Characteristics of a Survival Homestead

by Tess Pennington

As a whole, our overall goal is to live a life based around freedom and self reliance. Many of us have woken to the fact that our debt-based system in which we operate in enslaves us and prevents us from living the life of freedom that we long for. We have woken from that sleepy slumber of complacency and now have taken steps to break those confines of debt enslavement. We are finding that a different perspective on life sits on the horizon; all we need is to take those steps to reach it.

According to Time magazine’s Amanda Ripley in her book, Unthinkable, “More than 80 percent of Americans now live in or near cities and rely upon a sprawling network of public and private entities to get food, water, electricity, transportation and medicine. As much as we would like to leave the city, we simply cannot. After all, it’s where our livelihood is and until we can find another income stream, we must make do where we are. That said, even though this sprawling network has made convenience an alluring aspect of city living, many urban preppers are slowly beginning to make their ways outside of the city limits to practice homesteading or have begun saving money to purchase a homestead of their own.

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Moreover, city-based preppers are even taking steps at finding ways to work from home either through their existing jobs or creating online businesses. This also gives them the freedom and a unique opportunity to be more selective in where they choose to call home. Some have even moved to their homestead full time in order to prepare fully for a short- or long-term disaster scenario.

Location, Location, Location!

Careful thought should be put into this lifestyle change.  Ideally, a survival retreat is located in a region with most or all of the following characteristics:

  • A long growing season
  • Geographic isolation form major population centers
  • Sufficient year-round precipitation and surface water
  • Rich topsoil
  • A diverse economy and agriculture
  • Away from interstate freeways and other channelized areas
  • Low taxes
  • Non-intrusive scale of government
  • Favorable zoning and inexpensive building permits
  • Minimal gun laws
  • No major earthquake, hurricane, or tornado risks
  • No flooding risk
  • No tidal-wave (at least two hundred feet above sea level)
  • Minimal forest-fire risk
  • A lifestyle geared toward self-sufficiency
  • Plentiful local sources of wood or coal
  • No restrictions on keeping livestock
  • Defensible terrain
  • Not near a prison or large mental institution
  • Inexpensive insurance rates (home, auto, health)
  • Upwind from major nuclear-weapons targets

These key characteristics are to be used as a guide to find the right land that suits you and your family.  Ideally, wherever the personal retreat is located, the most important aspect of a retreat is sustainability.  The land must be able to support you and your family on a permanent basis (if necessary).

Additional Information on Survival Retreats:

Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Cookbook: 300 Recipes to Turn Your Emergency Food into Nutritious, Delicious, Life-Saving Meals. When a catastrophic collapse cripples society, grocery store shelves will empty within days. But if you follow this book’s plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply, your family will have plenty to eat for weeks, months or even years. Visit her web site at, where this first appeared.

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