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Old 08-21-2009, 10:41 PM
Location: New Jersey
4,085 posts, read 7,678,315 times
Reputation: 2648


I wish I did what it is that you want to do when I was your age. Unfortunately for me, I didn't want to leave the warm, comfortable bosom of my motherland, New Jersey, at that age. Since then I've traveled and seen a lot of the nation, and one dream I have is to still do something as you are looking to do.

I have considered buying a "shack" or building on of my own on inexpensive land that I would purchase and making it a home. So, I have been looking.

First of all, make sure you look critically at the Tennessee Smoky Mountains area; it is a big destination for wealthier people to go to live "off the grid". I've noticed a lot of those people are not truly living off the grid, although some are. Also, it's very politically charged in that they are mostly libertarians who are looking to "gulch" there ("gulching" is a move as far off the grid as possible with other libertarians/anarchists so as to avoid the government as much as possible). Personally, I would not want to live around such people. But more importantly - I've noticed that land and homes up there are not "cheap"; they're cheap for the older couple who is selling their $500,000-$1,000,000 homes in some reguular suburb and can afford $100K for an acre of bare land or $250-300K for an old farmhouse. No bargains, in my opinion.

For what you want, I suggest looking at parts of Washington State and Oregon, or parts of the Desert from New Mexico to Southern California. Arizona in particular has some very cheap land. I've noticed a lot of cheap land off the I-10 between Phoenix and Tucson. It might be wise to buy that land and put a trailer on it; in 10 years it will probably jump in value, as Phoenix and Tucson are growing towards each other. Also, northern Arizona around Flagstaff, and out to Kingman and Bullhead City (towards Vegas) is a lot of cheap land.

The only thing, of course, is to make sure you secure WATER. Water isn't as unavailable as people think it is in the desert, as long as you secure some rights when you buy. But other than that, it's cheap, you don't have to worry about paying for heat (although you may want to pay for air conditioning, but I've heard that swamp coolers do a great job). It IS indeed a dry heat, and although people tease about it, the fact is that dry heat is not nearly as bad as a humid heat.

New Mexico would be great too, because the land there is cheap also. You may be able to find some inexpensive old homes out in the desert. Desertsun gave some good tips in his posts in this thread, i'd investigate those.

If you don't mind snow/cold, one last option, which I was surprised to find so close to my part of the nation - Upstate NY. Mostly in the Finger Lakes region and north of it and west of it (but not too close to Buffalo). VERY cheap land, often with cabins already built on it. It does get cold and snowy, and spring is muddy and still cold, but summers are BEAUTIFUL there and autumns are spectacular. Summers will be nice and warm but not too hot, and not too humid (but humid, still); Autumns will be dry and cool with brilliant colors.

I wish you the best, I love your plan, I think you will really enjoy life. I realize what you mean about wanting to live simply - not necessarily off the grid, and probably preferably not off the grid, but remote enough to be inexpensive and where you can do your own thing.

I think Nevada/AZ would be good because you're close to Vegas which has a comic book "scene" somewhat, and So Cal would be near L.A. and San Diego. Washington/Oregon would be near Seattle and Portland. But NY State would put you near NY City (somewhat) as well as Buffalo, Pitt, and Cleveland.

Best of luck, let us know what you narrow it down to!
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:20 AM
Location: Orange, California
1,573 posts, read 5,656,042 times
Reputation: 721
Originally Posted by SmokeyBong420 View Post
In fact most of the southeast is really cheap.
The rust belt too (especially eastern Ohio and northwestern PA). You can get standalone houses for the same price as a prefab in many places.
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Old 08-22-2009, 08:36 AM
Location: St Paul, MN - NJ's Gold Coast
5,256 posts, read 11,976,081 times
Reputation: 3097
The South West. (Arizona, New Mexico)
Only because rain might end up being an issue, and hurricanes could destroy a shack.
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Old 09-02-2009, 03:25 AM
2 posts, read 5,335 times
Reputation: 10
Default Living in Deming NM

Hello everyone.

I have found that it is very difficult to find detailed information about rentals and such in Deming NM. Thus, my post on this blog!

I would like to ask if someone can recommend an apartment complex in Deming NM that is clean, safe and affordable?

I plan on taking a position with Homeland Security/CBP and my duty station would be Deming NM.

It sounds alot like Nogales AZ in both size and activity and so the information I am seeking requires local knowledge.

I have looked at the Deming Headlight but that has not been very helpful

If someone could please let me know I would greatly appreciate any information or tips regarding rentals in Deming NM.

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Old 09-02-2009, 12:10 PM
1 posts, read 920 times
Reputation: 10
You might want to build something which you can move. Putting a shack on a nice piece of land may actually reduce its resale value and you never know what kind of creepy neighbors you might end up with.

I have designed an ultra-modern house that is 8'x18' (144sf), which is small enough to move without a permit. It could be built on a trailer frame or moved on a flat-bed truck. Features:

*Queen-sized platform bed with drawers underneath, side cabinet and east window
*8' sliding glass door w 4' roof overhang (face south, overhang is hinged to top of roof for transport)
*Kitchen with real frig, sink, two-burner cooktop, microwave, 6' of total counter space
*Dishwasher option
*Full-sized stacked washer/dryer (or put a fireplace in that space or closet)
*Dining area with Ikea table and 2 chairs (get comfy ones)
*8'x8' deck which folds up against the sliding glass door for protection and transport
*Three 3' wide awning windows glazed with unbreakable fiberglass (bedroom, kit, bath)
*Toilet/shower room with full-sized toilet
*"Flat" roof, (white to reflect heat)
*Large flat-panel TV on swing-arm to view from bed or living/kitchen area
*Built-in AC/heater unit (does not stick out)
*Tankless water heater
*Stick-built or use SIP panels
*Foundation is 4 concrete piers

This is my smallest design but I have many others. It is designed like a house, not an RV. Nothing folds up or converts. There's no place for a sofa but you have a queen-sized bed for lounging. There is no loft. I consider them unsuitable for warm climates and too inconvenient. It's designed for laptop use, unless you want to give up your dining room set. Parking is on the north side of the house to provide shade for you car and is visible from kitchen window.

As far as internet access, you really need to check that out. You might be able to live with dial-up ($5/month). It's possible that DSL might be available. But your best bet might be wireless.

Last edited by BlueLips JugEars; 09-02-2009 at 01:35 PM..
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:03 PM
Location: Okinawa, Japan
254 posts, read 576,075 times
Reputation: 355
Talking Life on the Grid..location

Originally Posted by desert sun View Post
besides the illegal immigrant spot I mentioned on the first page, here is another spot you could try--

watch this-its hard to believe places like this do exist,Im just not sure where in New Mexico it is

OFF THE GRID: Life On The Mesa Trailer
This location is west of the Taos Gorge Bridge in a place called Carson Estates. Most of the people there are recluses wanting to get away from society for various reasons. If I can recall they aren't far from the Earthships. The main difference between the Earthship community and the Carson Estates is that the latter obviously have no real respect for the environment and kinda just arrive unprepared, whereas the former display a more clean and "normal" life off the grid.
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Old 08-20-2012, 09:58 PM
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,356,272 times
Reputation: 36094
The Unabomber found the best place. He was there for ten or twenty years before anybody found him.
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