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Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat

Avatar for Gaye Levy Gaye Levy  |  Updated: August 24, 2021
Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat

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There comes a time when every prepper takes a look at what they have done, what they are currently doing, and what they plan to do in the future.  Sometimes, they retrench and rethink past preps and improve on what they have done and especially what they have learned skill-wise.  Sometimes they take a break because let’s face it, we all need balance in our lives.  And then there is the most difficult part which is planning for future preps, if any.

I am very good about asking questions about prepping goals and readers excel at answering.  Today I want to turn the tables and share a major preparedness goal that looms on my personal horizon.  This is not so much that I expect you to follow suit, but more that it is such a huge goal that you may find the inspiration to set long term goals yourself.

Getting Out of Dodge Survival Retreat | Backdoor Survival

Fair warning.  This is not a typical blog post for this site, but one that needs to be written and shared with my readers.

Getting Out of Dodge

There is an old song made popular by Kenny Rogers titled The Gambler.  There is a passage in the song that says “the secret to survivin’ is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep”.  Those are important words and although taken out of context, something I have considered when taking a look at my own preps.

The world has changed tremendously since I started prepping in 2010 and it has become time to re-evaluate one of my primary pillars of survival, shelter.  Is my home safe?  Is it protected? If there is a major disruptive event, will I be able to carry on while making good use of my preps?

Sadly, my answer has become no.  There are many reasons because at first blush, this island location is off shore, difficult to get to, and abundant in natural resources, most notably in the form of water and trees for wood and biomass.  On the other hand, the cost of living is high, and during the summer months, the population doubles with the influx of tourists.

Tourists are not prepared.  Should a disruptive event (earthquake, cyber attack, EMP, you name it) occur during summer, this island in the middle of nowhere will be as chaotic as the urban core in a large city.  Folks will be stranded and because we are off-shore, will not even be able to walk out.

Looming large is also the strategic location near the international border and close to the entrance to Puget Sound.  With certain types of events, what is to prevent our government from stepping in and taking over our island for strategic military reasons?  It could happen.

I am planning to get out of dodge.

The Survival Retreat: Is It Time?

This leads me to the goal: finding a survival retreat that offers as least some of the sustainability and security that I seek.

Here is my bucket list.

Minimum of 1/3 acre and preferably more.

Sunny space for a garden. Existing fruit trees a bonus.

Trees in the general vicinity to provide wood and biomass for heating and cooking.

Local source of water such as streams, ponds, or lakes.  Bonus if a well can be dug.

Abundant wildlife for hunting as a food source.

Favorable tax environment.

Sufficient storage space for a two year food supply.


Zoning that allows for water catchment systems and auxiliary fuel/propane tanks.

History that shows area is relatively free from wild fires and floods.

Moderate climate 20F low to 90F high.

Proximity to health care within a 20 mile radius.

Very good to excellent cell phone service.

Availability of high speed internet (for as long as it lasts).

Peace, quiet, and no tourist activity.

This list has been in the making for a couple of months and is still a work in progress.  Selling my home comes first.

The Challenges

This sort of move does not come without challenges.  Selling a home stuffed with ten years of accumulation is a lot of work and, in an area such as ours, can take some time.

Moving is also hard work and we are not as young as we used to be.  And then there are the preps.  Food, gear, and water storage will be moved right along side our household goods.  The logistics promise to be a nightmare but how could I not (move them, that is)?

This will all be happening while I continue to blog and continue to keep up on my skills.  Will I even have time to sleep?

The Final Word

Is this type of move to a survival retreat for everyone?  Of course not.  There are family, job, health, and financial considerations that may need to be met.  I am fortunate to be debt free with a home that, when sold, will allow me to find a mountain retreat with plenty of water, trees, and the space and sunshine to grow a bountiful garden.  Will I find everything I want?  Probably not, but I am going to give it my best shot.

Let me close for now with some additional lyrics from “The Gambler”.

“You’ve got to know when to hold ’em.  Know when to fold ’em.
Know when to walk away and know when to run.”

At the end of the day, we all do the best we can.  Although we make mistakes along the way, being a resilient species allows us to recover and move on. Wish me luck as I embark upon this new adventure.  And thank you for listening.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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Have you ever wondered what preps I value the most?  There are way too many to list so those I have listed below are a sampling of items I use all of the time and not simply tucked away for emergencies.

Note:  As I was going around the house looking for things to add to this list, I had to stop.  There are simply too many items so I will reserve the rest for another time.

UltraFire Mini Cree LED Flashlight:  I personally keep flashlights in every single room of my house and you should too. At the time of this writing, these flashlights are with free shipping. These favorites are super mini sized, bright and waterproof.  Plus, they use a single, standard AA sized battery.

mini Cree_0         

Berkey Water Filter System:  For in home use, nothing beats the Berkey. My own Royal Berkey represents a key component of my water preps.   The Berkey system removes pathogenic bacteria, cysts and parasites entirely and extracts harmful chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides, VOCs, organic solvents, radon 222 and trihalomethanes. It also reduces nitrates, nitrites and unhealthy minerals such as lead and mercury. This system is so powerful it can remove red food coloring from water without removing the beneficial minerals your body needs. Virtually no other system can duplicate this performance.

