Isolation, Neighbors, Security and the Golden Rule
This week we’ll look into some characteristics of retreat shopping that normally won’t become an issue until you have actually spent time “in theater” and have narrowed your search to several possible retreat properties to purchase. After taking the time to look at the properties available through SurvivalRealty.com and/or working with an experienced local agent in your selected retreat region, you should eventually work your list up to perhaps a half dozen prospective retreat properties that are on the market. . Then it is time to whittle that list down, by selecting the “best of the best”.
First, let’s assume that you are purchasing a retreat that will someday become a full time residence, but maybe not for a few year, yet you’ll need to get it stocked and prepped so you have a place to go should the SHTF. Some things to consider would be the lifestyle that a certain property will afford you both pre- and post-TEOTWAWKI and the security of your supplies while your retreat is unoccupied.
The quality of your immediate neighbors will be very important, especially for someone that may have a young family in tow. Providing the family with a home in an area that will afford certain socialization opportunities for all the family members. That should be high on the check off list in the final stages of a retreat purchase, as friendly self sufficient neighbors will become invaluable during a crisis. So, how would one learn about the neighbors? Knock on their door of course. Your real estate agent might become a little unnerved but who cares, it’s your life, right? (If your agent offers to run rear security while you talk to the new neighbors, you got a good one, let’s get ’em on the Blog!). If you have narrowed your search down to one or two properties I would simply go neighbor snooping. Introduce yourself and be forthcoming (to an extent of course, don’t tell them you read SurvivalBlog, yet) and let them know you are contemplating purchasing the property nearby and wanted to get an idea of who is in the neighborhood. And remember, these neighbors will most likely have anywhere from 5 to 100 acres maybe more so make it an all day journey.
Ask them if they do any canning, hunting, fishing, if they home school, raise livestock, or grow organically, et cetera. (These are all good buzz words to check for self sufficiency.) Get a little dialog going then ask them a few questions about the locale and once they get going just smile and listen. You’d be real surprised at what you’ll here in a small town. Really. Also, be sure to ask them where they moved from and why, this will give you an eye into who they are and what their motivations may be towards newcomers. Your neighbors need not be SurvivalBloggers, they simply have to be trustworthy (easy to find in smaller towns) and demonstrate some sort of self-reliance skills (noted above). It does help if they actually like you enough to want to watch your property while your not there also.
Being isolated in a cabin 20 miles from the nearest paved road may sound like fun, and it may be better in a total social collapse but remember, you have to live your life in between now and then. Being able to walk a few hundred yards to ask a neighbor for help with a tough chore or to drop off a freshly baked pie will add a lot to your family’s life, whether you are religious or not. If you have kids you’ll need to be comfortable with little Johnny walking a 1/4 mile to his friends house and vise-versa knowing each neighbor along the way does a mental check off as they see your child run by their home and will call you if they don’t see him come back home by nightfall. A sense of community is important, don’t leave it out of your checklist.
Well, what about commute time (convenience) versus isolation and security? My take on the matter is that I would rather commute longer than I would like for the next who knows how many working years I have left, than to live too close to a cesspool of society that I know will come looking for a handout should something ever happen, thus possibly threatening the safety of my loved ones. If you have to drive an extra 30 minutes to your 9 to 5 job to guarantee that the urban sprawl will not surround your retreat in 10 or 15 years, then suck it up and do it. You’ll thank yourself one dark day in the future! Remember, any property you see that you think is “out there” from a city dwellers perspective, will have a gas station (or storage unit for that matter) next door to it in 20 years, as the baby-boomers move out of the cities and some of the rest of the horde get smart and punch out as well. Location, location and most importantly, location! Saving a dollar may cost you a pound of lead someday!
Next on the list would be the security of your very valuable supplies, be it firearms/ammo, food and clothing stores and/or general survival supplies that you have worked hard to get over the years. This is one item that a lot of retreat shoppers don’t concentrate on very much. They assume that somehow a magic survivalist angel will hover over their cached gear and keep it safe. Not a chance. Better to presume that everyone within 5 miles will know the old “Jones Ranch” was sold and that the new owner is some out-of-towner that just vacations there. One more reason to have good and trustworthy neighbors who have a visual on your property and are like-minded.
Now, should someone break in (an assume they will, because, they will) you’ll need to construct a storage room with a false wall and hidden entrance so all that they get is the old Readers Digest on the toilet. Personally, my thoughts are that no retreat should be without a basement, either full or a walk-out will do. Either way, you’ll want to pick a back corner and have it walled off with concrete and a safe door as well as a solar-powered climate controlled system. I’m sure there are countless articles on the Blog about how to do this so I won’t waste time in detail, but just make sure that the wall and door are completely covered from prying eyes and hands. It also would be prudent to have a trusted friend that lives in the area come check the place out every week or so just to make sure all is well and you don’t have a disaster like a broken pipe waiting to fill your house for months until you arrive for that holiday trip to the retreat. That person could also help with logistics. Why ship supplies to yourself then drive them to your retreat, when they can be shipped direct and placed in your retreat by that person (a neighbor you get to know over time?) Who knows.
So to recap, make sure your retreat will provide a good social base and trusted neighbors (location!) as well as having a basement or out building for a secure storage room(s) to be built, concealed, and maintained. If these two items are checked off during your final purchasing phase then you’ll be much happier should you actually have to live full-time at your retreat, either by choice or happenstance.
Oh, and the Golden Rule? Naw, it’s the one who has the most lead that rules! God Bless, – Todd S. in northern Idaho