Communal Living, Going “Off The Grid” and Living through Hard Times: Part 1   Leave a comment

What is Coliving and what advantages does it have? - Iberdrola

It goes without saying the Global Pandemic was a wakeup call for the entire world but no places more than those who live in densely populated areas–cities. The last 100 or so years saw a concetrated and purposeful effort by most people in developed countries to move into cities mostly for economic reasons. Living in a major city does have obvious advantages, yes and it also has obvious disadvantages.

The ongoing Pandemic in progress revealed just one of the many big disandvantages to living in a major city: Disease can quickly spread. I live in Boston but I live in a suburban area area of the city right on the edge of the city’s boarder with a Dedham, MA. Literally go three blocks and you’re no longer in Boston.

I’m gonna split this into four parts across two posts: Communal Living in Rural and Urban Areas (2 separate sections), Living Off the Grid and Living Through Hard Times. The first two parts assume you are willing and able to relocate from where you currently live. Both have aspects of each other mixed in though the first one requires 2 or more families or households coming together while second one is really meant for one household or family. The third part is for those who live in urban areas and are just not able to relocate at all.

This post is written with the U.S. in mind but if you’re outside the U.S., you can still use it as a point of reference since it will contain mostly general info. None of these are to be confused with Congregate, or Assisted Living. That is specifically for Elderly or Handicapped/Disabled who are either unable to live on their own or need support that prevents them from living on their own.

 

National Geographic Maps Kids Physical USA Wall Map (Graded 4-12 ...

Ok first things first you need to start doing research on rural areas starting in your state. If you live in Connecticuit, New Jersey, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Delaware or Maryland you should be looking at neighboring states (Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New York, etc.) or further away. Those first six states are the smallest in the U.S. so if you live in them, it’s just best to just look at other states. The more rural, the better. For those curently living on Hawaii, either go to the Continental U.S. or go to Southeast Asia. I’ll get to this in a bit as well. For those in Alaska, you’re basically fine to stay there.

Factoring a few things I’ll get into in just a bit, these 12 states are the ones I highly reccommend you look at if you currently live in or very close to a major city:

  • Maine
  • Vermont
  • Utah
  • Wisconsin
  • Nebraska
  • Minnesota
  • Kansas
  • Wyoming
  • Montana
  • Iowa
  • Idaho
  • Alaska

I factored a variety of things in this list, the biggest among them the costs of buying land, ready access to natural resources and the viability of going “Off The Grid”. These states are just collectively the best ones depending on where you might currently be in the U.S. I you’re open to going to Alaska, you can basically disappear without a trace. To a lesser extent this is also true of Maine, Minnesota and Montana as well.

Most of these states are in the middle of the country. Of them, I am partial to Wisconsin and Minnesota simply because the are on The Great Lakes. That’s the world’s largest body of freshwater in the world. Most of the other states are almost giving land away.

You’ll want to do your research in short since these days, you never know who owns what. More so if we’re talking about land owned by a company. It’s much more complicated than dealing with a landowner who is a private citizen to say the least.

 

If you live in or near a major city in these 16 states, you should look at rural areas within the state first before looking at the above list:

  • Washington
  • New York
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • California
  • New Hampshire
  • Pennsylvania
  • Indiana
  • Illinois
  • Arkansas
  • Oregon
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • North Carolina
  • West Virginia
  • Colorado

…I live in Massachusetts and I also live in Boston. I am looking at the Southeasten part of the state as well as the middle of the state to move to. I don’t want to be too close to Springfield in the western part of the state since it’s basically “West Boston” (and I’m sure folks who live in that part of the state would LOVE for the state capital to be moved out there.

Boston is third in the U.S. behind New York (#2) and San Francisco in terms of the cost of living. Things start to become more affordable the further from Boston you go but in exchange, you need to either own a car or know someone trustworthy who can help you get around. You can get away with not owning a car in the Boston area because of the MBTA but not as much outside Boston and the surrounding cities and towns (Cambridge, Quincy, Braintree, Brockton, Newton, Revere, Chelsea, Somerville, etc.). I had my Learner’s Permit two years ago but it recently expired. I plan to apply for it again in the near future.

Moving on, most of the states listed have at least one major city in it. If you live in the New York City, you want to look at upstate New York before you look outside the state. Same if you live in LA, San Francisco, Philly, Chi-Town, Seattle or Indianapolis among others. You want to be looking at rural areas in the states those cities are in first before you look elsewhere.

With most of these states, you can fly under the radar. You also have the added benefit of having a major city in most of these states you can travel to if need be. Like the first list, all of these states have land you can use to grow your own food and that is an absolute must for everything in the next three section.

