Recently I announced that the Jackson clan completed a seven year quest to purchase acreage for a homestead and full time retreat. Rachel and I had been considering purchasing acreage for a number of years as a combination hunting/recreation/retreat property but as I served in Iraq I watched neighborhoods turn into war zones and the radicalization of ordinary civilians I realized that the only (relative) safety in societal breakdown lies in either complete isolation or surrounding yourself with the fellow members of your family, ‘clan’ and ‘tribe.’ I hope that by sharing our story and homestead evaluation criterion we help you in finding your Prepper homestead.
That said I want you to consider how unrealistic complete isolation is for the average person or family. Not only are we social animals, but complete isolation in a family compound would make securing and trading for necessary resources…not to mention husbands and wives for your next generation… problematic. No one can plan for or afford to prepare for every contingency so some trade will be required to deal with any extended and even many short term TEOTWAWKI events.
I once read about a retreat island (in the Caribbean… I think) for sale that had been developed by a former employee of the CIA for his family. This CIA alum had earned millions working in industry following his national service and to stock his island he purchased the inventory from entire hardware stores to ship to the retreat. Most of us don’t have that kind of money or the resources to travel to such remote retreats when the balloon goes up or the stock market crashes down so what’s a regular guy to do to keep his family safe and sound…I say do the best you can where you are with what you have (financially, social network wise, etc.). This doesn’t mean that you hunker down during a hurricane or wildfire and hope to survive, or that you don’t relocate to a safer area if you’re lucky enough to be independently wealthy or have ‘mailbox income’ and the time and willingness to develop new social networks… but it does mean that even if you’re not tied to a geographic area by family or financial requirements you should strongly consider setting up your retreat or homestead in the safest location with the best resources within own social geography. This was the epiphany I had as I watched civil society in Iraq tear itself to shreds.
Even before I returned to the states I’d started researching prospective homestead sites and on my return we started looking in earnest. Over the years I developed a network of real estate agents and bankers (for foreclosures) that tipped me off to new properties going up for sale, wrote absentee landowners to make unsolicited offers and set up standing queries on a number of real estate sales websites.
Over the years we refined our homestead evaluation tools and learned how to move quickly to avoid the day late, dollar short disappointments we experienced early on. It’s important to note that until the last 18 months of our search we hadn’t developed our wish list sufficiently to effectively analyze, compare and decide if a prospective homestead was right for our needs. I hope that by sharing our evaluation criteria we will help you find your homestead/retreat more quickly than we did.
Check back tomorrow for more on finding your Prepper homestead as we discuss the Homestead Evaluation Criteria that led us to find The Hermitage.