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Pursuing A Self-Sufficient Lifestyle

08 Aug
A future where you depend only of yourself, where you have complete control, is possible.

Last Week In Belize I Learned Something New

In a world of uncertainty, having an escape plan can help you sleep better. The details of such a plan differ for everyone. Maybe a nest egg on deposit in an offshore bank account somewhere is all you need to feel comfortable and confident about your and your family’s future. Or maybe you’re interested in more elaborate apocalyptic planning.

When Y2K loomed, some folks filled bunkers with one-year supplies of food, water, batteries, even ammunition. Jan. 1, 2000, they woke up, along with the rest of us, to the same world we’d all known. Still, they’d been prepared…

Most of us aren’t that paranoid. Regardless, a backup plan is a good idea for everyone. And being prepared for a crisis is one of the objectives behind internationalizing our lives.

One strategy can be to identify a place where you could live completely self-sufficiently. A piece of land where you could grow crops, keep chickens, and maybe make your own wine (a necessity, I’d say, of any reasonable lifestyle). Once an agenda reserved mostly for hippies and New Agers, aspiring to self-sufficiency is an idea that resonates today more than ever.

How Much Space Do You Need?

Someone I know bought a few-hundred-thousand acres in Argentina where he is establishing his own private, self-sufficient estate, completely off the grid, off the map, and off any public road.

Your escape plan needn’t be so ambitious. A few acres of fertile land could suffice for a small family.

A developer friend is working on a couple of projects in Cayo, Belize, that fit this bill. One is a community called Carmelita Gardens where the owners can be “independent, together,” as he describes it. Living here you’re on your own, self-sufficient with your own micro-farm (if you choose), but part of a like-minded community… so not all alone. The group who joined me in Cayo for last week’s Self-Sufficiency Seminar and I spent part of Saturday touring Carmelita’s organic gardens, aquaponics system, and self-sufficient homes.

When it comes to embracing a self-sufficient lifestyle, location is a primary consideration. You have to be able to get to your land when the crisis comes. This is why one overzealous follower of this philosophy has set himself up in Texas. He has lived overseas but has decided that, in the current climate, he’s better off where he can have some land and the guns to protect it. He doesn’t want to have to leave “home” to get to his safe haven, and he’s expecting to have to fight off others who aren’t as prepared.

The guy in Argentina has the opposite problem. No one is likely to bother him on his ranch the size of a small country, but getting there from wherever he happens to be when the crisis strikes (should it strike) could be a long trip. Once he gets himself and his family to his hacienda compound, though, he’ll have no worries.

Where Should You Consider?

Where should you consider for your escape hatch? It depends on your perspective. If you want to be far, far away from everything, Argentina is a great choice, along with New Zealand, Brazil, Paraguay, and Uruguay. All these countries have plenty of fertile land and relatively few people. The population density in each is 40% to 70% that of the United States. All boast a great deal of arable land per capita, and all are in the Southern Hemisphere, removed from where any war or nuclear strike is likely to hit.

Nearer to home (assuming home is North America or Europe), top options could include a small farm in the interior of Panama (Kathleen and I own a piece of riverfront land in Panama’s Veraguas Province, for example, that would fit this bill), Belize, or Nicaragua, all places where you could live on next to nothing.

Where should you consider pursuing the self-sufficient life? When I ask myself that question, the first place that comes to mind is Belize. I’ve been working for the past three years to create a backup plan for me and my family in Belize’s Cayo District, and, in the process, I’ve gotten to know local experts in the strategy.

At last week’s Self-Sufficiency Seminar in Cayo, I was an attendee. It was friends and colleagues who are living this lifestyle there, in the interior of Belize, who put on the show for all of us (myself included) who’d come to learn about the 21st century techniques and technologies they use.

If you’re interested in the idea of going off-grid and creating a self-sufficiency plan for you and your family—as well as exploring the unique lifestyle on offer in the heart of Belize’s Cayo region—you could learn a lot from these folks. I sure did.

In today’s world, putting in place a backup plan for living more independently is a priority agenda. Belize is one place where you can easily organize a fully self-sufficient life using solar power to run your house, growing your own food, keeping some animals, and, if you have the inclination, even building your own furniture out of local hardwoods. We considered all of these ideas and many others during last week’s seminar.

However, the good news is that all the strategies we looked at and learned about last week could be employed anywhere in the world. The biggest takeaway for me after having participated in this program is that you don’t need a lot of land or a lot of money to establish the infrastructure for a fully self-sufficient lifestyle.

I’m looking forward now to sharing what I learned last week with Kathleen so she and I can take our own self-sufficiency backup plan to the next level.

Lief Simon