Grit Blogs > Homesteading with Mrs D

How to Escape the City

By Robyn Dolan


Tags: homesteading, Robyn Dolan, Arizona, buying land, country living, farm, ranch,

Homesteading with Mrs DSince the past couple months have been taken up with births and deaths in the family, I thought I might share a few thoughts from my upcoming book, Escape the City and Thrive.

how to escape the city

In Book 1, How I Did it and How You Can Too! I cover the decision making process:

• How family stories “on the farm” influenced me.
• How I came to my decision.
• Steps I took with my job, my finances, my kids.

And many recommendations for how to decide if country life is really for you.

In Book 2, Milking the Wild Goat, I share how we located our homestead and got started. These are some thoughts I want to share today.

Setting up a homestead is not a quick and easy process. Whether you start with bare land, or buy something “turn-key” (real estate-ese for “ready to move in”), homesteading is a lifelong, ongoing project. There are three basic ways to go, when getting started:

• Buying bare land and living in an RV, truck camper, or trailer.

One of the easiest ways to get started on your homestead is to live in an RV. Whether this is a motor home, travel trailer, or truck camper, if you have solar panels and/or a generator, it is merely an issue of refilling your propane tanks as necessary, refilling your fresh water and dumping your waste water. This is easily enough accomplished by driving in to the nearest facility to dump and refill (RV park, truck stop, or other sanitation station). You will want to learn and apply some serious water conservation skills to make this less of a hassle.

• Buying bare land and building from scratch, possibly camping on the property while doing so.

Starting with unimproved land can be very exciting. Building exactly what you want, how you want is a wonderful option. Especially if you have done your homework and gotten land in an unincorporated area, with the fewest restrictions possible. Sadly, there is no place that is untouched by building restrictions. Just think of it as a necessary evil — you wouldn’t want your neighbor to dump his waste just anywhere, especially if you have to smell it, or if it ends up draining onto your property. Yuck! Everybody has different standards of hygiene.

• Buying land with existing structures and renovating and reusing them.

There are quite a few pros and cons to starting with land that includes existing structures. Primarily, if one of them is a home, even if it is not brand new, you have 4 walls and a roof over your head. You will probably have ongoing repairs and upgrades to contend with and you might want to change everything around, but it is something to start with. And hopefully your hot and cold running water works.

• The land

I highly advocate buying cheap land and setting up your own homestead, according to your preferences. However, I advise anyone considering this to proceed with caution. If land is cheap, there is a reason for it.

In my case, it was the lack of water, the remote location, and the lack of services in the area. Never underestimate the importance of water and sanitation facilities. Electricity can be provided by solar panels, generators or wind. In my case, it was not prohibitive to hook up to the grid, as it was located near enough to my property. We also installed a propane tank and signed up for propane delivery. We could have gotten by with small, portable tanks that we could take in to town to refill, if we had chosen to go that route.

That’s enough to get you thinking. Look for my book release in the next few months. Don’t miss out — sign up for my “weekly-or-so” newsletter on my website, below, where you may also purchase a PDF version of Escape the City and Thrive: Book 1 – How I did it and How You Can, Too! for only $1.99. All proceeds will help me get the full, 3-book volume to print!

Thanks for stopping by. Keep up with our adventures in mobile homesteading at Mrs. D’s Travelling Homestead, where we also offer soaps, lotions, books, and pet items to support ourselves.