Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat

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

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!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates. When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

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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 | Tactical Pen

[DEAL] Ultimate Concealed Weapon

Tactical Pen / Multi-Tool (Flashlight, knife, etc)

Stay Protected
Aff | Tactical Pen
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54 Responses to “Getting Out of Dodge: The Survival Retreat”

  1. Gaye,

    I’ve been following your blog/website for quite some time now. I have to admit this particular article took me a bit by surprise as I was under the impression (admittedly, now wrongly so) you and yours had found “the spot.”

    Accordingly, I’d like to introduce you to … my parent company has been selling undeveloped land (i.e., prepper properties) in and around Duchesne County, Utah for 25+ years, all with owner financing. Our properties include small campsites as well as larger lots. Our “bread & butter” is in the 5- and 10-acre range, with the occasional parcel going to 20- or even 30-acres (we have those particular mountain properties coming on in the not too distant future).

    Duchesne County is one of the last, if not THE last, “unrestricted” counties in the country. For example, while in the rest of the state a water right must first be purchased before one can drill a well, that’s not the case in Duchesne County. Simply purchase a drilling permit for $150 then contract with a local driller.

    I’d like to invite you to come visit us … both our website and in person. Utah is a GOOD place for preppers!

    Skip Wiarda
    Utah Safe Haven

    • You were not misinformed. This has been the ideal spot for 10 years with the exception that our property does not have the space or the sun for gardening. Things have changed, however, in the last 18 months. Tourists have taken over fostered by the likes of AirBNB and VRBO. Local government refuses to acknowledge or prepare for a disruptive event that would leave them stranded.

      Also, world conditions have changed making this location strategic for military occupation.

      I will check out your site later today.

    • Skip – looked at the website – looks alot like desert so access to water would be of concern as would raising any crops/food – yes, wells can be dug but do run dry especially in dry years. Summer heat might be of concern as well. Also, what about access to high quality medical care?

    • Pepper – I’ve a number of possible retreat properties available, from sagebrush to high mountain. One particularly suited to preppers is 6-1/4 acres – half in flat meadow, half in heavy woods. The west end of the lot (where I’d personally place my cabin) overlooks a lush river valley.

      While true that a well – any well – can run dry, it hasn’t happened on a wide-scale in Duchesne County in recent memory. ANY well can run dry, rivers and streams as well. Our properties are located between/around two large reservoirs.

      Some of the best medical care in the country (I’m particularly enthused about our local VA system) is available in the Salt Lake valley just a short 90-minute drive away.

      If I could be of any further assistance, please let me know.

  2. Suggestion–rural Mississippi. The only criteria not met is that it gets HOT in summer. The upside to that is a very long growing season. There is acreage for sale in Franklin, Amite, and Lincoln parishes. For a little cooler area (not much, but a little) there is the Northeast corner of the state around Corinth.

  3. Missouri is great. Lots of rural area, good healthcare, lower taxes. I love it here. I don’t have the prefect pepper property but I know quite a few that are very well situated. Sounds like a road trip is in order!

    • Northeast Missouri, we are away from the city, I looked at your bucket list the only thing we don’t have are the moderate temperatures you want. Sometimes it gets to 0 and below but not for long at a time. There is plenty of timber for you to have wood heat, there are wells on property, ponds and streams for water, plenty of wildlife for food…..abundant deer, no zoning in rural areas, and plenty of space for gardening.

  4. Interesting article and good list of what you want in a retreat location. The only question I want to pose is this: In a catastrophic event, would you be able to leave the island?

    Then again, I’m assuming you’re talking about moving before the event happens…

    • As you mention, leaving is contingent on selling your present home, a huge factor in today’s economy.
      While laudable, one must ALSO factor in finances WRT the potential job situation. As in will I or my spouse (if applicable) be able to find suitable employment commensurate with my present wages or at least in keeping with cost of living vs newer income) as well as the expense(s) incurred by the move.
      All of these topics are fraught with potential angst and concern.
      I, for one, would be hard pressed to be able to undertake such a HUGE endeavor, especially if there is no friend of family at the other end to lean or rely on for the initial assimilation.
      Of course, it is ALWAYS better to be looking for a (new) job/home in your OWN time and place rather having it thrust upon you unexpectedly. Otherwise, choices and options are far fewer and less desirable.
      Scary indeed!
      Good luck and I wish you the best!

  5. Is a third of an acre really enough? Wouldn’t it be better to have your own source of firewood rather than relying on other people’s trees? In a survival situation, those landowners might not feel like sharing.

