Strategic Relocation: Ur doin it rong

Some of the links in this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. As an Amazon associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Strategic relocation is smart but I did it the hard way. | www.TheSurvivalMom.comOne of the most popular tenets in the survival/prepper world is the requirement to relocate to an extremely rural location, or, if you must, to a town no larger than population 800, per survival blogger James Rawles.

I have no beef with this except that many survival/prepper experts and their followers exert pressure on those of us not living in Prepper Nirvana, aka Idaho, as though this “strategic relocation”, the title of a book authored by Joel Skousen, is the cornerstone of any and all expectation of survival.

A couple of years ago I even got a handful of emails that urged me, “Lisa, I beg of you. Get your family out of the big city.”

Eventually we did decide to leave Phoenix, and here’s what I have to say about strategically relocating: it’s been the single most difficult challenge our family has ever faced. Any expert or even a well-meaning amateur has no idea what they’re talking about when they urge anyone and everyone to just up and leave. Leave a steady  job. Leave loved ones. Leave a community that you’ve been a part of for many years.

“Leave, and leave now!” they say.

As long as you make your way to Idaho, or maybe Montana, then all will be well.

I agree with these experts that in some SHFT scenarios some cities will become hell on earth and having urban survival skills will be of little use, but others may provide more survival options and be far more hospitable to long-term survival than you might think. But that’s a topic for another post.

Let me take you step-by-step through our family’s relocation process and my advice to you, the prospective relocate-ee.

1.  Before relocating, we first had to make the decision that relocating is a better choice than staying put.

This requires some hefty consideration and long discussions with your spouse. If you have a steady, well-paying job and are surrounded by a community of family and friends in an area that you know well, maybe that’s where you should stay.

Consider this: what, exactly, are you running from? What do you seriously think is going to happen? There are so many bogeymen in the prepper/survival world from chemtrails to the Illuminati that too many people overlook the security they already have and focus on potential events that, truly, may never occur. A few that come to mind:

If there is an economic collapse, are you really better off in a town of 800 people out in the middle of Wyoming? Might not your current location afford a better cushion of support and supplies as well as the most potential to find a job, any job?

Also, are you making this decision based on fear and what other people are telling you to do? Please understand that NO ONE ELSE IS LIVING YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES.

I remember back when my family was on “Doomsday Preppers“, the pilot episode, and their survival expert turned out to be someone who lived in a big city, far from our hometown of Phoenix. He criticized our evacuation plans based on his own template rather than our set of circumstances. We didn’t need an expert to tell us that there were only 3 highways that lead out of Phoenix and that those highways lead into hundreds of miles of desert. We knew far better than he the risks of heading out of town on a busy weekend, much less on a Walking Dead kind of day.

So if you’re feeling judged by the well-meaning folks on survival forums and the like, just smile, nod, and make choices that are in your family’s best interest and not so you can join some sort of elite, virtual survival club.

Ultimately, our decision to move was based on very mundane things, like wanting our kids to experience a different lifestyle, wanting to be surrounded by green stuff and big trees after a lifetime in the desert, and wanting a career change for my husband.

You may want to read this article I wrote a while back for my newsletter. It’s probably the least popular article I’ve ever written based on the number of hate emails I received, “6 Reasons a Rural Retreat May Not be the Safe Refuge You Might Think.

2.  The next step is to decide where to go.

Once we made the decision to move, or relocate, we started looking and planning family vacations that were, in reality, recon missions. We checked out north-central California. We fell in love with parts of Oregon and Utah. I had my heart set on Park City until I discovered that the median home there costs around 700K and quickly set my sights elsewhere.Strategic relocation: It's a whole lot harder than you might think! Here's my story... Click To Tweet

Making this decision is huge. Where your family lives will affect every part of your life for the rest of your lives. If your new location doesn’t provide the employment you need, for example, your life savings will disappear in a matter of months and you’ll be facing a future without that cushion. Your kids will grow up in this new area and that’s where they will likely find their future spouses. You may very well end up establishing a flourishing branch of your family tree, complete with grand kids, in this new location.

If there was ever a decision to be made that involved 90% of your brain and just 10% of your heart, this is it.

As we traveled and did our research, we began eliminating entire states.

Nevada? Nah. Same desert/lack of water issues as Arizona.

New Mexico? Ditto.

Montana? My husband, the island boy, would have had a very difficult time dealing with heavy duty winters. That also eliminated Wyoming and the northern half of Idaho. The wife of a friend complained about the long, gray winter season in her part of Oregon.

Tennessee? It’s supposed to be an awesome state but we had no contacts there and no real reason to pursue it as our family’s next home.

It took us 2 years and about 15,000 miles to visit most all of these locations and nothing really fit. My husband and I honestly thought we would drive through a town, look at each other, and say, “This is it!” That never happened.

