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The Half-And-Half Approach, or Escaping In Clear Sight


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We are now living in a very odd social environment in which we are surrounded by weirdos wearing masks.  It's like Invasion of the Body-Snatchers.

 

This is not intended to preach or lecture to people about what to do.  Each of us will do what we think is best according to our own circumstances and abilities.  

 

I want to propose an alternative strategy to going off-grid.  It's not because I think off-grid living is wrong or an undesirable goal.  To the contrary, I am all for it, but my view is that goals have to be realistic.  Over-ambition is a recipe for impotence because you set yourself up to fail and end up doing nothing.  Better to have a realistic goal and take it step-by-step.

 

If you just aim to go off-grid without any sort of intermediate step, you may find the leap is too great and you can't do it.  This is mainly because of the ties you have with the 'civilised' world, which in practice can't easily be broken.

 

This brings me to what I am doing.  

 

I am taking this in two stages:

 

1. Become as independent as possible while living in an ordinary house, etc.

2. When ready, live 'semi' off-grid, which means retaining the upsides of the 'civilised' world as a safety net, while being as detached as possible from the greater mass of people.

 

Step 1 has already taken me about eight years and is still in process.  I think it will take about 10 to 15 years in total.  I'm self-employed and I am almost at the stage where I am completely self-sufficient in food.  This is despite living on a housing estate.  The next stage will be to produce more of my own meat by rearing pigs and becoming self-sufficient for energy, which I aim to achieve over the next two or three years.

 

I don't want to disclose the details of Step 2, because it involves exploiting a loophole in planning law., the specifics of which I do not want to alert to the authorities, but essentially my plan involves living between two locations in order to be able to access the NHS and other state benefits, when needed, while in day-to-day reality living independently.

 

There may be a step 3, which would be to go completely off-grid and cut myself off from the 'civilised' world, but that would have to be considered further down the line.

 

The whole point I am making is that it may be best to take a patient approach and slowly build up your skills and expertise, as I have done, so that you are ready and so that the step to off-grid living happens naturally.

 

Some of the things I have done:

 

I grow my own fruit and vegetables, and now rent land for this purpose.

I keep chickens, bees and rabbits, and plan to keep pigs and a dwarf goat.

I have learned electrical installation, carpentry and joinery, welding, groundwork and bricklaying (City & Guilds courses - all taken for free).  I intend to learn plumbing.

I have learned about micro-electrical generation and plan to build my own system.

I have studied planning law, land and property law, company law,. tax law and agricultural property law - using textbooks I have bought.

I started a business using a legal structure that minimises my tax liability.

I have minimised my interactions with authority and 'official types'.

 

All of this has been done at little or no cost, other than a heavy investment of time - so far over eight years.  I have not rushed it, I have built myself up slowly over time.  I have not drawn attention to myself or wrote letters to my MP or caused trouble or pointed cameras at police officers.  I have kept my head down and kept myself to myself.  This is not out of cowardice.  It is out of a desire to play the long game: my revolt against the system is expressed through my own lifestyle and I will ultimately vote with my feet.

 

In short: I am a rebel in plain sight.  I urge others to adopt the same approach.  I accept it won't suit everyone, some can and will go straight to off-grid, others want to be heard, but I hope this post helps somebody.

 

I have tried to keep this relatively brief.  I welcome constructive criticism and/or comment, and I can also try to provide information/advice - though I am no expert and can't guarantee I can help.

 

 

Edited by Ecki Divad
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You seem to have done very much as myself.

I'm also self employed and grow my own fruit and veg, fortunately i have a large garden. I live on the border between suburbia and a rural aria so if things get desperate i can hunt small game (Plenty of wild rabbits and wood pigeons) I have an old Land-rover with a diesel engine and the equipment to make biodiesel (i also have a diesel generator for when the lights go out) I also have my boat moored on the canal about five miles away so if the shit really does hit the fan i could with a little effort get up the Manchester ship canal and onto the sea. (my boat is a coastal vessel so capable)

I never where a mask, I've a phony exemption cert on my phone but have never had to show it, in fact on the very few times Ive been challenged the very act of saying I'm exempt and reaching for my phone has been enough for them to apologize and let me pass.

some may call me a prepper but I see it more as you have put it, a rebel in plain site

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47 minutes ago, Itsjaybigjay said:

You seem to have done very much as myself.

I'm also self employed and grow my own fruit and veg, fortunately i have a large garden. I live on the border between suburbia and a rural aria so if things get desperate i can hunt small game (Plenty of wild rabbits and wood pigeons) I have an old Land-rover with a diesel engine and the equipment to make biodiesel (i also have a diesel generator for when the lights go out) I also have my boat moored on the canal about five miles away so if the shit really does hit the fan i could with a little effort get up the Manchester ship canal and onto the sea. (my boat is a coastal vessel so capable)

I never where a mask, I've a phony exemption cert on my phone but have never had to show it, in fact on the very few times Ive been challenged the very act of saying I'm exempt and reaching for my phone has been enough for them to apologize and let me pass.

some may call me a prepper but I see it more as you have put it, a rebel in plain site

 

Thanks.  The best thing about rebelling in plain sight is that it is absolutely maddening for the people who would like to turn us in to the authorities.  We are acting with complete legality, which means that even if they clock on to us, there is nothing they can do.  Think of the implications if there were hundreds of thousands of us, or millions.  Supermarkets would have to shut, for a start.  The very structure of society would have to change.