    • We live in Upper East Tennessee at the foot of a large mountain. The weather is great for gardening and we have access to lots of streams. I can’t think of anywhere that would be better. Taxes are low and real estate is reasonable. I’m not sure how long the cost of living will remain low. We have no state income tax. Where I live we have chickens and goats. This used to be farming country. Hope you find the perfect spot.

  6. With the exception of “excellent cell service” you have described my home to a T. We have a 9.9 acre wooded lot surrounded by another 200 acres of woods. We have a pond and a 2000 square foot garden surrounded by fruit tree, grapes and berries. The wild life is so abundant that we had to put up an electric fence to keep them out of the garden.(we have solar panel backup for the fence and small electronics.)We are in N.E. Ohio 32 mile south east of Cleveland and 30 miles north of Akron. I have spent the last 20 years developing this “Walden” and couldn’t feel more secure.

  7. This is exactly where I am. We love the Pacific Northwest, BUT the land we were on was leased out from under us this past December. Fortunately, I hadn’t sold my house in Mississippi so we had a place to move to. We’re much older than you, which made it a hard task. We’ve been back for 6 months.We’re in the process of getting the house ready for sale which was our intent being the same as yours.

    It isn’t easy, Gaye, with years of accumulation and children of mine considering my home as The place to store their own possessions. I’m also known as a ‘clean’ hoarder. If I can’t use something, I’ll take it because someone else might be able to use it. The house and garage are full. Like you, I continue to prepare for the inevitable (my family calls it INCASA) and learning new skills. There’s a longgggg list of things to do and yep, I don’t feel I have the time to sleep.

    Your criteria has been the same for me, except the acreage. I don’t want to be greedy, yet 2-3 acres would surfice. I’m hoping God’s grace will point us to the Ozark area of Arkansas or Missouri. Actually near a wooded mountainous area far away from a coastline would be a blessing.

    • I doubt that I am much younger than you and my husband, Shelly is 10 years older than me. As much as I hate to admit it, age does have to play a factor in our choice of location. I wish we had done this 20 years ago.

  8. Gaye, I can’t remember… do you have children? Parents still living? How do you deal with them and bugging out? Are they interested? Cooperative? This has been my biggest concern: how do I get my folks out of dodge safely. They are willing, but I’m not sure, other than via vehicle, that they would be physically able to go. They are healthy, but in their 80s. My approach has been that if I cannot get them out, then I’m staying. Any other suggestions or experience you can share on this?

  9. Gaye, I am so happy you wrote this article. Ecstatically happy. You speak truth. All of your reasons for leaving the island are of critical importance.

    I’ve been spending a couple hours a day looking at locations. My first choices, South Dakota and New Hampshire, are not going to be my final choice. I keep factoring new criteria.

    My husband and I are far from young. And we are very settled. We are rural but as the crow flies we are way too close to a major city and nuclear reactor. Lacking good backyard sun, only brackish water, no mountains and idiotic firearms laws.

    We have begun a Dave Ramsey style debt repayment plan so that we will have options in about two years. Might not be soon enough.

    Best wishes for your search.

  10. Gaye,
    I have worried about your island location since I first signed on to your site. The thought of being stuck, surrounded by water doesn’t appeal to me. I guess your AZ experience didn’t work out. Being in AZ myself, that location wouldn’t have worked for me. We are in SE AZ against the Mtns and the only criteria of yours that we don’t have is 20 min. from health care. If we were that close to healthcare, we would be too close to civilization. There is helicopter service in an emergency. Good luck in your search.

  11. Gaye, The mountains of western North Carolina meet all your criteria and there is much land available. Anything from 1/4 acre lots right on up to 150+ retreat acres with woods, water, privacy, grazing areas, out buildings in place and more. Check out and we can find you what your looking for.

  12. Northern Idaho is pretty spot on for everything except for your climate requirements. I hit -20°F but I am waaaay in the mountains. Lower down it only goes to about 5°F. Wildfires are also a problem. However, the people are great and mostly like-minded; fishing, hunting, and trapping abilities are not just allowed but strongly encouraged; tons of lakes, creeks, and rivers that are full of fish; gun ownership is viewed as common sense; the homestead tax exemption means your primary residence only pays 1/2 the yearly tax; sales tax is 6%; and Coeur d’Alene and Hayden have a surprising amount of stores with Spokane being within driving distance for true emergencies/rarities. -Northern- Idaho also enjoys a complete lack of venomous snakes, scorpions, and almost no dangerous spiders. Southern Idaho is a different story.

