How far will you go to improve your safety and self reliance?

I’m curious as to just how far or how much effort and sacrifice people will make to improve their prepper quality of life.  Just exactly WHAT are YOU willing to do to improve your safety, security and quality of life.

For years my wife and I have been into survivalism and prepping going as far back as the 1980s. We did all the normal things that most people who become preppers do.   We realised there was clearly identifiable threats, hazards and risks to us as a family. So we learned skills, cached, stockpiled and developed plans.

BUT we also changed professions to equally increase our quality of life and also to improve our level of readiness.  My wife  became a Nurse Practitioner, I left the military for the Security industry, Our income rose as did our skills and levels of readiness. YET we were still uncomfortable / unsettled/ unsure .

We invested in skills, we invested in kit and supplies, we changed vehicles, we moved house within our communities, we developed relationships with other preppers. but still the underlying concerns lingered.

We stopped doing conventional social and leisure things like dining out, clubbing, holidaying on beaches etc and started using our free time to develop our skills and knowledge further, learning useful skills and attending convensions in prepping, survival skills, overlanding events, off gridding and homesteading events etc  but STILL those fears festered away in the background.

Then we had kids and  thats when things started hitting home like a manic jackhammer.

First we realised the overall quality of standard supermarket food was POOR, to much salt, chemicals, preservatives, processing etc especially when it came to feeding the family. We ended up having to source ORGANIC or UNPROCESSED foods to replace what came from the four local supermarkets.

Then we discovered that our kids occasional wheezy chests, chest infections,  runny noses, etc was only happening at home, when we went camping the kids were 100% healthy, enlightenment it was AIR POLLUTION in the city ( Mainly vehicular emmissions)

At the same time we were told our kids were INTROVERTED and WITHDRAWN at school and were not learning fast enough.  That was odd because when they were not at school they were extroverted, happy, inquisitive, curious and VERY sociable.  We discovered that it was not the kids but the SCHOOL (s) they attended (500  primary school kids in one complex)  .

Then a neighbour informed us our kids were often bullied verbally and occasionally physically by SOME not all of their schoolmates.

We also could not let them play out unsupervised because of the local trouble making street gangs of feral teens (and preteens) and a total lack of intetrest by the police or council to deal with the non stop vandalism, petty theft, criminal damage, noise and general anti social behaviour found in most urban areas.

Then it finally dawned on us,  ALL OF OUR PREPS were for nought when all of us were being ground down by living in a city.  Our air and food was a problem as was WHERE we lived, it was a problem with air pollution, crime, poor facilities, overcrowding and a totally ineffective local government and law enforcement system.

This is where I reach the crux of the matter, We finally realised that WHERE we lived was as important as HOW we lived.

We are both only working class people with modest incomes but we had clearly identified that the city was slowly killing ALL of us one tiny bit at a time.

We immediately looked for a quiet more rural community, we found one with a wonderful close knit village school of only 200 primary and junior school kids, who welcomed our kids.

Within 6 week the kids were transformed they LOVED school, they LOVED learning, they absolutely thrived, We found a house we could just about afford it needed loads doing to it but the kids and ourselves loved it.  No sirens at night, no gangs, no vandalism. Neighbours looked out for each other, The kids health improved massively.

We found locally produced foods ( both normal and organic)  our STRESS levels collapsed.

It took SACRIFICE, My wife had to take a Nursing job on much less money nearer our new home. I had to completely give up my urban security work as I could no longer respond to clients in minutes, I took up a couple of very menial part time jobs to bring in money whilst I also took over running the house. We used up ALL of our savings just to pay the deposit on the house.

Do I have regrets?  YES absolutely.  I 100% regret that we did not identify it was our ENVIRONMENT that was as much as issue as the global issues that turned us into preppers in the first place.

We gave up just about EVERYTHING to escape the city, careers, money, savings, friends, social groups etc  but it was absolutely worth the sacrifice and effort.

If YOU are thinking about escaping the city then I say to you that we believe the LONG TERM BENEFITS far outweigh any negatives and hope you manage to escape to greener prepper friendlier pastures.

Now 20 years on and I see riots, looting, arson, division, hatred, violence etc consuming not only the US but much of Europe, Africa, south America, Middle East, UK etc as well. Compounded by POLICE/ COURTS and Governments paralised by political correctness and fear of offending assorted sections of society who are simply allowed to get away with mass civil unrest and violent crimes. Many cities are becoming NO GO AREAS not just for decent people but also for Law Enforcement as well. 