For us, it was really divine intervention and a well-placed resume that brought us to Texas. Bottom line, we’re here because of my husband’s job. In a way, we didn’t pick Texas. Texas picked us.

If you’re serious about relocating for whatever reasons, you will probably have to go through a similar process of research, elimination, and evaluation.  Be prepared for this step to take some time, and do not underestimate the importance of having a secure job lined up at Point B, wherever that might be, which brings me to Step 3.

3.  How will you earn a living in this new location?

This is possibly the most important question to consider. In fact, you should probably give this some thought even before you start checking out new locations. We did.

Unless you have a secure and steady income from sources other than a job and a hefty savings account, you will need to earn a living in your new location. That may require working in a city and dealing with a long commute twice a day. For sure, it will require getting to know a new area very well and finding out what job/career opportunities exist.

Don’t plan on making the move and then figuring out how to earn money unless, again, you have that monthly income and a large pile of money in the bank. By the way, if you are many months or years away from making this move, following Dave Ramsey’s money advice, starting now, can help you get to a financial position in which a strategic location has fewer drawbacks.

As well as income as a factor, consider the health, physical condition and ages of each family member. Health issues may be a determining factor — something you may not have thought of and another reason to have that job nailed down before the big move. That isolated homestead may be alluring, but if there’s a good chance you’ll be making frequent visits to see a doctor or go to the hospital, you’ll probably want to find something closer to civilization.

Definitely consider renting once you get to your dream location, just to make sure that exact spot is going to work for you.

4.  Once you’re past Questions 1-3, the really hard work begins

Yeah, that statement discouraged me, too. It also surprised me.

My husband had a great job lined up, we even knew where we needed to live in order to make his commute bearable, but then came the issue of getting our house ready to sell. If you own a house, you can either sell it or rent it.

We wanted to sell and I spent a lot of time marketing our home as a For Sale By Owner. Long, long story short, our house sold in early September. That sale fell through, which was devastating to me since my husband had moved out of state for his job.

I was a single mom for over 4 months.

One funny note, or at least it’s kind of funny now, is that I wanted our house to be in 100% pristine condition for showings and that meant dealing with 2 elderly dogs, 4 cats, 3 litter boxes, and cleaning up poop in the backyard. Prior to a potential buyer showing up at the front door, we staged a cattle drive of sorts to get our 4 cats into their individual crates, lug the crates to the Tahoe, load our 2 elderly, deaf dogs, and then, as sort of the cherry on the sundae, grab all 3 litter boxes and load them up as well.

I spent a lot of time driving aimlessly around my part of town with our vehicle filled with meowing cats, confused dogs, my 2 kids, and litter boxes.

The house finally sold for real in mid-October. Our closing date was the day before Thanksgiving, which was also my son’s birthday. Naturally, he expected a lavish event, and I set up a party at a  nearby pizza/video game restaurant.

We had to put our beloved Basenji, Delcie, to sleep that same day. I still haven’t had time to grieve, everything happened in such a rush.

Moving forward, we left Phoenix the day after  Thanksgiving, and if you haven’t chauffeured 4 cats and a nearly senile dog 1300 miles, then you just haven’t lived. Once we arrived in Texas, we didn’t have a place to stay, so we landed in a pet-friendly hotel for 2 weeks. Thank God for disposable litter boxes and understanding hotel maids.

That was interesting, to say the least.If there was ever a decision to be made that involved 90% of your brain and just 10% of your heart, this is it. Click To Tweet

A wonderful family invited us to stay with them and that’s where we spent the next 5 weeks.

“Accept and adapt.”

I’m glad I adopted that as one of my life slogans a couple of years ago! It kept me sane and optimistic while living in one bedroom with 5 animals. Six counting my husband.

In late-December of 2013, we finally found the house that would become our cozy Texas home.

Your relocation, if you’re brave enough to tackle this project after reading my tale, will consist of making the decision for the right reasons, finding a specific location, securing a job or having the means to live without one, and then going through the actual moving process, from packing up, selling the old house, and moving into your next home.

Is there a right way to strategically locate?

At the end of the day, the only way to know if your strategic relocation has been a success is how you and your family fare once the move has been made. I’m not judging our new location in Texas based on the frustrations that came with selling our house or having to eat at a different restaurant three times a day!

We’ll know if our decision was sound and whether it was the right one for our family months and even years from now. Did we move to a location that will be more survival-friendly in a worse case scenario? We won’t know that until something dire happens. Will our kids thrive in this new location, making friends, and becoming part of a supportive community? So far, so good.

Relocating is a popular theme on survival forums and websites and is very often promoted by people who have never relocated themselves! I believe our family’s experience is more typical than not, especially if you are somewhat cautious in your life-changing decisions.

Have you thought of relocating specifically for reasons associated with survival and preparedness?