    On the Con side, you have the weather, trees, and employment. Weatherwise, the winters can be incredibly tough. Several feet of snow is not uncommon, neither are thunderstorms in the spring, both of which lead to powerouts. The trees are primarily pine, and pine is not good for cooking, burning, growing under, or really doing anything except extracting tar and carving. Depending on your job, employment opportunities can be harder to come by. Then again, that’s kind of common all across the country these days.

    Best of luck to you and your family. I used to live on Whidbey and my Grandpa told me all about when they mined the Sound in WWII.

  13. Hi Gayle, it sounds like you are making a wise decision moving from where you are. I know that you want to get into homesteading and because of that I would like to make one suggestion: go for more than 1/3 acre!! You don’t need big barns and big machinery, but to make the whole system work you DO need space for a good-sized compost heap, cold frame(s)/greenhouse, chicken coop and/or goat shelter and the ability to rotate your crops. From experience I would suggest that 2 acres should be your minimum. Best of luck!

  14. Your article made me feel pretty good about my situation. We have sold our home in the Houston, Texas area and buying a small home about 100 miles north of here, with several outbuildings and a 14 kw Generac, backup generator already installed. Heat is propane. The property is adjacent to forest, so have plenty of wood available if needed. There is about a 1/2 acre of cleared area for a nice sized garden. One thing I really like is that we are more than 20 miles as the crow flies from any major highway and about 5 1/2 miles from the nearest town. We have a small pond on the property, so will always have access to water. One thing I hope to add is a couple of bee hives for the garden and the honey. Although we have lived in town for over 20 years, I have a small garden and 6 laying hens on a small city lot. I am more than ready for this move.

    • Hey Don, we used to be in Tomball, just outside of Houston and the thought of being that close to a couple million people in the event of a serious situation is terrifying. We moved to Northern Michigan and convinced my adult son and his girlfriend to do the same. We have 4 acres, a garden, chickens, a well with a hand pump in the event of a power outage, and a defensible situation. I sleep so much better …

  15. as I write this from my son’s I am also struck by making sure we stay healthy. We (DH & I) took off for our son’s in GA last Thursday . I had what the doctor called a slight sinus infection and gave me meds to take. Unfortunately by the time we got to GA it had developed into a severe enough infection that put me in the hospital AND to add insult to injury, my car which HAD been checked out blew the timing chain and two valves in
    TN on the way down.I want to find something to go to when SHTF with the family and friends but I do declare Fate seems to be working against right now I hope you find what you want and it won’t take too long to acquire the land. I have a friend that after 4 years of fighting they may lose the land and everything they’ve put into it
    God Bless Gaye.

    • Blessings back to you, Kathy. I hope you are on the mend and don’t give up on your quest to find the a place to land if the SHTF. Proximity to good healthcare is high on our list given our ages. As much as I do as much as I can with essential oils and natural remedies, they can only go so far. I have many books on Survival Medicine just in case but still, I hope it never gets to that.

    • Thank you Gaye,I am on the mend , got the car back yesterday but coming up the mtn the V-Tech valve blew. We limped back to son’s in GA and one of their mechanics got us in this morning and we have (knock wood) a car to make it back to Michigan. Monique, it sounds like you all lucked out, congrats. We are central MI and while there is farm land around. It has been “poisoned” IMO by the GMO crops AND I fear the few “organic, natural” truck farms will be forced out.This is the first time in quite a few years the hubs and I have not grown anything, due to health issues and surgeries.SO I am also worried about being physically able to provide.Plus we are so close to a major city that we WILL be over run by those that think they can just take what I’ve put back. I have REALLY tried to talk to DH but he thinks nothing is ever going to happen and I’m “preparing for Armageddon” but I just can’t shake off my uneasiness about what is coming. I NEVER used to be this way, you know, just made sure you have “emergency” supplies and make do, use up,etc.
      Karen, You probably won’t have to worry about the Detroiters heading that far north,too cold and it’s mostly state land, they’ll most likely hit the central and south of Michigan,first.Where most of the Amish, Mennonite farms are and they will keep heading South like locust. Sorry for the vitriol but I was born and raised in the Detroit area and have watched Mayor after Mayor and Council members treat the City like their private fiefdom and ruin it.
      Before it gets too bad DH’s job took us to where we are now that’s why I’m not there still.

  16. Monique, I’ve been looking at the far north of Michigan on a map. I’m very interested in learning how strong is the separation from the highly populated Detroit area. Would the urban and suburban people’s go that far north in a disaster? The lower part of MI is already economically depressed, and there was that big water crisis. People there have already suffered a lot.

