Guest Post: Bugging Out of the D.C. Burbs
(And now a few words from my better half on creating a lifestyle change we can live with. - Cognitive Dissonance)
If there is one thing I dramatically misjudged during the great looting of the past five years, it has been the depth of the bag of tricks the banksters and politicians could use to perpetuate the game. How many times have we said in the threads here at Zero Hedge "This is it. Cue the deer Tyler"? We fall for it again and again. The dungeon masters are so artful in their game to pit us against each other simply because it works. If we are focused on "them" we are not focused on "us." Whether it is them at the NSA or the perceived enemies of the state, the state itself, or the crooks at 33 Liberty, our angry energy is collected and dispelled in ranting threads which are largely unproductive at bringing about any real change. In the end, we can only change ourselves. I think self reliance is perhaps the most important act of revolutionary change available.
Whether change comes roaring into our lives express freight train style via collapse or as a crumbling away of the periphery of what we thought made our individual world stable, the leading edge of the storm is here. Change is here whether we like it or not. Options are still available, but it is getting harder and harder to maneuver. Cog and I have elected to completely change our lifestyle so that we can at least try to deflect or redirect the nature of the change rather than waiting for it to be forced upon us.
After spending many months choosing the criteria we would use to best position our family for the future, there were several discoveries. There is no shortage of cheaply priced homes for sale in very rural areas. Although it is not "the norm" yet, other city folks are bugging out (permanently) to live in the sticks. Within a week of putting our new home under contract there were two other contingent cash offers on it. We had considered waiting to buy because the prices would be dropping dramatically when that shadow inventory hits the market. But we don't really know that for certain.
If inflation has set in when the excess housing inventory becomes available then we could miss the opportunity to buy at today's prices. What if capital controls (something we cannot accurately time) prevent us from moving funds around to pay for the property? We actually liquidated some of our PMs so that we would have no mortgage, considering it the act of trading one precious tangible asset for another. What if it becomes illegal or a huge red flag to sell physical gold or silver? The truth is no one really knows just what future constraints the banking or political elite will impose upon us so we have chosen to err on the side of caution.
Conversations we’ve had with a wide variety of people were by far the most revealing aspect of our decision to move. While interviewing the first moving company representative we found that there was an unusual trend going on in the DC area. People were moving in and out in droves, a phenomenon we were told usually only occurs immediately after a presidential election brings a change in leadership to usher out the old and in with the new. Not only were people moving out of DC to all the usual places such as the West Coast, Texas, and Florida, but there was a large and peculiar exodus to strange out of the way locations such as Montana, Colorado and the Dakotas. She was at a loss to explain why.
Our neighbors, mostly employees of the Federal government or companies who support it, have had interesting reactions to our news about moving far away. When we get to the part where we somewhat tactfully say, "we don't think things will be improving anytime soon with the economy or other conditions in this country..." everyone nods vehemently in agreement. They know. They, like us, support the very system that is bringing about our social destruction, yet we are all bound to operate within it. Complete strangers who we strike up conversations with, like vendors who come to work on our current house and see our boxes ready to move, all understand why we would leave a nice, large condo and move to a house on a mountain in the middle of nowhere. I keep expecting someone to ask if we have lost our minds, but no one does. The cat appears to be out of the bag.
Of our numerous encounters with present and former government workers, the more "inside" their experience and knowledge (their naturally gained intel) the more adamant their agreement is that indeed something wicked this way comes. One former Special Forces and FBI employee, now a small businessman, practically said run. <Talk about confirmation endorphins clobbering you over the head.> Thank you sir, I am in scadaddling mode!
This whole self sufficiency thing isn't easy either. Having heirloom (non hybrid) seeds doesn't imply organic gardening knowledge, let alone the ability to preserve the food and the seeds for next season. I have spent more time in the past year reading about herbal, alternative and emergency medicine than reading charts or attempting to trade. Although I have no intention of deliberately living without electricity (the new place has DSL and central heat/air), I am trying to prepare to take us off grid if only to combat future soaring energy costs. Hand tools for the garden, manual systems to cut logs for the “water” wood stove, solar panels for certain necessities... I am still astounded as I learn how "not" self sufficient I have lived my entire life without ever realizing it.
Acquiring the tools and the knowledge to begin living this way has been an adventure unto itself. It turns out it is far less expensive to buy books than to use all the printer ink and paper to print and retain, then learn the new skills we’ll need. Although I will certainly use it as long as I can, I am not depending upon electricity to enable me to read my .pdf eBooks and articles because that would require me to rely on outside help, in this case the power company. It's now evident to me that I am going to need many books to understand how people lived before the age of modern convenience and specialization. I am discovering that the actual tools needed are not what I thought they would be.
One recent purchase was a grain mill that can be powered manually or electrically. The mill will enable me to make our own flour from alternative grains I can grow or purchase in bulk and then store. After all it would be silly to be making maple syrup from our trees if we didn't have pancakes to dribble the syrup on. We also have a gluten intolerant child and I am not going to gamble that specialty foods will always be available or affordable to feed her in the future. Turns out there are really only three decent brands of hand operated grain mills available and they vary dramatically in quality and price. Do you think there will be any available when the first hint of a real food crisis finally takes hold in the mainstream media? How about solar ovens, dehydrators, pressure canners and the like?
There’s also the matter of being able to acquire what you need. Over the last year we have learned that many home improvement items from the big box stores are defective, warped, substandard, you name it. This includes brand name products. Quality control is not what it used to be. Things are made out of cheaper materials than in the past. In addition, processing the transactions for various purchases seems to be glitching more often. Cog was none too happy when his check/debit card was double billed for a tractor just a few weeks ago. This was done by a major corporation who kicked him around to several different departments without solving the problem. Thank goodness he IS Cog and could finally resort to his mind control powers in order to get resolution lol.
Step by step we are accomplishing what we set out to do, but it has taken a great deal of patience. For everything we set in motion we expect it to go wrong at some point and it often does. Just getting our utilities turned on with the services we were assured were available became a major problem. We consciously steeled ourselves for these types of troubles when we made the decision to purchase a home at the end of a back road, off a back road, off the back road on a mountain. If we had not learned to anticipate these problems I am not sure how we would have mentally handled all the roadblocks. I cannot imagine trying to do what we have done in the past six months in a year or two from now.
After all the effort and work towards establishing a new lifestyle it turns out that where we are going WE are "them." We are the “city folk” who think they can make a go of it in the country. We are the ones who used to work for banks and play in the stock market and think we have answers. We are the new people at the farmer's market with a funny accent and strange ideas and clothes. We are the one's invading the bunny, turkey, deer and bear stomping grounds. It turns out "they" is a relative term. It is not lost upon us that we have our work cut out in order to begin to fit in to our new community and show our value as good neighbors.
Our new digs are not exactly Galt's Gulch, completely independent from a decaying society, but one step at a time we are withdrawing our consent from the system we were indoctrinated into from birth to rely upon. At some point, with someone somewhere, the simple act of withdrawing will be the snowflake in the avalanche that will be the end of the long con, at least this leg of it. I know that I can once again sleep peacefully at night, knowing that we are working towards depending only on ourselves going forward.