Up north roughly around Albany and then off to the right to nuzzle against Vermont, in a very rural area (about half an hour from a city, and forty-five minutes from Albany), after living here in New York City for close to ten years, and prior to that, still almost always in a city or somewhere urbanized enough that there was a grocery store chain (chains are important, because smaller places generally do not take food stamps, though there are exceptions) within a mile.
We found a place on a heavily forested piece of land shared with the owners in their own attached house, who practice sustainable living, gardening, and do as much off the grid as possible. It’s inexpensive — only $25 more than what we had been paying here, with minimal utility costs, aside from DSL (very strange to think of having DSL again, but at least it’s not dial-up!).
We’ll be adjusting things, I imagine, to try to conserve energy, so we can get as much from the solar panels alone and the solar hot water without needing much from the grid. The stove runs on LPG – propane, basically, which I think I read is something like 50% more environmentally friendly than grid electricity.
I think we’d be doing laundry by hand. Maybe setting up one of those methods with a large bucket and a plunger of some sort, which people say actually works incredibly well and gets their clothes cleaner than a washing machine with much less detergent. Wringers are expensive, but I know we can’t wring things by hand (we are the family of no hand strength or hand disabilities galore).
I would be able to garden to my heart’s content, and also have access to a greenhouse. I would be drowning in trees. There’s a good-sized lake four miles away.
It would be quiet.
There are drawbacks. Various ones. Mainly involving health care, both mental and physical. Though I am wondering if we would all have such a drop in depression and misery that we’d need a lot less therapy, one way or another. Then it’s basically access to medicines, and wondering if I’d need to change my insurance, or do something else to have access to local urgent care or local prescription refills, and standard things in NYC.
If anyone has thoughts, I would appreciate hearing them. This is a major life change, even if it is one we have been talking about for a long time — the ultimate future dream — and there are benefits to being disabled in a city that you don’t have in the country.
I’d especially enjoy hearing from people who have lived a similar lifestyle, if there is anyone.