    And what about that northern peninsula that connects to Wisconsin? Does that belong to MI?It really looks like the perfect remote area. Thanks in advance for your input. BTW I don’t care how cold it gets.

    • Karen, I have to start by saying that we did not choose Northern Michigan for ‘prepping’ purposes; we had the option to come here from Houston for my husband’s work. After a couple of visits we decided that yes, we would like to move here for the slower pace, lack of traffic, proper seasons and overall beauty of the place. At that point I was just starting to become interested in prepping and the more I learned, the more I realized what a great place this is. There is water everywhere, there are woods everywhere and land and property is cheap. It is very easy to be remote but still within very easy distance from a town with the necessary amenities. There is also a strong local food culture here, with people growing their own food, excellent farmers markets etc., as well as a strong hunting and fishing culture.
      To answer your questions: it is a good 4 ½ hour drive from where we are to Detroit. It is my feeling, based on no real facts, that people from the Detroit area would be more likely to move south in a disaster, knowing that there are lots of big farms in the central states where they would expect to find food. Because Northern Michigan kind of ‘dead ends’ in the Great Lakes I think most people would not consider it a good direction to go.
      The peninsula that connects to Wisconsin is the UP, the Upper Peninsula, and it is part of Michigan. It is further north from where we are and consequently colder, but that obviously doesn’t bother you. I haven’t visited there yet but it is very popular with hunters and fishermen and is by all accounts very beautiful.
      All in all I feel that we are kind of ‘away from it all’ in this relatively undiscovered little corner of the US and that makes me feel quite safe.

    • I would caution anyone considering moving to the UP to visit there in January! It is DEEP snow country. When you see pictures of people digging down in the snow to their houses that is the type of snow I’m talking about.

  17. By those criteria, I am already there, consider if you will, Ohio, lots of natural resources, proven agricultural land, and you can buy acres for relatively reasonable rates. Amish country provides even better steps for prepping, lots of non electric machines, already lots of homesteading going on, and buying local is easier than ever, oh, and many folks round these parts already barter

  18. Monique, Thank you so much. This is wonderful information. I’m excited about directing my research efforts there. My ex is from there and I sort of felt like I need to stay out of his turf, but what you described sounds perfect. I really like the sense of community you described with local food. Thank you again.

  19. We also are looking to find that ‘perfect spot’ to up and move to. Everything on the list is on ours, but I think I would add to your list – given the climatic changes ahead for our world, an area that doesn’t have tornados, hurricanes, tsunamis and brutal winters with abundant snowfall. PLEASE please let us know what you find….I am hopefully there is actually something out there that might meet all your criteria, but believe that there will have to be compromises. One compromise I am not willing to make at our senior age is access to medical care – very necessary and critical at this point in our lives – and not only access but quality.
    We currently live in King County WA. Can’t tell you how many people I meet in dr waiting rooms here who have made the trip from places like Blaine, Bellingham, Mt. Vernon – all because they wanted/needed the highest care possible by the best dr/surgeons. Not willing to travel 2 hours to access that.

    We were vacationing on Kaui in 1992 during Hurricane Iniki – and the aftermath was as you describe your fears – an island full of tourists that needed to be relocated asap. We were thrilled to be able to be flown off the island 5 days after… which really brought to light what it is like after a natural disaster, especially on an island which is only accessible via water or air.

  20. Hi P, responding to your comment about the super deep snow on the UP in MI. Perhaps an A-Frame house would be best? Are there people who just don’t leave their homes all winter? Prepping for such a severe winter is very much in line with what we’re doing as readers of BDS.

    Any idea how many cords of wood it takes to get through winter? I guess the biggest issue is building a home with space to hold five cords. Just guessing.

    Having an attached structure that is accessible from the house, while heavily insulating the house from the structure, would provide wood storage plus frozen meat could be stored there too.

    And bagged garbage. And tightly sealed compost bins for storing the sawdust and humanure from the composting toilet until it can be taken outside.

    And some way to access the snow without creating an avalanche coming through the door. Melted snow could provide water for the whole winter. Maybe an upstairs window.

    Trappers must have lived in this area for centuries without utilities. The trick is finding unzoned land.

    I am so miserable in the heat and humidity where I live now. I barely leave the house from May-October. But everyone else is outside. Being snowed in but able to enjoy summer sounds really good to me.