80 thoughts on “Strategic Relocation: Ur doin it rong”

  1. Thanks for posting this. My husband and I recently came to terms to quit living in the “someday” and focus on living where we are now. We are in a major metro area in the midwest – economic collapse – this place is going to be the last place you want to be. On top of that we’re both from rural areas in a neighboring state and yearn to be close to family. Financially, we’re WAY underwater and it doesn’t make any amount of financial sense to sell or rent the house right now.
    Yes, we want to move to the country (survival is really like number 10 on the list of reasons though), but focus on improving the WHERE YOU ARE today – not living in the “someday” like we have been – it’s truly a huge weight off our shoulders to just accept where we are and be okay with it for now.

  2. I’ve been wanting to relocate for a while now….three years ago we went to my husband’s family reunion. We FELL IN LOVE with the area and are planning on moving there at some point….our only issue right now is getting a job that will let us move there. Also, I’ve ALWAYS wanted to live on enough land to have horses and a farm. Can’t do that on our current property, but we COULD if we moved. We could either move onto some land in our current area or in the area we dream of moving to.

  3. Oh Lisa, I just hate those one size fits all rules of relocation. Ultimately, every family has to consider their own needs and lifestyle plans. It sounds to me as though you were more thorough than most.

    Living on an island as I do, I see many families sell everything and move here, not realizing the cost (financial and physical) of being so isolated. Heck, they come during the summer during tourist season when it is most idyllic and expect their life to magically become so when they arrive and establish residence. Of course, we all know that nothing is 100% idyllic all of the time.

    Anyway, you have written a great article that I plan to share.

    — Gaye

    1. The Survival Mom

      Thanks, Gaye. Yeah, we probably were more thorough than most — likely due to my husband and I both being the oldest kids in the family who always have over-research. LOL

  4. Sharon Astryk wrote a pretty cool book, MAKING HOME, and a few of the chapters tackle these very issues. She wrote about whether staying put was the best way to prepare for the future and the environmental fall out that is coming. Some people find her to be ‘doom and gloom’ but preppers will find balance in her approach. I enjoyed it and your post really reminds me of the questions she asked readers. Is leaving community, employment and roots really the best solution for a time period when we may need those things more. Congrats on surviving your move. As former military family we have endure our share… never fun but always an adventure.

  5. Having now moved 26 (yes, that’s TWENTY-SIX!) times, the “moving” part I’ve got under control 🙂 Hubby was active duty military for 22 years. Now that he has retired from the military, we’re free to choose where to live..provided we can meet your #3. Hubs is in a somewhat specialized field & can’t get a job just anywhere. So we’re making the best of where we are, with an eye to saving a downpayment & buying land where we want to eventually “land”. In the meantime, our BOBs have gotten more complete (and complicated!) and food storage more focused on light, packable things as opposed to lots of home canned stuff

    1. The Survival Mom

      We absolutely adore Park City. We were there in October, probably the last time for a while since the distance is a lot further now.

  6. Excellent unconventional advice, Lisa! We are individuals and need an individualized preparedness plan. As a former teacher, you remember the IEP’s, right? In the prepper world, IEP stands for Individualized Evacuation Plan. 😀

    Great article!

  7. It’s funny how so many in the prepper community want to move to Idaho or Montana. My husband and I grew up in that area and once my husband and I lost our house we left. The economy up there stinks, so whoever goes there needs to be financially well off, which most moving there do (wealthy Californians).
    We have been moving across the U.S. since we left Idaho and we both love Southern Missouri. It is more populous than those two states, but we noticed people are more helpful/friendly and the weather is better for growing food. We noticed a much more vibrant farming community and farmers markets also! The land and housing prices are also very low compared to up North, which used to be about the same but has skyrocketed.
    Living up North is comparable to living in Alaska, the dark dreary weather takes a toll on you physically and mentally.
    We next moved to Florida (which I thought is where you said you lived before?) to be near family, but we hate it here. It is a police state and you really can’t trust anyone.
    Next we are moving to either Texas or Oklahoma for job reasons. We plan on staying there until we can save up enough money to purchase property with cash, then most likely back to rural Missouri.
    Living in an RV makes this much easier than having to rent or buy and being able to relocate if things don’t work out 🙂

      1. Raymond Matthews

        Lived in Joplin and Carthage MO for 35 years and it was wonderful to get out of there. Economic collapse and you will have “undesireables” flooding in from Little Rock, Kansas City, Tulsa, and Chicago. I have witnessed this with my own eyes during the race wars in Carthage. And as an accomplished hunter I can tell you that the game will not last 3 months in that area. There is a HUGE population of illegals who have no woods skills so where will they get their next meal? All the good retreat areas are already taken by militia and THEY WILL NOT WELCOME YOU unless you are a combat medic. Many of them are good friends of mine. I live at the base of a mountain range in Wyoming, In a collapse you will loose your water supply in a few days as the city shuts down. I have fast flowing mountain streams that will never quit. Never ending supply of Firewood and moose, bear, deer elk, all over the mountain. But if the shit hits the fan, don’t come running up here. There are militias here too.

