It All Started Three Years Ago

Three years ago, our lives were drastically altered from what we were both used to and what we consider to be the norm in

Ciy-fied.
Ciy-fied.

America. Looking back on the lives we used to live, the daily struggles then compared to our daily struggles now, the awesome experiences we’ve had all jammed into a short timeline, and the effect its had on the lives of our children, I’d never go back to the way things were and intend to live this way for the rest of what may very well be a short life.

It all started with a prayer.

Three years ago, my wife and I felt like we were spinning our wheels and getting nowhere very fast. I was working anywhere from 60 to 84 hours a week, not including my commute. She was running her business part time and when she wasn’t doing that, she was raising our kids (pretty much by herself) AND going to school full time. Don’t ask me how but we also managed to squeeze in a full gym schedule (Kristina had entered a fitness competition), watched our diet, and still found the time to cook awesome meals and party. Many times, Kristina would just cook the meals and perfectly time them so that they would get done right after I got home from a long day.

Our life was good. We made great money, had fun together when we did get to see each other, and when I did have a couple of days off, we went at them full bore organizing fishing trips with lots of kids, great food, and drinks to party with. 466237_2726875351515_1849403705_oSomething was wrong though. Most of our interaction with each other occurred in Facebook chat. We barely ever saw each other. Half of the time, there was someone else raising our kids. We were both getting about 4 hours of sleep a night just so we could spend an hour or two lounging on the couch watching The Office episodes before bed. Even then, I’d fall asleep during them most of the time. Despite our good income and conservative spending, we were still renting an apartment in a ghetto-ish neighborhood of Reno. Buying the remote property of our dreams and building a house on it seemed like a complete pipe dream. At best, we were looking at saving money for a minimum of 5 years before we could get started on even the most modest form of self-sustainable living.

One evening, after discussing the revolving daily activity of our rat race lives, we prayed about it. We asked God for the

LOVE - Represent!
LOVE – Represent!

direction about where we should be going and what we should be doing with our lives. The next morning, I woke at 3:45 am to get ready for work. From the moment my head left the pillow, I had this massive urge to leave the city. I felt completely compelled to bail on our current life, to find some remote place, live in a self-sustaining way, and to get my family there much sooner than 5 or 10 years. It wasn’t a dream anymore but an answer. It was clear in my mind that what I considered to be some distant kind of dream probably wasn’t a dream at all but was God’s plan for my life. I just wasn’t listening. I wasn’t listening and I had no faith.

A few hours later after Kristina had gotten the kids up, fed them, ditched them with the babysitter and made it to work, she Facebooked me, “I don’t think we’re supposed to be here. From the moment I woke this morning, I have this massive urge to leave the city and get some remote property somewhere.” Well, that was it. The plan went into overdrive.

Looking at the property for the first time.
Looking at the property for the first time.

We instantly began looking at the different States to decide where we’d buy property. This started with quickly reading and dissecting of Joel Skousen’s Strategic Relocation. From there, using the data in his book that we felt was most accurate based on our own personal knowledge of certain areas, we decided on a certain part of the US that we thought would be best and most affordable for us. We didn’t think we’d be able to actually afford any property for years but we prayed about it again as a husband and wife and POOF! Lo and behold, there it was. Literally, the day after praying about it, my wife found the perfect property on Craigslist. It was listed for about 10% of its market value. We talked them down about 30% of their listed price and bought it, cash, in December of 2013.

From there on out, things got more interesting. We sold about 90% of our possessions to give ourselves a good cash cushion, bought a used 26 foot travel trailer for $700, remodeled it with things we mostly acquired for free (spent $200 total,

Road trip to the property!
Road trip to the property!

mostly on flooring), and then in March of 2014, we bailed out of Reno and headed to our soon to be new home.

We soon found ourselves in an extremely old fashioned part of the country. Just the way we like it. From there, we began working on the property immediately. It had zero improvements. We are talking zero. There wasn’t a trail on the damn thing. We worked on it until late Fall, made a ton of improvements, cleared a house site, hand dug a footer, and then realized we weren’t going to finish the house

Ah, camping!
Ah, camping!

before the snows came. Again, we prayed about it. The next day, we bought a cab-over camper and after a week of work on it that costed us about $20 in silicone, we left to spend 5 months hunting and fishing for the winter in the southwestern US. The experiences we had during this winter alone are worth another 20 posts! We never spent a dime to park it anywhere. Basically, we were off grid the entire winter. I’ll share more on that later…

Hauling some logs...
Hauling some logs…

Anyways, we headed back up towards our property the next Spring. We couldn’t resist a 6 weeks camp out at our favorite river near our property. We hunted and fished our butts off, read a lot, hiked, and sun bathed. Seriously? This is our life? Two thumbs up from me. After that, once the dirt had firmed up a good bit, we headed on up the 650 foot switch-backed driveway we built the spring before and got working on the property again. In 2014, we had an AWESOME garden, put in some serious water storage (there is a seasonal spring on the property), and built a cabin with the help of some very rad friends and family. The cabin cannot be seen from any adjacent property but one, our property backs up to 1.5 million acres of national park, and is 1/2 mile from any utilities and neighbors. Does it get any better than that? Sure, if you are willing to drive your kids 2 hours to an ER when the unexpected happens. I’m pretty sure this is about the best you can get within 45 minutes of an ER.

Things got even more awesome. We were living life we’d wanted even though we never really knew it. Hunting, fishing,

Beers.
Beers.

scrounging, dropping trees, being in complete control over our lives, scaring off would be neighbor meth-heads, pulling guns on trespassers, getting it done, representing, RLTW, clearing our own trails, goat farming, chickens, massive garden, meeting a few others like us (most aren’t), parties, working on trucks, work, work, work, beers, lots of beers, and in general just kicking butt on life in a way I never thought was possible. It’s a long story and I’ll share it in bits and pieces later.

We are where we are now because of a couple of comical comments between the two of us one evening. We decided to start looking at sailboats. We’ve both always wanted one but just couldn’t make it happen at those times in our lives. To make a long story short, we started looking, found one we really liked, prayed about it, and God literally handed us the exact sale price of the boat the next day in CASH. I’m not joking. There is a pattern here, obviously. Unexpectedly, a very good friend of ours came over one day and said, “I want you guys to have this,” and handed us a huge wad of cash.

Life in the woods is always a good time!
Life in the woods is always a good time!

Since then, we’ve done some serious repairs to the Cheoy Lee Bermuda 30 that we bought, bought our dream boat that is completely unfinished, but the Cheoy Lee should net us plenty to fix the other boat up and give us a good cruising bankroll. Life is grand and things are cooking along at an awesome pace. Dual citizenship, margaritas in Mexico, and property in Chile are on the horizon!

Overall, our life is unbelievable to me more often than not. I just burst out laughing at times, unable to contain the joy of the moment or even the thought that this is truly my life. What could be in store for us next? We’ve got our plans but we’ll have to see how they coincide with God’s…

Here’s to living to the fullest! Cheers!

J

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