    • Summers are extremely short so any gardening of warm weather crops would have to start indoors. I’ve been in the UP in winter but never lived there. I did homestead in MN years ago in a similar climate but minus such deep snow. It takes A LOT of snow to make any quantity of water plus a lot of heat energy to melt it! You wouldn’t want to store more than a days worth of wood in the house (bugs….) usually a lean to close to the house is best but not against the house (bugs including termites). How much woods depends on the type of wood. Soft woods burn fast so you need more than with hard woods. You will also need to “season” your wood for a year (dry it out) before using. Most of the year you will be living on the food you stored so you need to be an efficient gardener and very knowledgable of proper planting times for each crop as with a short growing season a week can make the difference weather you harvest a crop or not.

  21. The mountains of South Carolina have all your criteria. That is where my bug out house is located. Rich soil for gardens, fruit trees thrive, water and abundant wildlife. Mountain residents have always been preppers as a way of life.

  22. I am fairly new to prepping and currently living apartment life in a small town in South Dakota. Unfortunately I can’t seem to find anyone around here who has the same prepping/survival interests. My dream is to someday live the cabin life in a mountain area and be able to survive without modern conveniences that I have come to rely on for so long. Currently I am doing more stocking up on learning skills than much else and will be attempting canning within the next few weeks. I am also attempting gardening for the first time in my life,(in large pots on my front porch).Since I am in my 50’s my friends here think I am nuts but I believe with all my heart that we all need to get prepared for the worst. I just wish I had started much sooner.Any information anyone has to share is greatly appreciated.

  23. Having read this article and all the comments, I am envious of many of the responses and writers.
    I am, by choice and upbringing, a Desert Rat and truly prefer the WIDE open spaces living in the area of SW AZ, but understand the trials and tribulations my existence entails.
    That said, I would HONESTLY LOVE to have the means to relocate to one of the areas as described by some of the contributors. I am single(divorced) and on my own with a dog and a long-term Fiancée who is NOT in any way shape or form involved on the prepper mindset, nor does she want to be, sadly. She leaves me with all the details and cannot be bothered, I’m sad to say.
    My kids don’t have anything to do with me (the ex poisoned them to me AFTER the divorce) so nothing is holding me back except for finances (ruined due to medical and job issues in recent years) thus my options are limited BIG TIME!
    That said, I’m in an area not too close to town on two acres with potential but the heat, lack of my own well and soil issues make gardening a challenge at best. However, my neighbors are all independent minded, friendly and our properties adjoin and are defensible should the SHTF. This is a big plus for all of us IMO.
    Unless I were to come into a large financial windfall (COME ON, LOTTO!!) I’ll have to stick it out here for the foreseeable future.
    As I mentioned, I have no kids to hold back a !ove were it possible, my folks have passed and the only family of any worth is just beginning to open his eyes to what is going on around the country but, with a new family, he’d be hard pressed to pack it in and relocate unless something REALLY dire were to happen, but by then his options would be sorely limited.
    He does have the financial means to prep and prep well, so I’m providing him the info and hoping he will accelerate his prepping plans and, at least, get out of town from the close quarters subdivision he lives in now.
    Considering I’ve been a prepper/survivalist for the better part of five decades, one would think I’d have it all figured out and I’d be “set,” but life/family choices and career considerations are all compromises we all make and have to learn to deal with in their own time.
    If only I had known then, as the saying goes.
    God Bless and good luck to us all!
    (PS, sorry if there are any misspellings or punctuation errors. I’m typing this on a tablet which doesn’t lend itself to easiy manipulation.)

  24. We moved from California to Washington state Puget sound then on to Missouri. After the ice storm of 2007 with 12 days without electricity the light bulb went off. I had been gardening and had frozen everything and did not know how to can or preserve food, what a rude awakening.

    I’ve learned a lot since then. Installed wood stove, rain barrels, solar system learned how to can, dehydrate and preserve food. We have our own chickens and 90 % of what we eat we grow, barter. We’ve learned about natural medicine and after my husband had multiple cancer surgeries all with in 6 months, it was God and natural medicine that saved his life.

    I scour the Internet for more knowledge and information that can enhance what I already know or educate me more. That’s how I stumbled into you. I have sent people to your site countless times. One of the skills I wanted was natural medicine, so I am a certified herbalist consultant and a natural medicine practitioner, make my own line of successful products and teach an herbal class once a month to share the wealth.

    I have found Missouri to be a wonderful place to live and if you are so led, you will find what you are looking for here as well. It also happens to fall into one of the safe zones in the USA.
    God bless you search, may your house sell quickly and may you be led to the right place. Thank you for all you do.

