The dream of quitting your job, selling everything and living a simple life on the beach, deep in the woods, or high in the mountains is something millions have fantasized about, but few ever actually do. My wife and I made this leap of faith nearly 10 years ago with mixed results. It went something like this…
We researched areas we were interested in, and following several road trips south we found a home that fit our needs. We required a good size piece of land for growing fruits and vegetables (and privacy of course) and access to water, but were also careful to select an area not prone to floods, hurricanes, blizzards, or other natural disasters. We sold our home in the suburbs along with the motorcycle and other non-necessities, quit our high stress jobs and headed off to the hills. The adventure was on.
The proceeds from the old house easily paid for the new house; we had 2 paid for cars, a decent amount of cash in the bank (we thought) with strong retirement accounts. So far, so good. I picked up a part time job to cover basic utilities, figuring this would get us through till I could begin to draw retirement income. The 2008 crash wiped out a great deal of our retirement savings, but we were still in pretty good shape and optimistic for the future. For 5 years everything went pretty well, we were happy spending more time together, we enjoyed working on the property; life was peaceful – so what went wrong?
Nothing last forever: appliances break, cars wear out, homes need repairs. We were spending more on utilities, gas, cable, cell phone, insurance and groceries than we had anticipated, one car began to have problems – then there was that deer that committed suicide on the other car. Issues began to pile up; we began to take on a little bit of debt, not a lot by today’s standards, but for us, any debt was too much. Finally one day my wife turned to me and said; ‘we’re not going to make it.’ It was a painful, heart wrenching admission, but we both knew it was true. We had not been as prepared as we thought. I bit the bullet and went back to working 60 hours a week in yet another high stress job – our experiment had failed and I was back in the same old grind.
Fast forward 4 years:
- Retirement funds rebuilt
- More cash in the bank
- Debt is gone
- 2 new paid for cars
- New, more efficient appliances
- Improved security
- Reduced costs of living
- Large stash of food, water, etc
- Growing and saving more of our own food
- Added solar power to our preps
- Still hating my job and wanting out!
We have learned a lot, saved a lot, and grown a lot, but the fear of losing that bigger paycheck looms heavy over us. How much savings will we need? Do we have enough in our prepper stash? Will we be prepared to handle emergencies that can and do arise?
Fear can motivate, but it can also paralyze. Fear can motivate you as a prepper, but can also keep you from taking that next step, whatever that might look like for you. We are getting close to taking that plunge again, how about you? What’s your next step?
Update: we are now less than 30 days from exiting the rat race again, how about you?
Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.