 

These 14 states you absolutely want to either avoid or leave if you are a certain race, hold certain political views or would have to deal with severe weather disasters each year:

  • Texas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Alabama
  • Tennessee
  • Kentucky
  • Virginia
  • South Carolina
  • Louisiana
  • Missouri
  • North Dakota
  • Arizona
  • New Mexico
  • Nevada

I have no problem saying local politics, laws and history were the biggest factors for most of these states being on this list despite the low costs of living and loose regulations on Living Off The Grid in them. The first 10 you absolutely want to avoid moving to if you are not White. I’m just gonna put it like that.

No disrespect intended to people of color who live in those first 10 states but they are still controlled by sins of the past. Both of the Dakotas have Native American Reservations in them but out of fairness to the Native Americans who live there, it’s hard for me to justify reccommending it. They’ve had much taken from them to say the least and the last thing they need is the mostly inhospitable land they were given to exist on being taken from them. I didn’t include South Dakota because Native American Reservations are not as concentrated as North Dakota first and open land not privately owned if it’s not part of a Reservation is easier to find in South Dakota second.

Arizona and New Mexico have the two big problems of being on the southern boarder and being mostly desert or wasteland. Yes you can practically disappear in both states but they along with Nevada require quite a bit of investment to live in the middle of nowhere longterm. Nevada has Las Vegas and Reno, were most of the state’s populations are concentrated working against it. Outside those two cities, most of the state is desert or wasteland and to live in the middle of nowhere, you’ll need to be making huge financial commitments.

The only two things the first 10 states have going for them are plentiful land for agriculture and low costs of living. If not for the politics, I would have reccommended them in the first two lists but I can’t.

 

If you are in the U.S. and you’re open to leaving the country, these 16 countries are worth looking into:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Japan
  • The Philippines
  • South Korea
  • New Zealand
  • Australia
  • Brazil
  • Argentina
  • Kenya
  • Liberia
  • Ghana
  • Denmark
  • Norway
  • Holland
  • Finland

 

…For all the closet racists like to talk trash about people coming in the U.S. Southern Boarder, I do believe at some point in the future we WILL see a mass migration of Americans flooding across the Southern boarder into Mexico looking for shelter. I do believe that time will come sooner than later personally. It will then be a question of weather or not Mexico will allow it or give the U.S. a taste of its own medicine which they would have every right to do.

Canada is the only overland route to the U.S. state of Alaska so unless you fly, you will have to pass through Canada to get there. Outside that, most people forget that around the time of the 2004 Presidental Election Canada started to offer a sort of fast-tracked immigration process for U.S. Citizens. The media covered this briefly but shortly after Trump won the 2016 Presidental Election, some people with Refugee status fled to Canada amid fears Trump would revoke their status as Refugees and in some cases, revoke their citizenship if they were naturalized. Their fears were proven accurate as Trump revoked Refugee status or citizenship from literally millions of people mostly from impoverished countries.

The Philippines would require quite a bit of financial investment because it is an impoverished country. Many Filipinos travel abroad to find work so…yeah. You would need to secure stable income as well as agriculture. It would be reccommended you pair with a Filipino family or two to make things work. Same With Liberia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya and Argentina.

The European countries rank among the best in the world to live. Brazil, like The Philippines would require doing a bit of research in advance depending on what you may be looking to do. South Korea and Japan have tough immigration requirements but if you can secure citizenship in one of them, you will be access to help getting started up. South Korea might feel like an odd choice since it’s boardered by North Korea but China and the U.S. are both acting as buffers to keep that country safe.

 

These 16 countries or Regions you absolutely want to avoid moving to if you’re open to leaving the U.S.:

  • Anywhere in the Middle East
  • Eastern Europe
  • The West Indies/Carribbean
  • India
  • China
  • Russia
  • Egypt
  • Libya
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Sudan
  • Ethiopia
  • U.K.
  • France
  • Malaysia
  • Indonesia
  • North Korea

 

It goes without saying with most of these countries, simply being from America makes you a target. As for why most of Europe is listed, it’s too densely populated first and you never know when war will break out second. It’s just not worth taking the chance. Same with the West Indies and The Middle East. It’s just a simple matter of personal safetly and most of these countries are very hostile to foreigners in general.

 

…All that said. Now lets talk about Communal Living.

Communes are making a comeback for older residents | Considerable

Communal Living, or Coliving involves a group of people with common beliefs coming together and living together, usually in a Rural area. That’s the original version. The Urban version, which is more recent involves separate bedrooms but shared common areas. This assumes you go the Rural route though I will talk about the Urban version a little as well.

It’s highly reccommended you team up with 2 to 3 families who will live on the land and take care of each other. It will basically be a village. Make sure whoever they are can be trusted first and foremost. More so if you hold certain political, cultural or religious beliefs that could make you a target for persecution. You will need to make sure everyone is vetted since you will literally relying on each other to survive. Disagreements are one thing but you don’t want a traitor or informant living with you to be direct. More on this in the last section.

