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Do you long for a more meaningful and empowered lifestyle? Do you long to escape the rat race and the madness of modern living. Then living off the land could be for you. It is a whole new approach to life that may seem impossible to some, yet is considered by a growing number of people to be many solutions rolled into one! My purpose here is to show you the benefits and to sell you the idea that it is a realistic possibility to totally redesign your life.
An increasing number of people dream of getting away from it all and living ‘the good life’ because they have had enough of the prescribed existence of the mainstream. The daily drudgery of commuting and sometimes long hours away from the children. Modern life is stressful because it is unnatural in so many ways. Living off the land is a healthy and empowering alternative with so many benefits. It need not be all hard work and drudgery, and it doesn’t mean rejecting technology and returning to the primitive lifestyle. It can be high-tech, entrepreneurial and innovative. But it does require rational thinking and planning to achieve.
A truly health promoting lifestyle
Sitting is the new smoking and an active lifestyle is the route to health. Living off the land is a great way to tick this box. I run a tiny little smallholding of 3 acres (less than a hectare) and yet I clock up well over 10,000 paces a day. Fresh air, movement and exercise are the antithesis of the couch potato lifestyle and living off the land ensures all three. You don’t have to own a large area. The smallholder or homesteader on just a few acres can be amazingly productive and by definition the outdoor lifestyle keeps you moving and supports health and longevity.
Here are just a few of the factors that support health that is part and parcel of land-based living.
- Living off the land means you are necessarily engaged in an active lifestyle. Sitting is the new smoking and the sedentary life is being shown to compromise health by a growing number of studies. The numerous activities that are part of land management or running a smallholding support cardiovascular benefit and strength training. Combining a routine of high-intensity Interval training and callisthenics gives you an all-around physical health workout built into your lifestyle.
- An outdoor lifestyle necessarily means greater exposure to the sunshine. You will inevitably receive more exposure to the UVB form of the suns Ultraviolet light that enables the body to make Vitamin D. This is one the major promoters of human health and according to the latitude of where you live winter supplementation is a very good idea in any circumstances. Living off the land means your Vitamin D levels will usually be higher than a city dwelling office worker.
- Growing your own food: You can ensure an abundant supply of fresh organic food with access to land. Total independence is not the goal, but a degree of self-reliance is both rewarding and a significant insurance against economic situations restricting supply. In today’s climate of impending economic disaster, this is a huge benefit over and above the abundance of homegrown organic fruit and vegetables. Add in rearing animals for meat, eggs and possibly dairy, and wholesome food becomes your standard. This is a massive boon for your health.
- Potential access to fresh and pure ground water. A clean water supply is a crucial component of healthy living and depending on where you are located can be available beneath your feet. Sinking a well or digging a borehole can be expensive but is a longterm investment that pays handsome dividends to the health of you and your family. You can even consider supplying others with quality water in exchange for other values you need.
- Managing land for our own benefit increases our awareness of environmental considerations. This is key to developing a meaningful environmental awareness and a habit of avoiding pollution. This benefits the individual land user first and foremost but also the wider environment and community.
- Avoid all that Electromagnetic smog: One of the most pernicious threats to human health comes from the ubiquitous Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF’s). By being on the land you are necessarily some distance from the intenser areas of Wi-fi and mobile phone pulsed microwave radiation.
- Better air quality: Living off the land means the air you breathe is necessarily healthier than an indoor lifestyle. The diversity of your microbiome is key to a healthy gut and in turn, this is the foundation of human health. working with the soil and with animals and just being in an outdoor situation promotes a far greater diversity of gut bacteria.
Living off the land offers practical benefits
- For a start, you necessarily gain a greater knowledge of reality because you have to. You need to knowledge-up and learn more skills and so you are pushed into a more active engagement with life. The rewards are well worth the effort. We have all heard the saying “the more you put into life, the more you get out” and this is very true with living off the land. The effort to engage more with life and to seek to know and understand more, and to do more brings a greater sense of self-efficacy gained through increased practical knowledge.
- By necessity, managing land for your own aesthetic pleasure plus productive output develops your thinking ability. The practice of thinking longterm and considering various potential outcomes is a huge benefit to forming positive mental habits.
