Where we are going

Having recently written about my goals for 2018, I thought it only appropriate to make the last post of the year a more overarching post highlighting our long-term goals.

I think I’ve always been a prepper at heart. Ever since I was a child, I remember thinking about running away to live in a cabin in the woods and the skills I would need to survive such a lifestyle.

During my teens and early twenties, I allowed myself to be carried away by “the Joneses” and general expectations of those around me. For almost ten years, those dreams took a back seat as I fought to acquire an education that society and my family deemed “useful” and appropriate for my cognitive abilities.

It was not until I graduated in the middle of a financial crisis and struggled to keep my head above water financially that I truly realised how far from my childhood dreams I had allowed myself to stray. And no less important, how much I still wanted those childhood dreams, and how true they rung to me even as a young adult.ย 

The house in the woods

I dream, I dream… Picture from Lammas Ecovillage.

Highest on both Mr. E. and my wishlist for large dreams is that iconic house in the woods. And not just any house in the woods either, I want it to be carbon-negative, off-grid, biodegradable and with a large, thriving forest garden.

Why a house in the woods, why not just a small suburbia house with solar panels and a garden plot?

Well, first of all, I want us to be able to cover our basic needs of housing, warmth and food from the land. The most prudent of this will be the warmth part, as you do need a fair bit of forest to be able to sustainably take our firewood year after year without depleting the land. The Frugalwoods, being way ahead of us and already settled in their house-in-the-woods dream, often write about their wood-splitting and chopping adventures.

Secondly, houses in the woods are far cheaper for their acerage compared to houses of similar size near cities or in closer neighbourhoods. Being a fan of public transportation, I would love to find somewhere with bus connections more than once per day.

In addition to this, it is no secret that humans are building faster than the earth can keep up with. If I buy a piece of forest somewhere, perhaps I can at least protect that small piece of forest from being developed into a concrete jungle. It is a small contribution, and insignificant in the grand scheme of things, but it is important to me.

Ideally, we would bring our bestest of friends and create a grand, awe-inspiring hippie-prepper community with movie nights and crafting workshops. But, you know, trying to keep it realistic and all that.

The willow and the wind

I, for one, am ready to settle down somewhere and develop this large, forest garden self-sustainable dream of mine. Mr. E. is totally on board, revelling in the idea of a quiet place where he can write, rock climb and hike.

Our shared goals are not just marital luck. We did an awful lot of talking and serious discussing before jointly deciding that we were both benefiting from getting together. This might sound awfully unromantic, but making sure your partner is on the same page financially and life-wise is super important to a successful partnership and general power-couple kickassery.

On the other hand, Mr. E. is also an ever-changing soul with a need for change regularly. Suddenly, he might get an urgent and undeniable desire to move across the world to write and work.

I want my free spirit to be able to do such things, without it having a negative impact on our shared economy. By looking for something with very low monthly expenses, it will be a lot easier to establish a home base while still being able to afford to travel, should we want to.

The safety of having a home-base is something I really want, and I think I would enjoy travelling a lot more if we did. In a previous post, I’ve written about how excited I am to finally feel like we can safely start buying glass jars and bottlesย for preserving over the winter, so I don’t think I will ever be one of those people to sell all my possessions and live out of a backpack for an epic, nomad lifestyle.

This is a more vague and undefinable part of our future plans, since we never know what sort of desire takes Mr. E’s fancy next time. But I like to try to be prepared for it.

How to get there

Obviously, one of the main drawbacks to a house further away from larger cities is the lack of employers out in the woods. Commuting becomes an issue in terms of time and resources, so a pillar of our dream lifestyle is the acquisition of an employer-free lifestyle.

This would be financial independence in the sense that we would not be dependant on an external employer for our income, but it would not have the “retire early” aspect so often coupled with FI in the personal finance sphere. We would still be depending on writing, blogging and crafts like soapingย to bring in a monthly or annual income.

We do invest a part of our income and save as much as we can. But we view our investments more as a safety cushion than a “perpetual money making machine” it is often touted. While this is an excellent way of doing it, we feel too impatient to manage 10+ years in a desk job to grow that money machine. We want more freedom as soon as possible!

Why not more investing?

A home that feels like this would make my heart sing. Picture from Blog of the Hobbit.

I, for one, am anxious about how long this bull market has been running ahead, and am afraid to rely all my financial and emotional well-being on numbers on a screen. A paid-off house with a large, food-producing garden is my primary retirement saving. The rest is gravy.

