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?
I honestly think that a good chunk of the preppers that want to get into rural homesteading have no idea what they’re really getting into. I don’t think these people are really driven by the desire to wake up at 4am every morning, bust their butt for 14 hours a day just to survive and then wake up and do it all over again tomorrow.
I think for some people, the desire to move to the boonies and set up a homestead is driven by the frustration of their current situation and the people around them rather than their desire to become an actual homesteader. Either that, or they’re still stuck in this mindset that the “End is near!” and that living in the country is the only way they’re going to weather out the inevitable apocalypse.
It might sound a little corny, but I think preppers are actually pre-disposed to feeling lonely more often than a lot of other people are.
Think about it, as preppers we’ve had our “Ah-Ha!” moment. We understand how easily disasters can happen. We took the red pill; we’re out of the Matrix, we will never stick our head back in the sands of the unprepared and oblivious again. We typically have a wide variety of practical skills that most people don’t and in general, we’re just a pretty handy and useful bunch of people to have around compared to your typical modern American.
Some days it can honestly feel like we’re looking the people around us and half-expecting them to walk into oncoming traffic because they’re just so freaking clueless about the “real” world around them. I think for some of us, that feeling can create a serious division between us and all the “non-preppers” out there. I mean heck, where do you think the term “Sheeple” came from?
Its human nature to want to be around people that you understand and that understand you. If you’re the only prepper you know and you don’t have anyone around you that can really identify with your preparedness lifestyle, then yeah, it can definitely get a little lonely at times.
We might not even know it; it might just be a small feeling the back of our minds that we somehow just don’t “belong” or that we’re just a little “different” than most people around us. That feeling can, (and for some people does) keep them from really making connections with other people that aren’t preppers.
Since it’s not really feasible to kick out all our neighbors and bring in a bunch of cool prepper families to live around us, a lot of people turn to a second option: Avoidance.
What’s the easiest way to avoid people? Move to where there are less people! This is where the rural homesteading dream starts for a lot of preppers.
Even though some preppers actually do end up achieving their homestead goals (and again kudos for the ones that REALLY want to be homesteaders) they’re still not happy. Actually, for most of them they’re unhappier and feel lonelier than ever because the homesteader lifestyle wasn’t what they really wanted in the first place. It didn’t address the root problem of their unhappiness, which is the feeling of being excluded because of the insight we have as preppers.
This feeling was the starting point of this whole downward spiral of mistakes that ended with a very expensive homestead they really have no idea how, or desire to run. Now it’s worse than ever because not only are they away from the “Sheeple” but they’re away from EVERYONE. That’s just a recipe for depression if that’s not the lifestyle you really want.
So…back to the original topic. Can the quest for self-reliance really cause someone to be anti-social?
Absolutely… and that’s really unfortunate because it doesn’t have to be that way at all.
I think the root of this problem is actually really simple and I have a simple solution for it.
Don’t let prepping take over your life.
BLASHPHEMY!!!! THIS IS A PREPPER SITE!!!
Hear me out; it’ll make sense in a sec.
When you start to break down prepping into what it really is, it’s really nothing more than worrying. Everything we do as preppers; be it stocking food and water, defensive training, wilderness survival skills, using alternative energies and currencies…all of it is because we are worried about “something”.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a job loss, natural disasters, global pandemics, economic collapse or roaming hordes of post-apocalyptic mutant biker gangs. As preppers we have a lot of worries and we do things to try and be ready in case those things happen. To me, that’s the core definition of preparedness.
Unfortunately, as preppers some of us are also probably guilty of worrying about things a lot more than we really need to. For some, prepping sneaks its way into every area of our lives and just sort of takes over, causing constant worry. When confronted with someone that doesn’t share this kind of “worry”, some of us immediately keep them at arms-length because they just don’t “get it”.
Guys and gals, in my opinion, prepping is not about worrying about every possible unrealistic SHTF scenario you can think of and spending every waking hour preparing for them at the expense of the real world. Prepping is about putting systems in place that so you’re not dependent on things like utilities, grocery stores, law enforcement etc etc. For me, I also like to add “IF YOU NEED TO” at the end of that definition.
Prepping should be a PART of your life. It shouldn’t BE your life. You could spend every waking hour of your life preparing for this disaster or that disaster…and honestly, you could live for a 100 years and never be done preparing for everything. In the end, if you’re constantly worried about disaster, you’re going to miss out on a lot of really awesome people out there if you keep everyone other than hardcore preppers at arms-length.
Remember, most of us were “sheeple” at one point or another. Something happened to change that. You could be the friend that starts that change for someone else too. It only takes 2 people to start a community, and if you’re too worried about pandemics, collapses and how the neighbor is going to steal all your food if the SHTF to get out there an build a real community of like-minded people, then you’re never going to meet any other preppers and you’ll never convince anyone to take the road to preparedness.
Again, if extremely tough manual labor, raising livestock and a lot of time in the dirt sounds a lot more attractive to you than meeting new people, then a rural homestead might just be exactly what you’re looking for. However, if you’re really just tired of being the only prepper on the block, be the change you want to see in others. Build your community, spread our message of modern survival as best you can, but don’t let prepping define who you are.
Thanks for reading everyone. Until next time, stay safe out there.