How much sacrifice are YOU willing to make to protect YOUR families and quality of life?


  • Comments (18)

    • 7

      Good morning Bill,

      In reply, using the word “sacrifice” but I prefer word “upgrade”, it is 100%. It does require preparing a business plan to  make the determinations and the decisions to act.

      A clear example that’s recognizable to many is the young, just starting out family with school-age kid(s). They will buy a dwelling that has an attached garage for their one car with plans to “fortify” home. Their objective is to live in zone allowing kid(s) to attend best school in area.

      Re “WHAT”; After retirement – most of work was overseas – moved to a rural county (but not remote; it’s between 2 large metr-areas) with ideal attributes as per my business plan. The only major weakness – just about US-universal – was requirement to travel for health care.  This involved a day trip.  

      Things change.  The geometric increase of government size – all levels – decayed the area.  Add the national immigrations … various numbers floated around; I believe 40 million … and much of society’s platforms are stressed out. Safety was (past tense-it’s changed) A+. Quality of life was A level, less local health care.

      Today, even rural areas can be dangerous.  Without a neighborhood watch org, my material possessions would be gone long ago. I’ve taken my county’s 8 week citizens course of Sheriff’s Office with day at firing range and half day of going around in a patrol car and the state’s Emergency Responder self-defense course. The prepper term “YOYO” – Your’e On Your Own governs. 

      • 6

        To live a much safer, rural life on our farmstead, we do sacrifice some things.  Our internet sucks but hopefully I’ll get SpaceX’s Starlink this year.  That will be a game changer.  I drive much longer to work & my wife drives a whole lot longer to her mom’s.  Any fine dining is likewise a long drive and any food delivery is out of the question.  Between a local Walmart & Amazon delivery, I can purchase what I want.  That is about the only sacrifices I can think of.

        To be self reliant really would not be terribly hard in good times.  Where the sacrifice comes in, is where you need to be prepared to become self reliant after a crisis… when garden seed, fertilizer, chemicals, etc. are not available.  It would be impossible to be self reliant without those.  That means I have to keep large quantities of each in storage.  Not a big problem, except for seed that only store for a few years.  So the big sacrifice there is the annual reordering of maybe 100 lbs. of seed each year & throwing out old, unused seed.  I try to keep around 300 lbs of seed in cool storage.

    • 6

      My wife and I are wanting to move rural and off grid for prepping purposes. Some things we are trying to consider are job security (pretty much only able to work a work from home job unless we want to travel an hour+ a day), access to stores, and access to cell and internet coverage to stay connected and to be able to work from home. 

      Big decisions!

      Bill – glad you guys made the decision to move and it sounds like you enjoyed that lifestyle better. 

      • 7

        Robert, you need to consider that rural off grid and cell/internet coverage don’t always go together.  In my case, I have decent cell but the only internet is from crappy satellite service but as I stated, that is soon to change with Starlink.  And even if you get cell service, don’t expect the newest & fastest, such as 5G.  We have relatively close access to rural stores & a Walmart

      • 4

        Robert, the thing is when when you actually look at how society and job security has changed in recent decades it become pretty clear that there is almost NO job security any more, even in professions once considered as JOBS FOR LIFE ( Government, Healthcare, Farming, Transport, etc) all have seen that sense of security wiped out by global changes in how things are done.

        So if you cannot guarentee your job security you may as well mave the move to cleaner, greener and safer pastures.

      • 7

        I think if INTERNET connectivity and speed are ESSENTIALS for people in our community, especially for work, then Musks Starlink system is likely to be the answer. Even $500 to get set up and $99 a month in charges its still works out cheaper than renting workspace and commuting.

      • 5

        You can preorder & put a deposit down now.  They state I should have it sometime in the last 6 months of this year.

      • 4

        I think its already operating in BETA form in some places.

      • 7

        Yes it is and SpaceX is launching more satellites every month.  As I said, this will be a game changer for rural folks.  I can’t wait.  

      • 4


        The best plan is the one you and your wife draft to suit your needs and purposes just as Bill and Redneck, and myself found our respective ways to a rural location. Yes, there are always sacrifices and trade offs, but no one can tell you how and when to make these changes. It is your and your wife’s life, Robert, not ours.