This is also why this blog is more focused on frugality and sustainable living compared to pure money and investing. We could probably make more efficient money-making decisions if we dug deeper into the market and learned more about it, but it brings me much more happiness to be learning new crafts and tangible skills.

After all, money is just a means to an end, not the goal itself. My happiness is greatly tied up to working towards a life that looks and feels a lot like a Hobbit house. To this end, money is a tool that should be mastered and controlled.

Our primary goal is simply to be financially independent and secure to the point where we do not have to worry about money for the rest of our lives. Reducing our living costs through buying and paying off a home is an important part of our process, but we don’t just want the most cost-efficient home with resell value. We want a home to thrive and care for, for the rest of our lives.

For someone who his antsy and dubious about anything outside my own control (will the government take care of me when I grow old? Will this fragile food distribution system persist? Will jobs exist in the way they do now 20 years from now? etc), having a home base that is eventually paid off will give me such peace of mind. Even if it requires large amounts of maintenance and tending over the years.

Where are you headed?

Do you have tangible, long-term goals you are working on steering your life towards? Have you written about them in a personal journal or broken them down into more manageable steps? We’d love to hear about it! Solid goals are key to avoiding a life of just drifting along with the currents.

Dream post_eyes on target


17 Comments on “Where we are going

  1. I love your plan and have a similar long-term goal for my wife and myself. Seeing the way the frugalwoods are living is definitely an inspiration and I would love to have some private land with lots of woods to be able to do all sorts of random projects. We also see ourselves acquiring plenty of animals such as dogs, goats, and chickens. I always laugh when people wonder how to fill time in early retirement. There are so many projects and experiments I’d love to try (building, growing, and producing) that I can’t imagine there will be enough time in the day, even if I never have to work for money again.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yup! I too don’t think I’ll have any issue whatsoever in filling the days in financial independence! I would love to have a small plot of land to start practising gardening. One step at a time!


  2. The biggest thing that holds us back from the house in the woods idea is family. We currently live within a half hour of both sets of parents and that trumps the many pulls to move farther out, beyond the job situation. But oh how I wish we had more than a quarter acre to work with ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • That is a really good point! We have a pair of really good friends who I really don’t want to live too far away from, so I see your conundrum. We secretly hope they will come with us to our hippie paradise! ๐Ÿ˜‰


  3. Sounds like a wonderful dream. And I love that you addressed the oh-so-many unromantic aspects of a relationship. It’s so important to discuss the logistics and goals before blending your life with another person – the side of a relationship that isn’t shown in TV or movies ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Too true! We spoke so, so much before even considering getting together. We can certainly attest to the huge discrepancy between movies and real life! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sounds like an amazing goal! The Frugalwoods are a few years ahead of my husband and me on our rural adventure but have a lot of parallels. I am freelance writing and we hope to settle on a VT homestead in the next few years! We love the quiet and sustainable life as well. And with a 2-year-old boy and another boy due any day the outdoor space will be so much better than the city!

    Good luck!


    • That sounds great, and I absolutely agree on the children and outdoors part. Makes me wonder how many FI people are also interested in a more rural existence!


  5. It sure sounds as though you’ve put a lot of thought into what your ideal home and future will be like, which I think acts as a great motivator.
    When I visited the west coast of Norway I remember seeing little old cottages in the middle of the countryside that had grass roofs, your pic reminded me of them.


    • Oh, for sure! Having that image clear in my head makes it so much easier to resist temptations. If you havenโ€™t clearly articulated a big goal, I highly recommend it! ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Liked by 2 people

  6. We are searching for a balance of city life and rural life and it is hard to find in our area without spending millions of dollars. We love the idea of living out in the woods but being isolated from everyone can be difficult. I love how in tune you guys are with each other!


  7. Your goal sounds amazing. Our dream is to build an eco house and live sustainably. We have a long way to go before we can make it come true, but for the moment we’re just going to continue to live as sustainably as we can, as well as grow more of our own food.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, yours donโ€™t sound too shabby either! I think it is important to balance dreams and the present to make the best out of where we are. And it sounds like youโ€™re doing that!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Love your determination and awareness! Every blog has a different path and it’s interesting to be taken on that ride. The FW are a great inspiration but I’m sure you guys got what makes you unique ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

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