Once you have secured land, you will need to build a house to live in if there isn’t one present already. Either one big enough for you and those who will live with you or each family has their own dwelling–house, cabin, whatever you want to call it. Federal Laws require running water in a dwelling of any kind for sanitation purposes. On top of this, each state has their own regulations that can make it easier or harder to “Unplug” from government or company owned water and electric utilities.

On that note: Contrary to popular belief by some folks, it is NOT illegal to live off the grid in the U.S.. It just requires doing your research since like I just said, some states make it harder than others to do so. Indoor plumbing is an absolute must for sanitation purposes in all 50 states. That includes a working toilet and running faucets. You will need to do your research on the regulations for the state you’re in or the state you plan to move to.

As for electricity, you have three options: Solar Panels, Wind Turbines or Hydroelectricity. It’s highly reccommended you have a combination of at least two depending on where you are. If pressure from a waterfall, stream or river is strong enough you can set up a Hydroelectric generator. Having batteries to store the power would great especially if there is either a mechanical problem or you temporarily lose the ability to generate power.

The funny thing is if you stay connected to the electrical grid while generating electricity on your property, you can be paid for some of the excess electricity. This is already the case with many who have Solar Panels or Wind Turbines on their property as their primary home power source. You’ll be paid or given a credit for a portion of the excess electricity. So, you’ll actually profit from your own power source. Pretty cool, yes?

Electronic communication…that depends on weather or not the internet is still accessible or not. For the sake of this we will assume it’s not. At the very least, you should try to get a localized phone network set up that will cover at least your propety. This requires specialized knowledge that includes installing the necessary hardware, structures and equipment. Ideally, this would be done before internet access is lost.

If internet access is still available, you should still set up a personal secure personal network that can’t be accessed from anyone outside your network without the credentials. Having your own servers to store data in advance also means you can download or back up helpful information from across the internet that will be lost when it goes offline. There actually is a handy website called The Internet Archive. You name it, they got it. They are dedicated to literally backing up the ENTIRE internet and everything on it. I can confirm they even have the old Serene Adventure website AND the old forums on that note.

Anyways, communication will be more important. If you have someone with the skills, you might be able to make it so cellphones can be used while on the property by connecting to the local network that was set up so you can talk to each other when regular service is lost. That way, at least you can still talk to people you know while you’re in range of the network. A local network means you can still access information and data on your servers instead of the internet too.

Next, let’s talk about creating and maintaining your own renewable Food Sources. It’s cliche but you will be growing most of what you eat. You don’t need acres and acres of land but the more ariable land, the more food you can grow on it. You definitely want to be able to grow enough food to not only live off of but put some in storage, sell or trade as well.

With Fruit Trees, you need to do your research as they all take at least a few years to start bearing fruit. You can buy saplings or mature trees to save some time but it won’t be cheap. We’re talking minimum $50 each for Apple trees to give you an idea. Buying fruit trees is probably the best method for those who are starting out and more so if you either don’t have a lot of skilled hands or don’t have a lot of land for growing. Fruit trees last a few decades so it’s reccommended you start planting replacements about halfway through

Building a Greenhouse means you can grow food out of season and all year round regardless of the weather conditions. In exchange, there is an increased power and water cost for just the Greenhouse that needs to be planned for. You’ll want to set up standalone solar panels for just the Green House if possible. Once you have a Green House up and running, you can grow prettymuch anything and is worth the added costs if you plan to source everything you eat.

As for meat, eggs and dairy. Buy chicken and cows to source eggs and milk from. You can research how to turn milk into butter, cream, cheese and yogurt among other things. If you or a member of your Community either doesn’t have the skills, doesn’t have the equipment or just doesn’t feel comfortable doing that you’re better off buying animal byproducts if possible. Of course, you will also want to learn to make your own clothes too.

As for meat. If it’s domesticated animals, you need to learn how to both humanely slaughter an animal. You will also need to learn how to safely butcher an animal and drain the blood from the meat. With birds, you will need to learn how to defeather it. These steps are done for you by the time you buy it in a store so…yeah. If the idea of killing an animal let alone then having to butcher it for food makes you feel uncomfortable or squeamish, maybe it’s time to consider becoming a vegetarian. It’s not for the faint of heart and certainly isn’t pretty.

As for defending your Community. It goes without saying your biggest threat will be other humans followed by any known wildlife in the area. A combination of fencing and walls are a must. If you have the money and the means, install closed-circuit cameras as well. Every able-bodied person in the community is part of the defense force. If you have cameras installed, that helps cut down on the need for 24/7 patrols. Have lethal force as part of your arsenal if need be but use only when necessary.