- You have to take responsibility and therefore this life skill is also developed. Alongside this, you get to turn your hand to all sorts of practical skills. A smallholding requires water piped to various locations as well as an electrical connection and subsequent underground wiring loom. Whether you choose to construct pleasant benches and sitting areas, shelters for your livestock, or sheds and storage buildings there is always a new skill to learn. Living off the land takes DIY to a whole new level. The rewards are huge in satisfaction, pride and sense of accomplishment.
- Independence from the wider economic and cultural community can also be achieved. This acts as a significant insurance policy against economic uncertainty. The farm or food growing operation is inherently a means of self-sustenance in times of scarcity. For many people who can see the imminent economic crisis we face with the collapse of the dollar and the inflation of fiat currencies, this can offer a huge advantage over those living in flats and condominiums with no means of support.
- You can enjoy genuine privacy by arranging the landscape according to your needs and preferences. By planting thoughtfully it is possible to create nooks and private spaces that cannot be seen from roads or from the air. Peace and quiet and sense of personal space is a huge value in the modern fast-paced world of running on the hamster wheel.
- The one thing you need to kick off any venture is space. Living off the land and having your own patch naturally gives you this advantage. Whether you want to set up solar panels or build a small structure in which to ferment vegetables or jar up your jams and chutneys you will always have space to do this when you own land. The ability to plant trees for structural wood or firewood is another great advantage of this lifestyle. Your activities and projects can then be limited only by your imagination and abilities, not your lack of space!
- Entrepreneurial opportunities open up significantly for the landowner. Ability to produce a wide variety of products to which you can add value is one of the most exciting benefits of living off the land. Specialisation into niche markets or accommodating the more obvious requirements for local organic food all become possible when you have land. The opportunity to produce value and exchange it in the marketplace, either local or national, is a significant part of broadening your financial options. Imagination is the limit. With universal Internet connectivity, there is no need to lack inspiration either.
- The land is like a giant solar panel in its ability to harvest energy from the sun and turn it into crops and raw materials. These can then be put to productive use to generate income. For example; honey from bees; wood from the trees for furniture; compost for soil conditioners; ornamental and edible plants for sale; meat and eggs from livestock; willow and coppiced hazel transformed into baskets; fence panels and ornamental trinkets, etc. The land can also be used to host events such as weddings and seminars, courses can be offered teaching learned skills, and any other kind of events such as farmers markets or car boot sales can be considered. Again, your imagination is the limit.
- Recycling becomes a logical and sensible practice that gets woven into your lifestyle when you live off the land, or when you manage any productive holding. The whole management plan requires integrated thinking and integrated practice. recycling increases efficiency and develops a practical and economic mindset.
- Land-based living gives you a deeper appreciation of the immediate environment because you are working within it and managing it for your own rational self-interest. This necessarily develops a connection to the natural world that is absent from modern living. This brings meaning to life and sets our life in the appropriate context.
- You gain knowledge of the species with which you live and work (both animal and plant life) that gives you a real sense of place and integration with the landscape. It also brings many advantages in learning about the uses of various naturally growing materials and the medicinal qualities of local plants. Developing a sense of self-efficacy through this kind of knowledge builds self-esteem and a joy in living that eludes most people who are simply another cog in the great machine of society while living in suburbia.
- A way of life that is bound to the seasons gives us a sense of time and continuity. It encourages long-term thinking and long-term goal setting. This is a key part of a conscious life. Thinking and acting across years to plan abundance and build wealth and beauty puts the sum of our years into the true context of a life on earth. It is difficult to overestimate the emotional rewards that this offers.
Reaping spiritual values too
By spiritual values, I mean values pertaining to the needs of our consciousness. Values such as purpose, happiness, connection, friendship, beauty, challenges to face, etc. There are many such values to be gained from a life on the land. They all stack up to a meaningful and happy life. A life worth living.
- Living off the land means you can enjoy the beauty and aesthetic rewards of creating a personal garden of Eden as you design and bring into being your own landscape. I have been planting for food security and for aesthetic beauty for nearly 20 years and I enjoy the satisfaction of an artist painting a picture. However, I consider the enjoyment to be magnified many times by working with a permanent 3-d landscape. Digging pods and decking areas or building pergolas and secret ‘sit-spots’ is hugely rewarding as the scenery changes and develops over the passing years. It gives me great pleasure to enjoy the beauty I create, but even more so knowing it is a legacy I will leave behind for my children.