 

Personally I don't bother with owning cars or other vehicles because I regard it as a drain and it involves officialdom (speed traps, MOTs, insurance).  I can get where I need to be on foot or by push bike with cargo trailer, and manage perfectly fine that way.  If I really need to, I can always rent a car or vehicle, but prefer trains.

 

I don't bother with an exemption certificate or anything like that.  I've been in all kinds of shops and other places, and so far, nobody has bothered me.   

 

Boats are a good idea.  My only concern about that is depreciation and the need for maintenance and eventual renewal.  How long do they last?  What is your solution for this?  Are there also mooring fees or is it possible to moor 'wild'?

 

You mention something that has been on my mind: hunting.  I already trap rabbits, but have considered also acquiring an air rifle.  It will need to be low power (legal limit), as I don't want to obtain a firearms certificate with all the fuss and attention that will bring from the police.  Do you recommend air rifles as effective for hunting purposes, if just using a legal limit one?  I will be using a sound moderator.

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1 hour ago, Ecki Divad said:

Personally I don't bother with owning cars or other vehicles because I regard it as a drain and it involves officialdom (speed traps, MOTs, insurance).  I can get where I need to be on foot or by push bike with cargo trailer, and manage perfectly fine that way.  If I really need to, I can always rent a car or vehicle, but prefer trains.

I couldn't do my job without one. actually i have two, a tiny Vauxhall  Agila with a 3 cylinder engine £60 road tax and cheap insurance, that's my daily driver and work vehicle. my Land Rover is from 1972 although the engine is a turbo diesel from the 90's. Its both Tax and MOT exempt and insurance is under £200 a year 

1 hour ago, Ecki Divad said:

I don't bother with an exemption certificate or anything like that.  I've been in all kinds of shops and other places, and so far, nobody has bothered me.   

I just do it to save aggravation, not sure where you are in the UK but round here there are plenty of jobsworths who delight in it, I'm a fairly big guy so most leave me alone and go bother someone obviously weaker than them

1 hour ago, Ecki Divad said:

Boats are a good idea.  My only concern about that is depreciation and the need for maintenance and eventual renewal.  How long do they last?  What is your solution for this?  Are there also mooring fees or is it possible to moor 'wild'?

Mine is a 1972 Norman 23 cabin cruiser it costs less in river tax and mooring fees than it costs to keep a caravan in storage. costs me just under £1000 a year I use it for holidays so well worth it. you don't need a permanent mooring just the river tax but you do have to move moorings every two weeks but can use any public mooring in the uk.

1 hour ago, Ecki Divad said:

You mention something that has been on my mind: hunting.  I already trap rabbits, but have considered also acquiring an air rifle.  It will need to be low power (legal limit), as I don't want to obtain a firearms certificate with all the fuss and attention that will bring from the police.  Do you recommend air rifles as effective for hunting purposes, if just using a legal limit one?  I will be using a sound moderator.

I have a Chinese army speck (same as Chinese army use as a training weapon) .22 air rifle which is  at the uk legal limit, its perfectly capable of taking down a rabbit. in fact i prefer it for small game to a shotgun.

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15 hours ago, rideforever said:

Doesn't anyone want to actually escape ... rather than just move into the countryside ... 

 

Yes, I do, but I ask: escape to what?  That's the whole point of this thread.  Have you considered the practicalities?  If you haven't, then your desire to escape is just an impotent dream and you will, more than likely, end up doing nothing, other than dreaming.

 

In The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, the adventurer T. E. Lawrence wrote:

 

Quote

All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. This I did.

 

As I interpret it, the distinction Lawrence makes is between, on the one hand, somebody who lazily dreams in his sleep and then wakes up to rude reality, and on the other hand, dreamers who see what is possible and have the will to act. 

 

Due to his circumstances, Lawrence had lots of different experiences in different places.  My circumstances are different and the times are different.  I see the possibilities in front of me and I also see what is less practicable.

 

I prefer to form concrete, realistic plans and work on them over a long period of time.  Moving out of the UK occurred to me.  I thought of somewhere like Siberia (I think the Russian Federation has an immigrant scheme for this purpose), or somewhere in Africa or South America or the Australian Outback, or maybe sneaking into Alaska or some other remote part of the United States.  Practically any province of Canada would do too. 

 

But is it practicable?  Maybe for some people with particular experiences, skills, connections and resources, but I am just a normal person of humble means and it's not practicable in my case.

 

Also, some of these countries - Australia, Canada and the USA - have strong central government now, and even people in remote areas in those countries will be at risk of state interference in their lives, which means moving to those places is not the solution it may at first seem.  As for places in Africa or South America, these have the problem of social and political instability and lack of basic services.

