Finding the Right Location for a Survival Retreat
A lot of preppers are looking around for a good location in a rural area to establish a survival retreat. Many people think that getting out as far away as possible is the best strategy to deal with societal collapse.
But I’ll tell you from experience, moving way out to the hinterland is one of the biggest mistakes you can make.
How Far is Too Far?
When we first panicked about the likelihood of economic collapse, we headed way out as far as we could get. We were at least 6 miles from the nearest little store, and 25 miles the nearest small town.
After years of living that far out, we have realized as a family that we wish we were closer to other people. And I have seen this same pattern over and over again among people who move away from cities for safety – far away.
Then, they end up moving back in a little closer.
Read my original series: Extreme Agri-Tourism – Off the Grid with the Tarahumara Indians
The Importance of Community
We humans are really social at heart, and quite frankly we need other people for lots of basic needs.
Who will you trade with to get some value out of those extra batteries and wire you have laying around?
Who will sew you up after you open yourself up with a misplaced blow while chopping wood?
With whom will you celebrate the joy of growing all that squash?
Who are your kids going to date and marry?
Who knows all the local medicinal plants so that you can treat infections after the antibiotics are all expired?
Who will sit around the fire with you to make music and swap jokes?
Someone to Hear You Call for Help
After extensive reading and conducting numerous personal interviews with people who have lived through economic collapse and even civil war, I believe that the best strategy for survival is to be located in, or very close to, a small community.
So being near a small town is ideal. One big problem with living further out is that you might have trouble getting help when you need it. This might not seem like a big deal, because you’re used to driving back and forth, but a disruption in the fuel supply could leave you feeling cut off.
We’ve lost touch with the pedestrian lifestyle in much of America, but having a neighbor within walking distance is a resource you shouldn’t overlook if you’re thinking about preparedness.
How Close Do I Need To Be?
In the middle ages, many European markets were spaced approximately 14 miles apart. That way you were only 7 miles at most from any town. 7 miles was a good distance – as a person can walk into town, spend a few hours at church or the market, and then walk back home, all within a day.
Being in the town itself is a good strategy too, especially if you plan to be very active in your community if a collapse occurs.
I recently worked with a couple who moved back to town after years of being way out in the country. After having big acreage for several years, they thought they would only be in town temporarily until they found another farm that was closer in. But with an easy walk to work, biking to the grocery store, and no big gas bill – they’ve decided to stay in town. They are working to teach neighbors how to garden and generally helping the small community to prepare.
Find Your Own Happy Place
As a general guide, I recommend finding a location that is somewhere between being right in a small town, up to about 7 miles outside of a small town.
Keep in mind that finding the perfect spot for your family will be a complex process, and it will take you some time to do all of the research that is necessary. There’s a lot of good information from other preppers on this site that can help you decide which factors are the most important for you.
If you’re chomping at the bit and you want more information right away, check out my eBook 7 Shortcuts to Finding the Perfect Survival Retreat. It’s in our library, and you can get access for free by clicking the image below:
Marjory Wildcraft is an Expedition Leader and Bioneer Blogger with The [Grow] Network, which is an online community that recognizes the wisdom of “homegrown food on every table.” Marjory has been featured as an expert on sustainable living by National Geographic, she is a speaker at Mother Earth News fairs, and is a returning guest on Coast to Coast AM. She is an author of several books, but is best known for her “Grow Your Own Groceries” video series, which is used by more than 300,000 homesteaders, survivalists, universities, and missionary organizations around the world.