So happy to have found this site in hopes of finding the right spot to exit cities/towns indefinitely... Unfortunately, this had been what I was searching for before the onset of Corona, and now, more than ever, I know why I was being called out into the country and away from society/the over culture, and hoping your community isn't being overwhelmed by those of us that were headed that direction but not quite there. I feel deeply that the right opportunity will either be here, or it won't, and my search will continue..but at least had to post and see what comes of it!
My passion and life path the last ten years has been travel and exploration; from Ashland, OR to San Francisco, CA to France, Portugal, Spain, to Africa and the list goes on.
I was schooled in Art History, and after doing a brief internship at the Portland Art Museum just out of school, I quickly and very decisively decided that a life in chasing a 'career' was not for me. I began to travel solo; moving to cities that called to me, and digging into a deeper understanding of both myself and the world around me. I met many like minded people throughout my travels, experienced many ways of life I felt were more authentic than that of which I was raised, and kept moving until this past year in which I knew it was time to begin looking into making the permanent move out of the norm and off of the grid.
I traveled abroad for five months via workaday, and worked on several small family farms / permaculture projects / intentional communities, but do not have these skills in a way that I am by any means an expert. However, I was always able to be a helping hand, eager to learn and happy to be of highest use. In many circumstances, I tended the garden, kept the household in order or most frequently, cooked meals. Being innately artistic gears me most easily toward any project that allows me to exercise this, but I also know that out in the country there is much tough, physical work to be done as well. I am always looking to ways in which to be more sustainable in terms of health / self care / etc.. and try to limit the amount of 'products' used. I am also very interested in different healing modalities such as Reiki, Meditation, Breathwork, Yoga. I feel that mental and emotional health is one of the most important things we have in this life, and unfortunately something more and more of us struggle with in these times.
The important basics: I don't smoke cigarettes or marijuana, drink alcohol all that often, or use any drugs. Of course within my life I have experimented with all of these things but find my mind, body and spirit is happiest and healthiest without any of them. I am vegan for health reasons, but most importantly animal advocacy, and being a part of a household or community that is also Vegan is probably one of the most important things to me. I have found in all of my travels that I most easily connect and enjoy time with those that also hold and understand these beliefs.
I am originally from Boise, Idaho, born and raised, love and enjoy the mountains, but was hoping to find a spot that has a good amount of sunshine and warmth. Growing up in Boise we did have the four seasons, but always with a high amount of days of sun, and this I have also found in my travels is something that my soul needs.
I realize I am not your typical 'permie' or even homesteader, but am hoping that my combination of life experiences, and skills / beliefs may resonate with someone or a community. As I mentioned, I am happy to be outside working, but am also able to engage in small business duties, writing, anything artistic.
Looking back at this I feel there is so much more to say - but if this happens to find the right person/people please feel free to reach out and ask me anything... In these instances, with the life I have lived thus far it is difficult to choose the words and what to write, but there it is.
In the very least, good on you all for what you do, what you have accomplished, and I am sure for showing many the way to living a more fulfilling, authentic, peaceful and joyful life. Lets hope this movement continues to grow and outdated systems are forced into extinction. If only we could all step away from materialism / consumerism and be happier with less, more content with the simple pleasures of living on what is left of this beautiful planet.
Welcome Megan! You have certainly provided a rich description of yourself and your background. I was curious about two things...
First, you wrote that "I realize I am not your typical 'permie' or even homesteader..." I am wondering what you meant by this? In what ways do you see yourself as atypical? You actually sound to me like a very good fit for the permie homesteader lifestyle.
Second, what on earth is going on in the photo you attached?!
To your first question... I feel atypical in the sense of being a permie/homesteading, because although I have lived for periods of time on a mostly self sustaining piece of land or in a community, it is not something I have a great deal of knowledge in. I was raised in the city, have lived most of my adult life in cities and know it would be a learning curve for me to break from some of the systems and conveniences I am used to. Although I do realise there is probably an infinite amount of varying degrees of how off grid or self sustaining a home or community is, in terms of where I hope to be at regarding being free of the systems I was raised on and as independent and self sustaining as possible, I know there will be much for me to learn.
I know deep down this is how I am meant to live and what I have been yearning for for some time now, and certainly my choices and lifestyle in certain aspects during the last ten years is more in line with a permie lifestyle than not, so I agree with you there as well!
And the photo I attached is one of my favourites from a time of living in community in Ashland, Oregon. Its a close up of a flower from a bouquet I had made for an event. I was very much in love with darkroom photography growing up, and carried on with it for a bit with the I phone, but lost interest as things became more and more techie and complicated. Capturing an image as if it were a painting is the way I approached it, rather than all of the effects and editing.
Thanks, Megan. I understand what you're saying. For many people the permie homesteading lifestyle is a journey, often one with a destination that is still far off. I didn't grow up on a farm, either, and even the suburban-scale permie homestead I'm currently building for myself won't be anything like 100% self-sufficient. It certainly won't be off-grid. But it will be efficient enough that if/when we wake up tomorrow morning and energy and/or food cost vastly more than we're used to (and when energy goes up, so will conventional food!), I will view it as an inconvenience. My lifestyle will continue, while my neighbors might be totally prevented from continuing the lifestyle they're used to.
Very few of us can be self-sufficient on a family scale. Most communities will never be truly self-sufficient, even most off-grid communities. They might seem like it if you don't look too closely at all of the products and technologies they use, and if you don't ask yourself "where does that stuff get maintained? From where will replacements come when it eventually breaks?" Perhaps you can truly be self-sufficient on the scale of a bio-region, but even that would necessitate abstaining from a lot of imported specialty items that we all take for granted.
I don't see that any of this invalidates or even lessens one's lifestyle as a permie homesteader.
As for myself, I will be content to call my property "a homestead" when I've reached the point (not yet) that it produces for me more than it consumes. If I get enough food out of my land to justify the work I put into it, then I will be happy. More precisely, my goal is to grow excess produce that I can sell at a farmer's market for $X per year, whereas the total resources I need to purchase seed, hire additional labor, and buy whatever food I can't grow is equal or less than $X. Similarly, I am building my home large enough to have rooms to rent out, either to students (I'm in a college town) or on AirB&B or similar. If I am making more $ than I pay in utilities, and more than I foresee the average typical maintenance costs to be, then I will be happy.
And then once I've reached that basic threshold level, I will start adding and enhancing and see how much farther I can get. And then if I achieve that, I'll see what new projects and innovations I can achieve to make my lifestyle even more permie. I've got lists and more lists of ideas for the future. Perhaps things that today seem like a bridge too far will at that point seem reasonable and attainable. It's all a journey and a learning curve.
But it's worth it, because for many of us I do believe - as you said - that it is the way we were meant to live. And I'm only addressing the nuts and bolts of it. Clearly there is spiritual fulfillment and aesthetic joy to be gained from living independently, from living closer to nature, from being able to raise one's family immersed in a lifestyle that matters to you. You can't quantify those benefits, but they are still worth huge effort and investment to me. Sounds like they are to you as well, and good for you!
Thanks for explaining the photo, too.
I would love to talk further about my own project, with which I could certainly use some help. But I am a long ways (the South) from where you are (Idaho, did you say?). And there is nothing vegan about me or about what I'm trying to build, even though I'm still a long way off from keeping domestic livestock. So, not sure you would find it a good fit here. But I do wish you all the best on your own journey. May it land you wherever you need to be!