As for Medical and Health Needs. You will need a few people who either have medical training or can learn detailed medical info if possible. If you can stock up on hospital-grade medical supplies, medical equipment and medications that’s even better. A room of one-story building will be designated as the infirmary. If you have access to a medical facility in the area, that’s great. Otherwise, you want to make sure your on-site medical capabilities can handle prettymuch everything imaginable including major surgeries and quarantines if need be.

Speaking of. If an infectious disease breaks out in the Community, Patient Zero should be immediately quarantined along with everyone who was in contact with them. The rest of the Community will need to adjust to make up for the reduced manpower or other roles they would lose due to those under quarantine. If someone dies of an infectious disease, the body should be cremated or buried as quickly as possible. In addition, everyone who handled the body should be quaratined as a precaution. Just like the current Pandemic, Quarantine is to protect those who are healthy from getting sick.

If your food sources get contaminated or infected, they should be destroyed to prevent healthy people and animals from getting sick. Infected livestock should be killed and the bodies burned. Infected fruit-bearing plants, vegetables and other plant-based food sources should be destroyed by burning as well.

Infectious Diseases aside, when someone dies the body should be buried or cremated for obvious sanitary reasons as soon as possible. Corpses are swimming with bacteria after all. A Medical professional and a leader of the community should fill out a Death Certificate for the deceased even if there is no functioning government. You want to make sure you have a written record of the death for the purposes of record keeping.

About trash and waste. Human and Animal waste should be either used as fertilizer or buried. Food waste should be composted as much as possible. The rest of the food trash can either be fed to animals, burned or buried. Anything non-food that is biodegradeable should be recycled, salvaged or repurposed as much as possible. Get as much unreusable waste as close to zero as possible.

We’re assuming there won’t be a trash pickup and it’s unlikely you’ll want to drive your waste to the nearest dump or designated dumping area every week. If you want to designate a spot on the property for that purpose, make sure it’s far from both living areas and food sources. Trash in an open area will attract wildlife, vermin and possibly other humans so you want to keep it on the edge of your property if possible. If there is trash pickup available, feel free to disregard this paragraph!

Before I forget, let me talk about Education and learning. It goes without saying kids will need to learn along with adults survival skills. As for formal education, textbooks will need to be acquired in advance. it won’t be as formalized and structured as it is in most of the world now but kids should be able to learn at their own pace. There should be a greater emphasis on survival skills however.

 

Co-Living Spaces Claim a Bigger Place | City of New York

Wait, I forgot to talk about the Urban version didn’t I? Let’s get to that now. The obvious big difference between the Rural and Urban versions is the area. You have less room in an urban area to work with and certain things will need to be done differently depending on how much space you have.

For the sake of this sake of discussion, we’ll assume your community has bought or taken over a building the size of this one. At a glance, it’s a 6-story building and likely has a below-ground floor or two. A building of this size can probably safely hold 200 to 400 people without crowding rooms. You would still need to set up facilities to be as self-sufficient as possible though.

  • We will assume water is taken care of from when it was first built and will be a non-issue. We will also assumes shower and bathing facilities will be installed on each floor.
  • Solar Panels will be installed on the roof as the main power source though it will still be hooked up to the city or town’s grid. Small wind turbines will also be installed on the roof for additional power.
  • The same principles for a local network apply. Most offices these days already have an internal network on that note. Someone with the skills can reprogram an existing one to work for your needs.
  • As for Food Sources. You have no choice but to convert rooms into greenhouses as well as build raised beds of soil on the roof. If you can get your hands on livestock, you can house them in a few rooms. Just make sure you are able to get them some time outside and some exercise too.
  • Defending a building like this means barricading all entrances and exits as well as all ground floor windows. It goes without saying Closed-Circuit Cameras are a must as well.
  • At least half a floor is set aside for medical facilities. This also assumes a room or two is used for surgeries and there will be a separate maternity ward. If disease breaks out, the infected should be quarantined and the rooms should be disinfected afterward.
  • When someone dies, we will assume the building has two basements. Sections of the second basement will be set aside for burials. If the ground is reinforced, you will need build coffins with available materials and seal it shut. Otherwise, bury it. The alternernative is using the furnace to creamate the body.
  • Trash and waste is treated the same as in a Rural area: Keep it as low as possible. This building appears to have a chimney which means it has a furnace you can use to burn things.
  • Education is treated the same as a rural area prettymuch. Focus on survival skills though kids should be able to learn at their own pace.

 

..Whew. That covers most of the major stuff involved with Community Living. There are some more details which will be covered in the next two sections. These first two sections ended being much longer than I expected so I am going to put the other sections in a separate post. I actually revised this post before posting it. Part 2 will be the next one you see after this one. It’s so important, I will post both parts on three of my blogs.

 

 

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