  8. Lisa,
    I haven’t been to your site in a while and see what I miss! Really sorry to see you leave Arizona, but I understand that sometimes a relocation is necessary. At least we can still benefit from reading your blog. Enjoy Texas!

    Ralph in Arizona.

  9. Great thoughts to consider Lisa! Thanks so much. I’m living two blocks from Walmart in a major city and it’s not my ideal situation, but I do love the community of friends and family that we have here. With my in laws being elderly and close by, moving off to my planned “retirement farm” life won’t happen anytime soon I hope. It’s not ideal and it’s not my dream location, but when Ike came through we had the people resources nearby that helped us make it for 19 days without electricity and “life as normal.”

  10. Our current location in Southern California’s high desert is a bad place to be if a big “event happens. We are surrounded by prisons, and that means we are also surrounded by prisoner families. Plus the local economy stinks. Things in our area are already getting bad, car break ins, home invasions, street fights right after school, etc. We so want to move on. Because DH and I are both teachers, we need to choose our next location carefully. We would most likely retire at our next location. We also need something reasonably close to our grandchildren. My daughter is in Montana, but not for prepper reasons, her DH has a real good oil related job. Right now, it takes 3 days to get to her by car, or a very expensive plane ticket plus a long drive. Being of the thought that it is better to be prepared for an event that doesn’t happen than to stick my head in the sand is just one of many reasons we would like to move.

  11. We’re looking to move to a less populated state. It’s tough to make the move when you owe more on your home than it’s worth. We’ll figure it out.

    Great post

  12. If you try to realocate yourself and still try to live the same life you have before, don’t do it.
    Before you try that, change your mind set to a colonial mind set.
    because a dire situation will break you down, and only yhat kind of mind set you can survive, any one who tell you other way, never have to live of the land. and don’t real understand the way things are connected all around us.
    Search for people that live in the mountains all around the world and you’ll see what I mean.

  13. I have actually read many blogs/posts through the years from people who dealt with true economic collapse, and in war-torn areas. The reality is, many of the jobs and other resources moved to the cities. If you locate yourself too remotely, you better really know what you are doing. I think many preppers have this glamours idea they are going to live like Grizzly Adams with their Indian friend. There is nothing glamorous about living that way. And, all the canned food in the world is going to cut it. Not to mention, the more remote you are, the more vulnerable you are in many ways. I admit, it’s a catch 22. I believe if you’re surrounded by friends and family you probably have a better chance, no matter where you are. Yet, that still poses challenges if none of them are prepared.

    I also think moving near a heavily “prepper-minded” community can have it’s own issues. There is a subset of these people who are crazy, and you would not want them with you in a true SHTF situation. Just a thought.

    Either way, every scenario is going to have its set of challenges. You need to think them through, and as this article suggests, make decisions based on those challenges. Do what works for you. Nobody knows for sure what will actually work when something happens, but better to be prepared than not.

    I’ll also leave one final thought. Even the best thought out plans will not always work. As Matt Drudge recently said, “Have an exit plan”

  14. Great advice! It is so true that we can’t all fit in the “mold”. Some people need to be closer to hospitals, specific job situations, elderly family members, etc. We have to make our moving decisions based on what we know our abilities are or are not, what our strengths/weaknesses are, and what is best for our family; not only in a worst case scenario possible future, but also for the here and now.

  15. I loved this article-like a letter from a best friend catching me up. My dad worked for the Atomic Engergy Commission, so we moved constantly. Literally, I would wake up in one house and go to bed in another! I am, needless to say, pretty expert at moving. Moving is exhausting: financially, mentally,and physically. There is no other way to describe it. The blessings come when you have new people, new things to do, new areas to visit, etc. It refreshes and energizes you. My mom would have sympathized with the animals-we always had cockers-and that brings a lot of bling to the adventure!
    I live in a semi rural but city close area. Good area, but it’s in California. My area has nothing in common with the idiots under the dome in Sacramento. I have been looking at Texas, but until I get the job offer, I am not leaving. I hope that you expand on your experiences in the new area. I also think that being close to a city might be a little easier in a crisis down situation. People just need to remember; you are going to something and not escaping from something.

  16. Move only if YOU see the need. There some “experts” who say if you can get through the first months of a true SHTF scenerio that the city could become a safe place. “Experts” they mean well but some are going to get a lot of people killed.