NALGENE BPA-Free Water Bottle:  These water bottles have served me well.  I fill them up with water from my Royal Berkey and keep one bedside, one at my desk and another in the bathroom.  Keep in mind that price-wise, some colors will be more expensive so if color does not matter, go with the cheapest (currently the green version).

RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports: This compact, three panel, solar charger will charge two devices at once, including tablets, smartphones, Kindles, and even AA/AAA battery chargers.  For more information, read: Gear Review: RAVPower 15W Solar Charger with Dual USB Ports.

First Aid Ammo Kit:  Okay, this is an article and not one single item but I use my first aid kit at least once a week.

Panasonic eneloop AA New 2100 Cycle Ni-MH Pre-Charged Rechargeable Batteries:  These days, I try to use eneloops as much as possible.  They hold a charge forever – or so it seems – and work well in flashlights and small electronics.

Grabber Outdoors Original Space Brand All Weather Blanket:  I was interested in a re-usable emergency blanket so I purchased one of these based upon the excellent reviews.  This space blanket is definitely “heavy duty” compared to the cheapies (not that they don’t have their place because they do).

Maximal Power battery charger from Amazon

Maximal Power FC999 Universal Battery Charger: This nicely built charger will charge charge AA, AAA, C, D, N, 9V, Ni-MH, Ni-CD, and Alkaline batteries. It has an LED display so that when you first put a battery in the charging bay, you know whether it is viable for charging or simply bad and ready to go back to the recycle box.

Preppers Holiday Gift Guide | Backdoor Survival

Amprobe BAT-250 Battery Tester:  I do not know anyone that is sorry they purchased or gifted an inexpensive battery tester.  Mine sits in my desk drawer and is used 3 or 4 times a week.  This newer version is an upgrade from the BAT-200 and well worth the additional dollar in cost.  I  especially like the redesigned side cradle that holds batteries securely in place during testing – no more erratic battery readings from movement off contacts.

Morakniv Craftline Q Allround Fixed Blade Utility Knife: ANOTHER FAVORITE! Also known as the Mora 511, this is now my favorite knife. It is made of Swedish steel and is super sharp.  Many Backdoor Survival have emailed me indicating this is now their favorite knife too.


What are the best oils for your survival kit? Here are my top picks.

9 Best Essential Oils for Your Survival Kit | Backdoor Survival

Aff | Emergency Survival Blanket

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54 Responses to “Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat”

  1. I have a large farm in Northern Arkansas. Lake with a hydroelectric plant. Gas wells for income and uses. My house is about 7500 sq ft. And more than a mile off a dirt road that a school bus travels daily. We garden , have cattle chickens and rabbits. Been here surviving or thriving sense 1988.

  2. Gaye, Please come to Southwest Utah and check it out. Cedar City has the medical and land and such nice people. If you want privacy you can have it.
    St. George is way too hot in the summers but we are just about perfect. Lots to do and lots of close by places to hike and just have fun in.

  3. I have a 5 acre forested beginning homestead in Morgan County, Mo. There are no zoning laws, low taxes, and the people here are really nice. I had hoped to become self-employed here, but things just haven’t worked out. This area is a low wage one, and you typically have to drive a long ways to get to work. During the so-called good times: everyone has a low paying job. During bad times: no jobs, or jobs so far away that one would have to work for several hours each day just to pay for the gas. It would still be an ideal place if one had an on-line business unless it required shipping small quantities every day. The USPS is 12 miles away. A Fedex drop box is 23 miles away. I didn’t know where to start in discovering a non-scam on-line low cost business. I ended up heading first to west Oklahoma, then to west Texas to work in the oil fields 2 years ago right before the price of oil collapsed.
    I was seriously considering making Texas my new home state, but I have found no place that meets my requirements of being close enough to wealthier communities (potential customers of pasture raised poultry) while not living in an urban area except for close to Austin. My research into that area though lead to the discovery that the area is already saturated with farmers markets. It is also the home of Whole Foods, a the area has a pretty large fresh food delivery company that even delivers to the Dallas area. What this means to me is that the price of fresh food is going to drop in that area, and only the established big growers and small producers willing to work for peanuts will remain. I ve also considered the Denton area, but the police departments in that area are corrupt.
    I have therefore decided to move back to Missouri here in a few days. This time I will be living a bit further east where the wages aren’t so low and jobs are more plentiful. I intend to live in an RV park while trying to find odd jobs to do. I will also be looking for fixer-upper pasture land that I can lease long term so that I can raise livestock. Once I find that place, I hope to move my travel trailer there if it has a well and septic.

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