Sunday, April 6, 2008

Travel Trailer Homesteading

I've seen this topic come up a lot lately. The idea is to get a cheap, used trailer and some junk land and moving in. What blows me away is how many people actually try to argue that it should be your ultimate goal and that you need to do it as soon as possible. You don't need things like air conditioning or running water. Why bother with a garden when you can just forage wild plants and eat out of buckets? More than a few hundred square feet is a waste of space.

I can understand buying some junk land and parking a trailer or building a cabin there. For a few grand you could have a place to call your own even if you lose everything else. Keep it stocked with supplies and you've got a place to go in an emergency. Even if all is well in the world you've got a place to go and just get away from it all.

I'm not against buying some land with the intent to move out there eventually. Running a self sufficient homestead is a long term goal of mine. I just want to make sure that I'm not making too many compromises by moving out there. I want to make sure that I can grow food on my land. I want a well, a decent sized house and a septic system. I want an offgrid renewable energy system. I want to make sure that I have all of the tools that I need before I give up my source of income.

Selling everything and shedding the shackles of the wage slave to live a self sufficient life where you don't owe anyone anything is certainly a romantic thought. Unfortunately you'll just end up trading one set of problems for some totally different ones if you don't plan ahead and do it right. If you have to move out to your land out of necessity then by all means do what you've got to do. It's certainly several steps up from living under a bridge. If you've got a job and the means to keep improving your homestead, though, then keep improving it until you honestly feel comfortable with moving out there.


Anonymous said...

This approach, promoted by Jim Dakin, never made much sense to me. Better to buy a semi-normal home that you can afford and enjoy, suitably located in your local area that you are intimately familiar with and have social connections to already (i.e. you're not 'fresh meat'), stay in the economy as long as you can, and make incremental progress on realistic preps as you are able.
Living on a sand dune in a camper and hiking 7 miles to water is not realistic, imho.

The rest of the budget prep concepts espoused, however, are relatively solid.

theotherryan said...

I do not think anyone, including Jim Dakin would argue that a farm or a house is not an overall better place to be then a trailer on a piece of junk land. The big point of Jim Dakin is that the junk land trailer route is something almost all people can afford to do in the near future. For a whole lot of us getting a nice "retreat" is either a pipe dream or a decade away.

IMHO the big strength of the junk trailer plan is as a retreat for people who can't/ won't move out to the boonies or just can't afford a normal home or a productive piece of land. A genuine retreat can be had for under 3k in almost all states.

M.D. Creekmore said...

I did this a few years ago and have never been happier. For years, like a lot of people I hoped that one day I would acquire the funds needed to buy a small farm / retreat.

Never happened and I finally came to the conclusion that it never would. So instead of doing nothing, I stopped dreaming of things I was never going to have and got what I could afford. A Travel trailer on junk land. I have never regretted my decision.

Good luck finding your dream place and keeping up with the payments. In the main time I will be enjoying my freedom, trailer and junk land.

Anonymous said...

Travel Trailer homesteading is far more than what you suggest in your blog. Brian Kelling's "Travel Trailer Homesteading Under $5000" is about developing a homestead (not foraging) and includes a septic system, etc. He spends some time instructing on construction of a septic system and choosing the land. Clearly not a piece of 'junk'. The point is to be independent financially while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle. I'm sure others would speak to approach, goals, etc. This may not be the choice of everyone - but it's certainly a very valid choice even if some choose to alter the variables (quality of the land, source of food, with or w/o septic tank).

Anonymous said...

travel trailer is great! no debt is great! = freedom!

Anonymous said...

the new world has programed us to be spoiled and dependant on the system. they do not want us to taste freedom because then we become independent! if we can live in tents and teepes we should have no problem living in a trailer.