  17. My husband and I are retired and planning a move nearer to our family. We are blessed to be debt free with good retirements and have many life skills. Because of our age, even thought we are in good health now, we need to make the right decision for the future. Part of me want to be outside the small college town, maybe an acre off the main roads for a garden, fruit trees and some chickens. I know we are too old to think we can life totally self reliant, but Just think it would be safer to not be too close to town if things go bad. But we have to think about how long we can keep up a big yard and live independently. Living in town would have us near the hospital, grocery stores and make it easier to get started making new friends and have a social life. I am terrified we will make a mistake.

  18. Lisa, I’m sorry but I DID purchase strategic location. The book, and found it to be a very poor representation of we preppers needs. I understand there is and would be a lot to cover regarding the entire US.

    This book did not meet our needs or expectations as marketed by those in support of the author. The issue of prepping and site location is truly complex. Sadly I purchased this book on the recommendation of fellow prepper leaders, who should have considered their viewers rather then fluff a poorly dome expensive book.

    Lisa keep up the good work, your contribution to our way of life is huge. Please please don’t get caught up in the commercial side of marketing crap.


    Dirk Williams

    1. The Survival Mom

      Hi Dirk. Thanks for your comments. I know that some of the material in Strategic Relocation is controversial. What convinced me that much of the info was accurate was the summary for my home state of Arizona. Skousen’s advice was right on.

  19. I have FerFal’s book on the 2001 Argentina collapse and he pointed out a few things that did happen (not what might happen as written by Rawles in his works of fiction) the first is that there was no work or money to be made in rural locations so people moved to the cities where there were at least some jobs and a chance of making money. The other thing that happened was the outlaw groups would go to rural farms and rape (numerous times) woman and children (5-years and older) beat and murder all people they found and do it for days at a time. The reason is that there was no one to come to the aid of the people being victimized. City’s were actually safer then the country locations.

    This was based on what DID happen, not what some supposed survival expert thinks may happen.

    FerFal’s book is MUST reading for anyone interested in survival / prepping. It’s based on experience and facts and a lot of it fly’s in the face of what many arm-chair survival experts (like Rawles) say will happen.

  20. I recently reread a couple of Laura Ingalls’s books. They move around a lot. At some times they move into an existing house, they come in the morning and in the afternoon everything is in place… it’s amazing.

    1. The Survival Mom

      They owned almost nothing back then, though. And, I’m envious! I still have so many boxes to unpack and that’s after donating truckloads (literally) of stuff to Goodwill and veterans groups.

  21. We had no choice but to relocate, but we didn’t move far. In a grid-down situation, we’d have to leave, but we have an emergency location not too far away. I think what most people don’t stop to consider is that there are going to be drawbacks in every situation. I would love nothing more than to be on several hundred acres in the middle of nowhere, but it’s not going to happen. To paraphrase a post above, I’m not Grizzly Adams or Chuck Norris. Living off the land is admirable, but it’s not easy and when you have no experience, it’s very difficult. Instead of focusing on a dream location that doesn’t really exist, work to improve your current circumstances. Think about the possible emergencies that will arise in your current area and figure out how you could work around or through them. Sometimes staying put is the best thing you could do.

    1. The Survival Mom

      I agree, SMom. A lot of people are wasting their time worrying about their current location. Really, all it would take for a “dream bug out location” to become a nightmare is a broken bone or a serious illness. Or a forest fire. Or your land being categorized as a wetlands and you no longer have access to it. Sometimes a plain old little house in a nondescript neighborhood is a good thing.

  22. Lisa, that is interesting. We purchased for specific area reviews here in Southern Oregon. If you lived on the I-5 corridor there were decent realistic reviews

    . We discovered that the more practical areas of Oregon for long term prepping were marginal at best. I would have to describe the review of Southern and Eastern Oregon as pathetic. It was clear NO research was conducted, it appeared to us as if the author had read a few web articles, and made observations and conclusions based on those article.

    In my opinion for me a waste of money. And the book was not cheap. Lisa, not trying to be overly critical, I just feel our associates should get what they paid for and the rest of the story from those not pumping his book.

    Again keep up the good work. You do our community a wonderful service.


  23. Congrats on your move Lisa. Missed your posts! Thank you so much for this one. I “awoke” a couple years ago and location has been nagging in the back of my mind for awhile. I have checked many things off of my list and changed our families lifestyle for the better. We are more frugal, we ramped up our gardening skills and love to camp, I learned how to can and dehydrate. We have a “general store” in the basement but I always wondered should we move to a “better” place? Your post helps put my mind at ease. We have already decided we are fine where we are. We are in a nondescript neighborhood close enough to things in a conservative, non-nanny-state. Plenty of employment, especially for my husband in skilled labor. We are in a Midwestern medium sized city on 1/2 an acre with a well with a decent cost of living compared to most areas in the nation. We are raising teens, before long it will be just my husband and I taking care of chopping wood, gardening etc. We are also close to a very large family that we get along well with.

    The grass is always greener on the other side and there upsides and downsides to EVERY scenario. Thank you again Lisa for a very practical and realistic post.