    • I am very intuitive when it comes to essential oils but herbs? Not so much. Although I have read and studied, I hesitate to rely on herbal remedies but know that I need to do better. Perhaps you can share some of your knowledge with us?

  25. Buffy, really like your comment. I’m inspired by all that you have learned and done to have a life in which you feel safe and self sufficient. Thanks be to God for your husband’s recovery.

    I would love to hear more about what makes Missouri a safe zone. Although I spend countless hours checking various criteria, I can’t seem to find a place that meets my objectives.

    If you would be interested in discussing location factors by email,
    Thanks, Karen

    • I would also like to hear about ‘safe zones’. I’m just starting to learn about all of this. It seems like every time I think I know where a safe zone might be, something drastic happens there…

  26. My family is currently planning a different approach. Our goal is to safely remain in place for 3 months or so. After that, if things unfold the way most predict, we may have our choice of many properties to which we can relocate for the long term.

  27. It sounds (judging by your property criteria) like you are looking for heaven on earth. I have mulled over and over thoughts of where the perfect place might be. (with a list very similar to yours) I come up with none. And I have an honest question: even if you do find your ‘perfect’ place, how would you secure it? If (or when) the SHTF happens, my thought is that people will be stealing and killing and whatever else they have to do to survive. How is it possible to protect your animals and garden and fire wood 24/7/365??

  28. One of Mel Tappen’s better ideas was that of living in a place that’s about a gas tank away from a major metro area. Find such an area and become known to and valuable to the locals.


    • I agree and would suggest one additional idea along those lines.
      Learn the times/seasons for the various crops for the area and make it a point to visit and be ready to volunteer some time and labor to help in the harvest of whatever has come ripe to get in good terms with your neighbors. It may take several attempts and actual hands-on events to prove your “valuable neighbor” status but could pay back HUGE dividends should the SHTF.
      Not only for helping a needy neighbor, receiving help in return, but also learning what crops are being grown, the ways to grow it/them, AND maybe gets some fresh fruits and veggies etc., all of which could become invaluable come hard times.
      Just some additional food for thought. 😉

  29. just about Anywhere in the rural or semi rural south east would meet your requirements
    the area where GA, SC, NC and TN all meet would be a great place to start looking.

    In fact I have a place for sale in Hiwassee GA that may meet most or all of your requirements, not a lot of trees, but plenty of sun

    earning a living is the hard part in a rural area.

    for the person wanting to shelter in pllace for 3 months, sometimes thats the best thing, but you gotta have a real strong bunker that you cant be flooded or smoked out, and some way to pursuade the bad guys to go elsewhere, like hidden flamethrowers or alot of buried automotive airbag landmines


    • There’s no need to shout which is precisely what one is doing when one uses all caps. You’re correct Michael, people will find you wherever you go. Unless one lives under a rock. I think the intent (if I may, Gaye) of this article and discussion in the comments is to maybe help someone ‘find’ a place with the criterior (specific to Their needs, of course) to homestead, live each day to the best of their ability ON that homestead, and to learn as much as they can and implement what they’ve learned on that homestead. I personally love my home, and my home state, BUT I am smack dab in the middle of a small town with nosey neighbors who know every little move I make, the lot floods after each hard rain (it didn’t when I was growing up), if a really bad situation arose I and those who depend on me wouldn’t feel safe, and the list can go on. The point I’m making is To Each His Own, Michael Ponzani. Each of us would like (AND possibly find a place that suits Each. Of. Us. For some it’s just a dream, Michael. For others the dream is becoming a reality. Whatever that place may be if I found it I’d move in a heartbeat regardless of whether I’d ‘be found’. Anyone want to buy a home as is right in the heart of a small town in the south? I’m ready to move!

    • Michael, if you find this topic offensive to you, WHY DO YOU BOTHER TO READ IT AND RESPOND WITH PROFANITY?!?!?
      Dude. Seriously. Just move on without the rancor, Umkay?
      Otherwise, I disagree with your assertion that you can always be found. While you might be correct, chances are if an individual searches enough and is willing to truly get off the grid, it CAN be done.
      You may have been “STUDDING”(sic) this stuff for “years” but folks like myself have been “Studying” this stuff for DECADES, and KNOW better.
      So for those who are searching for that perfect spot that meets your needs, don’t give up.
      EVERYTHING in life is a series of tradeoffs, but given the drive and resources, it CAN be achieved!
      Good Luck.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

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