 

There's also the emotional factor: Britain is my home.  I don't like the people or the political state known as Britain, but the place is mine and familiar to me.  I have lived abroad in the past.  I won't go elsewhere now.

 

There's also a motivational factor: I acknowledge retreating can be tactically necessary, but in this case it seems like defeat.  If it comes to it, I would rather stand and fight and go down that way, than hide away somewhere (as I would interpret it).

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15 hours ago, rideforever said:

Doesn't anyone want to actually escape ... rather than just move into the countryside ... 

 

I'm almost there.   but what do you recommend?

 

Moving to the countryside is one way to stop curtain twitchers and busy bodies, that's all.

 

one HAS to take into account what one does in old age.  So a lot of ones planning might include foundational plans that carry over.  These plans have to take place WHILE one is carrying on with normal life so its a pain and sometimes slow.

 

My 'escape' is by living in a foundation based house that I built and has been there for years.  So I CANT be kicked out.  Also I run a selling setup there and seeing its my way of making a living (all under the £12.499 tax limit) that's ANOTHER reason that they have little chance of kicking me out.  

 

The thing to comprehend is that I am not my person.  from that sooooo much can be taken and used.  'I' can stop a funny letter in its tracks.  my person cant unless it knows contract law.

 

but I ask again to you, what do you recommend?

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On ‎9‎/‎22‎/‎2020 at 9:32 PM, Ecki Divad said:

 

I keep chickens, bees and rabbits, and plan to keep pigs and a dwarf goat.

 

 

 

 

 

A word to the wise.

 

Goats do live better lives as a herd.  So 2 minimum.  Also cheese is better to make if you have more than one milk source.

 

If its for milk and wool, I recommend a mixed bread that gives some of both.  Rare or purebloods are only necessary if you are selling on.  Some of the best goats are mixes that give tons of milk and are still quite small.

 

Cheers.

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Just now, Ecki Divad said:

Lawrence

 

I commend you on your choice of literature, and physical practical people having good possibilities.  But no matter how far you run or move, to which country and so on ... do you not consider that you are not aiming to be nearly far enough away, nor working on a future but only on the next several decades.

 

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43 minutes ago, rideforever said:

 

I commend you on your choice of literature, and physical practical people having good possibilities.  But no matter how far you run or move, to which country and so on ... do you not consider that you are not aiming to be nearly far enough away, nor working on a future but only on the next several decades.

 

 

Escape to where?  You haven't given us any specifics.  In the absence of practicalities and specifics, why should we pay any more attention than we would to a fantasy novelist? 

 

I'm talking about what can be done in reality.  Ignoring reality just leads to doing nothing.

 

The best rebels and revolutionaries in history based their actions on the system as it was and stole, borrowed and took what they needed from the system while at the same time building their own infrastructure.  If you want a long-term multi-generational strategy, then it is that hybrid approach that I would propose.  There are some things about the system that are good.  Why throw the baby out with the bathwater?

 

That doesn't mean carrying on as before.  Moving to a farmhouse in France just to escape Britain and be out of the way isn't really escaping.  All you are doing is swopping one form of political authority for another.  My approach is to not move at all.  Instead, be a rebel in plain sight by changing the fundamental economic basis of your life so that you are no longer tied to the system.  Grow your own fruit and vegetables.  Produce your own meat.  Hunt.  Generate your own energy.  Educate your children at home.  Wear ordinary work clothes and use your hands to make a living or be self-employed in an intellectual skill you have and work from home.  Pay off the mortgage, if you have one.  Not all at once, but over maybe 10 to 15 years.  The aim is to be functionally independent and, to the greatest practical extent possible within the system, sovereign and free.  All of this is legal and nobody can stop you. As you progress, you will come up with new ideas and develop new goals that are more ambitious than originally.

 

Laozi in the The Tao Te Ching states: "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step".

 

You have to start somewhere, and there is the need to start.

 

If you begin with an unreachable or overly-ambitious dream, then chances are, you'll never start because what you are dreaming of will always be a dream.  An example would be saying that you are going to move to a remote part of South America and live off a smallholding there.  It sounds like a nice idea, but as you work on the idea you then begin to realise there are lots of practical and legal obstacles in the way.  Maybe changing your life so radically isn't such a smart idea?  Maybe it's smarter to stay put and make small changes that add up to a lot over many years?  Besides which, by staying put you are also signalling that you are not accepting defeat.

 

We do need ambition and goals.  That's not my objection.  The point is more that just as under-ambition can lead to sadness, frustration and stagnation, over-ambition is a recipe for impotence and inaction.

 

There is a middle ground in which goals are realistic and achievable.

 

Once a realistic goal is achieved, then we can ask: What further goal should we aim for?

 

As I mention in the original post, there is a third step to my plan which may involve going fully off-grid, but in the long run, I don't see a need for that.  I reiterate that a smart strategy under present circumstances is hybrid: you take what you need from the system while rebelling against it.

Edited by Ecki Divad
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