*Homestead or Retreat?*
By Serger

To head for the retreat or just homestead, what are we gonna do? Most Survival regulars know their orientation on this subject. I’d like to give a little input on the two places to go if you have to live in interesting times. (An old Chinese curse).

The retreat is a haven or lifeboat where you and those you hold dear can weather out some turmoil which made remaining at your , “home” untenable. It’s the hole in the briar patch where you go until the ill wind blows itself out.

The homestead is where people like myself have staked out where they live, saying to the world, "This is it. I’m not going any further."

These places can be urban, suburban, rural or remote dependent on your needs and those of your family/group/team.

Lots of folks make their living in concrete jungles and because of proximity to the barbarian hordes, need a retreat. Others, like myself, after falling out of the jungle and having the good fortune of landing where I don’t worry about hordes (maybe just a horde) , can live in our retreat all the time, transforming it into a homestead.

What's a Homestead?

A homestead is a property that is continuously occupied and has all the comforts of home because that's what it is. Depending on the awareness or paranoia of the occupants, the homestead might be totally off the grid as far as utility systems go, or the owner operator may have the amenities by being tied to the “system”. Either way, it is a hybrid place which is more in depth and sophisticated than the average home. They have enhanced food and water storage capability. Alternative power systems are in place to work around the loss of the normally used ones. Food production to whatever level the owner feels comfortable with is done there. Homesteads are defensible.

What's a retreat?

My definition, the one that counts, is a retreat is a haven or lifeboat where you and those you hold dear can weather out some turmoil which made remaining at your “home” untenable. It's the hole in the briar patch where you go until the ill wind blows itself out.

But as far as nuts and bolts, what exactly is it? I feel a retreat is a property which has structures that can and do hold all your needs which you can't bring in during the “retreating” in your vehicle or on your back. Many people who have a run kit and a well defined place or area they plan to run to usually call their retreat the cabin, lodge, summer place, fishing camp, hunting lodge.

…. But they all have several things in common. They are shelter. They have provisions. They are usually off the beaten path. They probably have alternate heating and lighting systems. Their water and sewage systems, as a rule, are not tied into any municipality . Usually a retreat is not occupied at all times and as such has rougher accommodations than a homestead. Retreats are defensible.

Why might you need one over the other?

Most of the metropolitan survivalists I know just gotta have a retreat to run to when the black flag flies. I think its probably due to being packed like rats in the Metro. I've got a friend in L. A. who says when you're packed like rats you act like rats. However true that is, retreats are needed by individuals, families, and groups if and only if IMHO they would not be better served by staying in place. A case in point would be those who by choice or chance live in coastal areas. They, due to climatic and environmental conditions beyond their control, are forced at odd occasions to flee with what they can carry in their vehicles if they are lucky. If not, they get by with the clothes on their backs. If they are lucky. In times of real upheaval they may need a retreat to go to early in the disaster and avoid the thrill of wild eyed hordes clawing their way down the interstate. Other persons live in areas where, should the normal fabric of life be torn, there is no societal glue to keep their homes safe, either due to bad things coming out of containers which no longer hold them or bad people  doing the same. A case in point would be those persons living in the chemical manufacturing belt around the Houston area. Lots of very notsogood things are being manufactured there. Or those poor souls who live in the Los Angeles basin. Lots of people with a low respect of the rule of law in LA LA land. These may not be totally accurate, but they fit the model of what situations I would think I needed to run from.

Homesteading is for those who are better off staying put. The usual model most people think of is the back to the land tree hugger types who live in log cabins or adobe houses out in the middle of nowhere . In reality homesteading survivalists live in fairly secure areas. There are those who live in Metros, but due to geography or demographics or both have the best of both worlds. They are secure in their persons and property, but didn't have to go 40 miles down a gravel road to get there. An example would be those persons who live in the Red River Valley of north Texas. They are, for the most part, tied into city water and power and some of them sewer, yet they are within spitting distance of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. They know their neighbors and the neighborhood. Many sit on 5 to 20 acres and would be easily sustainable in times of flux. Survivalists such as these live on gold mines and don't even know it. They seem to want to RUN. Other homesteaders live in small towns and just fit into the community they live in. They are well networked and don't “act” like survivalists. But their homestead is never the less a homestead.

So, distilled, here's the deal. If you know in your heart of hearts you and yours will not be viable at home in a moderate to long term disaster scenario, then you're probably a retreater.  If, on the other hand, you know, “I got no place else to go” and I'm better off staying here cause I’ll live longer. Then guess  what,  you're probably a homesteader.

Lastly, don't be so stuck in your paradigm. You are blinded to the need to have flexibility. You might find the retreat you had planned to occupy for a month ended up being your permanent domicile after the other one was razed by looters. Or, your homestead was overrun and those retreaters you laughed about became you as you headed to the barn and well house which sat upon the investment acreage you bought with the microsnot money you pulled out of the market prior to the depression of  ’06. Just follow the 6 “P’s” and you'll never go wrong.

The 6”P’s”...
Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance

 serger (1)

 1. serger: one who overcasts the raw edges of a fabric to prevent raveling.

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