    1. Ready4ItAll

      thank you for your reply scott. Ive actually had the prepper talk with a few people I know IRL and was able to convince a couple to at least start taking some more practical steps towards preparedness. Another guy ive known for a while, turns out he’s a full-on prepper already and neither of us had any idea about the other. Obviously there are several people that ive talked to that think prepping is pretty out there, but if you explain it rationally, the only real comeback they can have is either “you’re right” or “yeah, I should probably do that”. No one can deny natural disasters, economic inflation etc etc. Also, when I talk to people about prepping, I actually never use the word “prepping” or “prepper” at all.

      Also, being a prepper isnt a requirement for me to associate with someone or to even be close with someone. My closest friends are very much not preppers. Ive tried, but they have their head in the sand just like I used to. Just because they havent woke up yet doesnt make them any less of a friend to me.

  3. Doc Ock

    I realized I have been a prepper of some sort for many years now. My “Ah-Ha” moment was Hurricane Katrina. I did not lose everything in the storm because I was prepared and didn’t realize I was a “prepper” until afterwards. I own a piece of rural property and have wanted to homestead for a long time but getting older and with a bad back, I realize that homesteading is not right for me. I do know what it is like to be the only one in my family and my neighborhood who is a “prepper.” My wife still thinks I am a little crazy but she sure loved it when we went through Hurricane Issac a couple of years ago and we had the AC blowing and the refrigerator working while the rest of the neighborhood was without electricity! Now she has even gotten into gardening and canning our own food.
    I would love to homestead my place to get away from people who are not like me but instead I teach my children about prepping and pass on my skills to them. Rick your article was home run for me, Thanks! Keep up the good work.

  4. doug

    Hey Scott , great post ! Well I’ve realized since I was in my early twenty’s, that there are a lot of ‘Idealistic’ people out there and my older sister was one of them . She lived in a dream world where all was grand and tomorrow would be even grander ! Good things would always be coming her way , then reality would strike and try to knock her down, but after a few months she’d climb right back on that Unicorn Rainbow and continue her dreams ! I was out hunting ,hiking , camping , fishing and cave exploring and thought that her world really sucked ! Recently ,I viewed a video of ‘Living Off-Grid ( on U-Tube) of someone who tried this ( moving to the boonies) and believe it or not , it was Les Stroud ,of’ SURVIVORMAN ‘ fame !! Someone put in comments after the video that before he was completely done with it , he packed up everything and moved back to suburbs ! Now I don’t know if its true or not ,but I for one , would be disappointed in him ,if it was true ! Hey , everything you read on the internet is TRUE , RIGHT !?? Why does some people like to LIE ! LOL ! Oh well , back to prepping my five cans of beans per month !! Good Luck to ALL !!

  5. Snake Plisken

    Rick, this post really speaks to me. Well thought out and pragmatic. We’re on the same page in many ways.

    Myself, I’m not interested in the hardwork and isolation of living out in the boondocks even though the community I live in is surrounded by soy bean and corn fields. We do have supposed civilization encroaching on us though because there is a Mickey D’s and a BKing moving in 2 miles from my home.

    I prep because it’s a hobby. I have finally become a fairly decent gardner and enjoy getting my hands dirty whether it’s working in the garden or turning wrenches. For me, the stress of my fast paced job recedes when I’m working on a project in my half acre of my property. I like being around my neighbors.

    I like the idea of being self sufficient and that gives me peace of mind in a crisis ( around here it’s tough winters and tornados ).

    I’m also a freak about learning new prepper stuff and re purposing things w/o being a hoarder. It’s interesting and challenging at the same time.

    Always enjoy your posts.

    Best to all,

    Snake Plisken

  6. Blue

    Great post. I have been looking at rual areas for homesteading for a few years now as my retirement plan. I retire from the MC in a year. My family – all of them, has brought concerns to me is one form or another over the past few months about our “final” move to a farm. It comes down to what they think I want and what it most likely will be. I think they feel that it will be acres upon acres of farm land with cows and chickens and pigs and goats. My idea is a 2-3 acre joint where I can raise a few chickens, a goat or two for weed control/milk/meat, some bunnies for meat and some crops – mostly as a hobby. In practice, we have started our garden and so far all hands have been on deck for seeding and watering… In all I think it came down to my 5 year old’s perspective.
    We were fishing last weekend and he asked “if we live on a farm, will I still be able to see people?”. Seems a strange question, but I know that my mom and dad both grew up on farms – but they had plenty of siblings to play with. My two that are still at home are 7 years apart. Could I actualy harm my kids by pulling them away from society? Or would it be best to allow them to know what society is as a whole and for them to make their own oppinion? My Dad was a “survivalist” and one of the most skilled woodsmen I have ever known… But I grew up in the ‘burbs of St. Louis. I didn’t know what my Dad knew until he was a leader in Boy Scouts (and Girl Scouts – seriously, you could keep the guy out of the woods for more than a week..). In the end, all I want to do is hand down the knowledge that my Dad taught me to my boys, and my daughter, if she would call once in a while.
    I bet I can do it just like he did, in the suburbs, forest adjacent and I think, after moving all over the country for the past 20 years with my family, I kind of owe them a bit of “normal”. Plus, look at all the sheeple we can convert – it’s gonna be sweet, we can have canning parties, start a neighborhood patrol……….

    1. Mike Spears

      Your son asked you a question while fishing. YOU ARE MY HERO, you have your head on straight and are doing what is best for your family. DUDE, you are already there. Your daughter will eventually come around. Trust me, when my kids were 18…. I was , pick one:

      1) Ignored
      2) Mocked
      3) Ridiculed

      Eight years later they call, ask for advice, and more importantly listen. I have learned that every thing that comes out of your mouth is heard, gets processes and internalized. In a few years you will hear your words coming out of their mouth to their children. Life is a process, pass it on.

      To the rest of the story: 100% spot on, I have tried to mitigate how bad it will get, My best plan 3 – 5 Acres in the middle of farm country, too far to walk to from town and big farms for neighbors, Social area, join a church of your choice: contribute, help, support and defend.

  7. Jax

    Great article & reality check. Thanks for posting!!

  8. Neil

    First post here, so big hi to everyone first.

    Hi Rick, heathen, heretic, infidel, calling in the inquisitors as we speak, should be there soon. (end of trolling)

    Now that the funny stuff is out of the road, I must say, good article mate, So thought I would add my two cents worth.

    The reason my wife and I do prepping is multiple reasons.

    1/ we live in a country that has regular floods, droughts, fires, massive hail storms, so we prepare for those.
    2/ Not every prep is just for us, what if a family member has a disaster? who do they turn to, well family should be the first port of call before anything else. Plus friends in same situation.
    3/ I carry injuries, thus sometimes we just cannot get to town to get supplies, so extra food stocks is important.
    4/ I am expecting the return of Jesus Christ tomorrow morning, but I will probably die a really old man.
    5/ Wife and I are both country brats, so living off the land is second nature to us, plus having injuries as I do and not being able to do lots of heavy lifting, I am great at inventing tools to make life easy.

    But I do agree totally with you on one point, most people who declare they are off to the boon docks like grizzly adams, would not survive more than 6 months before they cracked up or did something extremely stupid and get themselves and others injured or killed.

    And another point that may have been overlooked, if you are not happy in your own company, survival rates in worse case situations has just dropped through the floor. if it all goes south, there might just be only you. Think of the studies that have been done on long term solitary confinement prisoners.

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