  24. Big city – or midsize city – is the way to go for the vast majority of SHTF scenarios. See ‘FerFal’ at the Surviving in Argentina blog. Real world account of what happens to the ‘preppers’ in the country (executed by roving gangs) vs prepared people with a survival network in the big city (inconvenienced, but comfortable).

  25. We are your twins almost! LOL We had 2 months notice. Transferred to Texas last April. Grew up in Utah and WA, left IL. Still looking for Ortho for my daughter. 🙂 Husband just started another new job as the company was much different then we expected. You can only control so much. Knew NO ONE. Felt led and took the leap. Took a huge loss on the house. Feel so much more free. Would do it again in a heart beat after only being here almost a year. Welcome to Texas! Let us know if we can help!! 🙂 We moved Easter. We would love to visit and show you around! DFW area.

  26. We had seriously considered buying land in Idaho, North Dakota, or Montana …until we broke down in December in Bismarck, ND. Then we decided we were too old to deal with that kind if bitter cold. We have since decided that staying in Central Texas to be oir best option 🙂

    1. The Survival Mom

      Kitty, age is definitely a factor to consider. I’m at the half century mark and wondered if I was up to a major lifestyle change, as in buying rural property and livestock. We ended up not making such a major change, but who knows what the future could bring. I agree with you about moving to the far north, though, unless you’re used to that weather or are young and hardy! I remembered that Laura Ingalls Wilder’s book The Long Winter, her entire town in South Dakota almost died during a particularly bad winter, and that was enough to convince me that neither Dakota was for us!

  27. Wow Lisa, What an adventure and we know you just hit the highlights! Very sorry for the loss of your Basenj and sad that you left AZ. Your article was so helpful as we consider the same options! As my husband finishes diesel school we are praying about where we are to go or if we should stay in AZ. You are quite right about individual situations being the determination of what if best for your family. It is so interesting because I had been determined on finding a mountain location but have been feeling more and more that that might not be the best option.

    I can’t thank you enough for sharing your story!! Hope you and your family enjoy Texas, and if this Arizona family happens to move to Texas too…..well “God Bless Texas!”

  28. Welcome to Texas! I’m hoping you’re in the DFW. Austin is sooo boring!

    Please check out our Gun vending machines and arm up! 😛

  29. Thanks for the article. It baffles me that so many people have the one-size-fits-all mentality about relocating. Personally, I’ve wanted to move to Montana for over 20 years. I’m living in a larger city in the west and have been wanting to move for years, but it just has never worked out. They say if you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans. Well, He’s laughing at me now! =) Someday I’ll move. Wonder where it will be??

  30. In defense of Lisa…

    While population centers can be bad. We here in Texas have lots of guns. I suspect that many bad people will be dealt with. Unlike the unarmed societies in a fair amount of cities across America.

    Texas has almost a year round growing season.

    We have pretty much EVERY type of industry a country needs. I suspect after an economic collapse, when things settle down. Texas will lead the recovery.

    While 34″ isn’t the best annual rainfall. With totes, barrels, or a cistern you can make do. Other parts of Texas are better or worse.

    More good points, but I’ve posted enough.

    1. The Survival Mom

      Thanks so much, David, but I don’t feel like I need defending. I was so glad Cathy posted her comment because it was a perfect illustration of EXACTLY what I was talking about in my article.

      This blog has always been a non-judging, non-fear-mongerzing zone and will stay that way.

  31. My husband and I have wrestled with this same proposition and don’t have a clear answer. I just decided to try to win a bunker LOL! I have! And you can too.. Enter Here To Win a Bunker from Rising S! >>>

  32. Well dang. We just relocated outside of a town of 1000. We missed our under 800 mark. And not Montana. . Wisconsin. Shoot. Close enough I guess.
    joking aside. ..
    Sure beats being next to Evansville Indiana in a apartment. I am very happy with our new location with woods and a garden. And basement. My husband and I plan to re-relocated a bit further north eventually into the upper peninsula of Michigan. Or a bit more remote in Wisconsin. But if not we can deal with the extra 200 people.

  33. Welcome to Texas Little Lady. Glad to have ya’ll join us. Well-written article in that it was informative and honest. We’re in East Texas just north of a fella that calls himself “Above Average Joe”. Beautiful country and has just about everything you need.

    Again, glad to have ya’ll with us.

  34. Thanks for the great article, I have been given your website recently and love it. We currently live in MA and are sort of preppers by the pure force of nature and climate here. Always have food on hand as our winters are brutal. I enjoyed the article as we are now planning on moving to lovely state of Arizona. Not Phoenix but a beautiful area just outside of there. My husband job is remote and we homeschool our daughter. I understand that AZ is homeschool friendly as well. TX was on our list too, but we love hiking and the mountains terrain in AZ was so breathtaking. What luck that I found a great website and a woman with a family who lived in AZ. If you have any tips regarding AZ I would love to hear them? We need to get out of MA it is too congested and even though we live near the coast the winters are too long. With the slightest mention of a snow storm the grocery stores become a madhouse and shelves are bare.
    Our taxes are outrageous and we don’t agree with the politics here. Time to try something new and AZ will be our next stop. Thanks again for the great reading. Love your site.

