The Journey

We are just an average married couple who find ourselves in an unstable and unpredictable world. Like many of you we are not wearing tin foil hats and prepping for a zombie apocalypse, we are however preparing for the natural/man made disasters that can and do happen. We are preparing for a disruption of services caused by civil unrest. We are preparing for tough economic times, high unemployment, or even another Great Depression. Just over 9 years ago, at the start of ‘The Great Recession,’ we moved out of the Chicago area to the hills of Tennessee. This was our 1st step towards trying to live a simpler, more self-reliant life. We were both burned out and looking for a way out of the rat race; 80 hour work weeks just to buy the latest gadget just didn’t make sense anymore. There had to be a better way! Today I still work a full time job (my wife stays at home), but every day we take another small step towards self reliance and for us that’s what prepping is all about. Baby steps; one small step every day. We hope to share that journey with you.

I spent 8 years running a conservative political and news aggregation website. I spent countless hours trying to inform others of the dangerous road our country was on and even made a run for political office. Now with our country over $19 Trillion in debt, wide open borders, crumbling infrastructure, sputtering economy, 46 million on Food Stamps, and over 94 million Americans not working… I have come to the conclusion that things will get much worse before they get better. We are seeing riots in the street, looting, cars over turned, businesses burned and cops targeted for death. We are seeing thugs hailed as martyrs while so-called protesters shut down our streets and highways. We see a corrupt and power hungry Federal Government taking more of our freedoms under the guise of protecting us. Sadly, our country is barely recognizable as the one I grew up in. I don’t know the future, no one does, but as the world continues to become more unstable we should all be better prepared.

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: so we took the plunge nearly a year ago and we couldn’t be happier! It has been a struggle at times, but we continue to learn and grow and become more and more self sufficient. We spend less because we need less. We grow more of our own food, and generate more of our own electricity. We are not yet 100% off grid, but we are making steady progress. Hope you are finding your own way as well.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.