- A sense of purpose is the inevitable result of planning and devloping the productive capacity and the beauty of your own little patch of the earth. The goal of thriving and having the ability to achieve it gives meaning and purpose to life that is simply not available to a conventional lifestyle of commuting form living box via transport box to work box – and vice versa.
- The joy of self-determination is another benefit when we have the means to steer our own ship and be master of our own destiny. Land owndership and living off the land opens many doors in this respect. A wider set of options becomes available to the landowner.
- Commitment is, of course, a prerequisite for this lifestyle. An ability to commit and to follow through becomes embedded into your mental operating system through a land-based lifestyle. Virtues such as these reap benefits in all areas of our lives.
- Enjoing a sense of place in the landscape you create is a beautiful thing to do. Depending on your location you also get to enjoy peace and quiet and the ability to get away from it all every day! Of course, you can still visit the mayhem of urban living and the buzz of the city whenever you want to. But living off the land means you can avoid being swept away by much of the insanity of the modern existence that passes for a human life.
- This all this leads to happiness and fulfilment that I did not find in all my years of suburban living. During my career as an airline pilot, all of these eluded me. There are a great many benefits of modern life and modern technology, and I do not mean to knock the technological age or the idea of holding down a job in the city. However, for those people inclined to step outside the Matrix, living off the land is a wonderful alternative.
lifestyle design really becomes possible
The possibility to re-design a lifestyle that you really want becomes possible with land ownership. You can consider health and longevity factors and create time when you want it so as to not be bound by the schedules of others. It is truly empowering to do this. Working from home is more possible than ever before with the use of technology and when combined with the rural advantages listed here is a real winner. It is not everyone’s cup of tea, but for many people, this way of living can be a dream come true.
Living off the land offers a huge personal development opportunity
I have found managing my smallholding and creating my own longterm plan for the landscape and for my family to be an immensely uplifting experience that has brought incalculable joy into my life. When coupled with the raising of children and homeschooling it has got better and better.
All of the challenges that present themselves during the course of an outdoor lifestyle based on the land offer personal development opportunities. From a personal perspective, I have enjoyed a growing sense of self-efficacy with every small achievement building upon the previous one. Adding string after string to my bow and building more and more resiliance and diversity into the permacultural design of the holding has earned me self-esteem and personal satisfaction. I feel proud of my achievements and wish to share the idea that this do-able for others as well.
Living off the land does not necessarily imply a rejection of technology. In fact, to the contrary, I strongly recommend embracing it – particularly the new blockchain technologies of the distributed open-source ledger. The crypto currencies offer a massive opportunity for the savvy thinking individual looking to fund dreams and new possibilities. Communications technology must be used with caution as mobile phones, wi-fi and other forms of EMF’s are harmful. But this doesn’t mean a Luddite mindset or a rejection of capitalism and the joy of making money. Living off the land is not a return to a primitive way of life. It doesn’t even necessitate off-grid living.
I reject the CO2 myth of impending climatic doom. The evidence contradicts the theory conclusively. There is no need for humanity to cut down our aspirations in life. Electricity is great and provides us with many labour saving benefits that increase our quality of life. That said, off-grid power is a sensible idea in remote locations. It is ‘horse for courses’ – as we say in the UK. Each specific context points to a different set of needs and solution. The rational man must always be mindful of context.
Here in England, it is particularly difficult to achive and land-based lifestyle. The restrictions of government are entrenched and it is clear that we citizens of the UK are not free. We are subordinate to the system of government. We must beg (submit an application) to live on our own land. This is most often denied because of the control of the housing supply and the related cost of housing being an integral part of the controlled (mixed) economy. However, the possibility still remains for the dedicated individual.
Alsewhere in the world, it is much easier. For example, a friend is moving to Canada and has learned that Some areas there have no planning restrictions what-so-ever. Prices of land are another factor that can affect the achievability of living off the land. The main point is to reach for your goal and find a way. Like water flowing around rocks, there is a way around each obstacle.
Reach for your dream
Not everyone will want to live off the land. But my goal here has been to inspire those who may resonate with this lifestyle choice. If we humans think and plan and decide what we want. we can achieve our goals. The rewards are enormous – a happy life of fulfilment, satisfaction and meaning.
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