Let’s assume you live out “in the middle of nowhere,” which is where I like to say we are now. We’re about 15 miles from a little stop on a highway, and about 25 miles from a town of under 5000. Basically, we have all the conveniences nearby—in country miles—but we’re pretty isolated once you make the drive.
In fact, our county road is a dead end, with just one family living beyond us.
As I make the drive on the blacktop, either direction, I can’t help but notice all the farms and homes between here and either town.
What does this mean? Well, if you were living in a small town and hadn’t prepared for SHFT, and perhaps weren’t even passing familiar with the outdoors and/or the area, where would you go for more supplies and help?
Most, I think, would head up the highway to the interstate and towns of 10-50K or more. Some, I suspect, those who hunt and fish on the weekends, might spread out into the countryside.
And here’s our advantage: to get to us, someone would have to travel quite a few miles on blacktop before the county road turn-off; after that, it’s a couple miles of turns and twists.
But see, all along that blacktop are fields and crops and woods and houses and barns and livestock. Most homes, too, are right on the road. Easy pickings.
Sure, a person could set off cross-country, but how many are going to go this far, overland, through woods and hills and creeks and fences, just to find a meal? Too many easier ways to go, and besides, if this person is that familiar with the territory, he’s more likely to quickly find what he needs and stay put.
There are several more homes along the gravel, long before anyone would get back here.
Now, let’s assume that someone does find his way. Remember the dead end road? We block it off. And yes, the neighbors are aware, and yes, they’d be on board with this. Sure, people can work their way around a roadblock, but it takes time and isn’t going to be stealthily done.
Particularly if the roadblock doesn’t appear to be deliberate and man-made.
And oh, yeah. We have ammo.
But let’s say someone wanders down here, and comes along the road. What do they see?
If, at your place, they see fancy gates that welcome them and a manicured lawn or pasture, and can gaze along a paved driveway or pretty gravel one right on up to your large home, you’re probably going to have trouble.
Unless you have a lot of money—a lot—you won’t have the time or resources to build and maintain a fancy bug-out location or homestead. Your purpose, your goal, is to be self-sufficient, learn to live with less, and not strive to out-do the Joneses.
You need to get your priorities straight. If you don’t, you’re setting out the welcome mat to all the stragglers from a 10- or 20-mile radius.
I’m not saying that you can’t have nice things, or keep your place well-maintained and neat; I’m not saying that you should live in a run-down shack with your below-ground bunker.
But when people drive by here, they see an old fallen-down house—still being demolished—and an older, but large, barn. Not much I can do about the barn, but it’s not very close to the house itself, which can’t be seen from the road.
There’s a lot of brush and trees and weeds, a new gate, yes, but it won’t look that way for long; old, sparse gravel on the drive, and rusted wire fencing.
Speaking of, you don’t need a big rock wall to keep out the riff-raff—how many people want to work their way through rusty barbed wire and poison ivy and stickers? Especially if it doesn’t look as though there’s anything worthwhile on the other side? Except, of course, that ammo…
If you’re looking to buy a place, first find the right location—a buffer between you and population centers. Or several buffers. Dead end roads are very good, although I’ll admit that was an accident; but I was very happy to discover it. Okay, really, the entire purchase was an accident!
Check to see if your neighbors are on board. Do they hunt? Do they raise what they eat? Do they live on an estate or a farm/homestead? Don’t bet that because they live out in the country they don’t commute for an hour or more, or have no clue what to do in the woods, or anything else.
Of course, be subtle. I don’t recommend outright asking if they prep—if they do, they aren’t going to tell you, a stranger and a newcomer.
What do you want to avoid? Planned communities. A concentration of several or more homes near each other. Junkyards. And by “junkyards” I mean crappy houses and with piles of stuff in the yard and 14 kids running around, as well as the regular types.
Google or use other sites like court records and assessors’ websites to learn all you can about those neighbors. Creepy? Could be. Too stalkerish? Perhaps. But you need to know. Maybe the only court records are loan defaults—nothing major. But if they’re recent, it could spell trouble for you as they likely aren’t prepared and haven’t stocked up. I’m not bashing poor people, Lord knows I have a few of those from way back and we’re not living on Easy Street right now, either. But it’s a factor. Just like criminal records.
Learn, too, what those neighbors do for a living. When SHTF, an accountant isn’t going to be much help, from an accounting standpoint. But a guy who works as a mechanic probably will. Or a veterinarian, or the one with tools and machinery, or the hunter.
Being prepared isn’t just about stocking up on food and supplies.