  35. For the very reason my family moved a lot (or what I call a lot) when I was a child. Always for the better, but it was an event to say the least. I learned young, that moving has to have far more pluses to come in the future or it won’t be worth it. Before my parents moved us all out to AZ in the 1990’s we left suburban life and had to rent for 6 months in a very rural area. It was an eye opening experience. I was 18 and had to drive 40 minutes to college one way. An even longer drive to work on rural roads and learned a lot of lessons about living in a rural area when you are use to a suburban area. To get good prices going to the grocery store was an event. We shopped for a month and did it all at once to get what we needed. Wasting fuel was not an option to make back and forth trips.

    Prior to that experience I thought I always wanted to live in a place that was rural. I realized quickly that life was not exactly what I thought. I still want to be able to get away from the chaos of the city and we take vacations to do that. However, too often people move some where without a lot of thought. My husband asked me once. “Do you want to live in a rural area?” My answer was simple, “only when we have raised the family and they are able to do what they need to do.” Otherwise for me, being close to my family and the city is what I need to be sane. We take vacations away and plan for hard times. Moving from where we live now would serve us no good purpose. At least not now, so whatever happens, will happen. I don’t pretend to think I can control how things will go down in a SHTF situation. Even the best plans go up in smoke because that is just what happens. Having a plan and knowing how to roll with the fact that it has to be able to move with what is actually happening is the best thing you can do. Like you said Lisa, “Accept and Adapt.” It is all you can do.

    Enjoy your new start b/c had my parents not moved us 3000 miles from all I knew in the 1990’s I would never have met my wonderful husband. It all works out how it is suppose to.

  36. The Survival Mom

    This from Kountry Kathi via email:

    The only suggestion I would add is to maybe rent before buying to make sure that final decision is the best one for you and yours. This is especially important when moving as far as you did and we did when we moved to MO.

    Once we were physically here, we learned so much more about the area. Like what counties had high property tax rates, city type government that made rules for rural parts of the county and the like. Then, there is the terrain differences. The terrain south of Springfield is gorgeous to drive thru, but vertical land is hard to live on and do much other than look at. You learn where the urban sprawl is going and can avoid those areas. And many other aspects.

    We ended up past where urban sprawl is likely to happen, where there are no major highways, no railroads, no factories of any sort, but still not a bad drive to the airport for hubby to leave for work. All good things when it comes to being better prepared.

  37. We (me, husband & two kids) moved from a large city in the midwest (where we were both born and raised) to a small town in northern Idaho about 3 months ago. It wasn’t for preparedness, per se, but that was in the back of my mind. I wanted out of the city and my husband wanted mountain views. For me, I wanted a slower-paced life for my children and room for them to go outside and play without constantly worrying and checking on them every 5 minutes. I wanted to start gardening so I have greater control over what we are consuming and can start preserving our own food. I wanted to develop useful life skills to take care of my family no matter what happens (I worked nearly full-time in the financial industry). I now stay home with my children and have been planning our garden. Scary? Yes. Worth it? For us, without a doubt!

  38. So happy I found this article! Nice to read a more realistic approach to deciding on best locations in a grid down situation. I was weary of hearing about how we should all just chuck our lives and move to Montana, Idaho or Wyoming. I lived in the UP of Michigan for several years and know I don’t want to relocate to a snowy location. As a born and bred southern girl, I’ve often wondered why the many benefits of the south are never mentioned. Alabama has more undeveloped land than we do developed areas. Forests are plentiful here and hunting and fishing areas are plentiful as well. Our growing season is longer here and with some simple greenhouse solutions, can easily be year round. I live about 30 miles outside of a major city, but in a rural type setting on the banks of a major river. We work in that major city have grown accustomed to the commute. We moved here years before we ever started prepping and after we did start, considered securing an even more remote location. However I am rapidly deciding that our best option may be exactly where we are now. As we near retirement age, we are still open to relocation, but I do know that we won’t be looking much further north than the possibility of TN.

  39. Country Codger

    Hi Lisa,

    Mr. Skousen has some very good information but if i had listened to him I would have made a serious mistake. I purchased my retreat in New Mexico in obedience to a dream I was given. First thing, I had a well drilled and it produces awesome clean, cold water at 141′. No one around me has a well that shallow. So, even though there are “experts” in the prepper community follow the Lord. I am currently in southeast Texas in a town of 750 people and I love it. Welcome to Texas!!!