        Bill, Redneck and myself all came out of established situations/careers with the means to make the decisions and changes in lifestyle that we made that suited our purposes and needs. 

        If I can offer a bit of insight based on my family experience and also personal experience. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, or happen all at once.

        My family lived in the city when Dad received his portion of land from my Grandfather. He worked in the city and on weekends as he was able to afford, built a simple bungalow. The intent was a summer home. By the time the home was built, Dad made the decision to get away from the stress of his city job and go farm. He built a life, he didn’t buy a life, as in ready made property.

        You could purchase the land you like and later develop it as you can afford to do so. This way you can retain your jobs and gain years of experience which could make it easier to work from home later. 

        I know there is job insecurity as Bill pointed out. But, Robert, there is always job insecurity and that isn’t how to approach this.

        You are younger than Bill, Redneck and myself. You are in the years/stage of your life that you need to build credentials/experience/skills for your professional life. Build portable/transferable skills that you can take with you when you are able to work from home. You could even take courses in that direction now, while you are still in the city.

        Commuting is another option. I can tell you I have done this by driving a hour from the farm to the city, working a high stress job in International Banking and World Trading and then coming home to the farm to care for livestock and other chores.

        Commuting while farming to the degree that we did, is exhausting. I won’t lie to you. It can be very tiring after a long day at work when you know you have an hour drive ahead of you. Winter weather driving conditions can add another layer of stress.

        Your situation wouldn’t be as intense as the kind of farming we did, however, living off grid takes work. You will find that challenging at times. The best advice I can give you if you and your wife choose that path is to be as organized as you possibly can be. That will make things easier.

        The situation I am currently in isn’t the acreage of my dreams. It is a rural town. I am making the best of it. It is what worked for us at the time and it continues to work for us because I am making it work for us. It is possible to still set an off-grid or greatly reduced dependency on the grid right where I am.

        Robert, the best path to walk in this life, is the one that fits your boots and no one else’s boots. You are sensible. You will know the right thing to do when the time comes.

      • 5

        I look up to many of the members on this forum and learn so much from everyone. You all are good inspirations for me that it can be done! Thank you for the great and wise advice. 

      • 3

        You are welcome, Robert.

        Any time I can be of assistance.

        Stay Preppy! 🙂

    • 4

      I hope this is alright to ask Bill, and if not please don’t feel obligated to respond. 

      From your story, I see a loving set of parents that want the best for their family. But from what you say, it seems like you were driven by fear and concerns many times. Do you feel like you are scared for the future and what may come? Or are you just aware of the possibilities and want to be ready if they happen?

      • 4

        The Opposite Liz, Fear and concerns drove us to seek POSITIVE action and steps to (a) Give us more control over our own lives, and (b)  Seek positive change.

        To have the sudden enlightenment that it was as much WHERE we lived being the problem allowed us to create a positive response and make us more optimistic for the future.

        It was the knowing deep inside there was a problem, but not being able to identify it that was causing the stress and anxiety, but as soon as we worked out it was the city itself killing us slowly that allowed us to change direction.

        We now feel more POSITIVE for the future knowing our preps and lifestyle changes are making life much better for us all.

      • 4

        That is so nice! I’m super glad that you were able to identify a problem and find a solution which lead to a positive outcome. 

        I’m not sure if you got the ol’ tv show Doomsday Preppers over in the UK, but I think that some of those preppers lived in fear, and while they were prepared, that isn’t really the best way to live.

      • 3

        yes we got that series in the UK, personally i think it did our community no favours, so much paranoia and fear and extreme responses by those people.  and their scant regard for Opsec made a complete fool of most of their plans, all for five minutes of fame.

        My friends called the series HOW NOT TO PREP.

        The only thing we fear is fear itself.

    • 5

      Bill – This is hands down the best post I have read here. Your story is inspirational.

      You and your wife went through an incredible process to acquire the lifestyle that works best for your family.

      Thank goodness, that you and your wife recognized what was happening to your children. I am so glad that you got them out of that horrible situation. You and your wife have made sacrifices to give youselves and your children a much better life.

      You are wonderful parents and dedicated preppers. You have both accomplished so much.

      Thank you for sharing your story, Bill. Well done!

      • 6

        Gracias, danke, merci, thanks :).  We are not 100% sorted yet but we are definately in a better POSITION and a better PLACE than we were before.