  40. I’ve never understood the “live in a microtown” mentality. Who is going to help you defend your house? Do you really want to drive an hour to get to a Home Depot or grocery store? How are those public schools and churches going to be? Can you say Crystal Meth??? How are you going to get a good job; is commuting two hours each way a good balance of life choice? What if your kid or spouse has specialized interests, like playing violin in an orchestra???

    In my opinion, for the non-retired, moving to a rural area like Rawles suggests is insane. Yes, I said it. I.N.S.A.N.E. Oh, and what happens when he has a heart attack or slips in the ice and breaks a leg, and the ambulance is 45 minutes away??? How does that work? Nope, you don’t read little bits of reality like that in his books. There is too much focus on the doom and gloom event that may take years to happen, and not enough on your suffering that will happen every day until that event makes your sacrafice justified.

    For what it is worth, I think a MUCH better solution is a suburb of a suburb of a medium-sized city. Find the smallest town in your favorite semi-rural area that has a movie theater and a big box hardware store (population 15-20,000?), then move outside of that town a bit. The small town still has what you need and jobs, but by moving a little bit out of town you can get land cheap and still be within ambulance range (and internet?), and the medium-sized city still has an airport with Southwest. Now you have a decent life, both before and after an event. Best of both worlds.

  41. Country Codger

    Dear Snafuperman,

    Spoken like a true city boy. I know everyone in my town and they know me. We have the same basic conservative beliefs. Their kids call me mister and they call my wife Ma’am, just like God intended. We have 5 churches in town and a fairly new Catholic church about 8 miles out of town. If any church needs help, white, black or in between the others are there to help. We are a farming community. We swap for various things like food, feed, chickens, horses, cattle, goats and sheep, etc. This would probably scare the heck out of you since it doesn’t have a scannable Wal-Mart price tag but it is how we live our lives. If people see me walking the dog they ask if my truck is running or if I need a ride to town. I walk a lot to try and rebuild the muscles in my left leg after surgery. I attended a funeral just after getting out of the hospital for my leg surgery and people were worried about me and that includes the family of the deceased.

    I am sure that all of this would scare the normal suburbanite but here in small town America I like knowing the police chief’s name, yes, he just retired and Sgt. Maher I hope will get his job. My mayor , city council people and bank president all know my first name. I can walk into the bank here in town and buy a rifle, pistol, shotgun or if I was a Class 3, a machine-gun because my banker is also my gun dealer. Our little town is just a fly speck for you big city folks but I love my flyspeck. When was the last time you bought 5,000 rounds of 5.56 or 7.62 NATO and walked out of your bank with it?

    The local major of the Texas Dept. of Public Safety is a junkie for my wife’s jalapeno pepper jelly. He is about 6’6″ and often stands out in front of our local state bank in uniform, just in case some stupid fool decides to try and rob it. I know him and many of his siblings, there were 17. I have walked into city hall with my pistol still in my holster and no one said a word. Mr. Johnson walked into the bank and did all of his business and the teller leaned over to him before he left and whispered “Mr. Johnson, you forgot to remove your pistol before you came in”. Can I walk my streets at night without getting mugged. “HELL YES!!!” If someone that is not known hereabouts drives down my road I’ll have 2 people calling before the visitor knocks on the door. This probably scares the hell out of you I am sure but for a simple minded person like myself, I LOVE IT!!!


  42. Can I just say, I loved the article about why you SHOULDN’T necessarily move.

    I made the mistake of picking up a James Wesley Rawles book as one of my first “prepping” books. I think that man has given me more sleepless nights than anything else ever in my life!

    My hubs was an inner-city kid, and I have made some serious progress in getting him out into the ‘burbs. He is 10 min from work on a bad day, and we homeschool and “suburban homestead” on our little lot. I quit my part time job several years ago to stay home with the boys full time, and we absolutely could not do this on one income if we “relocated”. I would rather move a bit more north and west in our county, but at least for now he is dragging his feet.

    I grew up in Wyoming, and I know what it’s like out there. I miss my mountains. I miss the winters and the wildness and the wide open spaces. But I know, realistically, there is no way the Hubs would make it. He’s also got some health issues so being near a hospital is a must.

    Here, in our quiet little corner of suburbia, we’ve got access to community and resources. We have family nearby, and until Hubs feels more adventurous, we’re here to stay. I just hope I can get a couple trips “home” out of him….

  43. I did move my family for survival reasons. We lived on the east coast, in the tidewater region. Every so often there would be a hurricane. My local government was agraid of mosquitos and sprayed everyones yard even when we had filed the right paperwork to make them stop that. Our neighbors were 80 people in one house who changed faces every three months. They did not know I could speak their language and understood every word they said. My kids could not go outside because of allergies, asthma and the aforementioned neighbors. Our county built houses everywhere and it started taking an hour to drive anywhere, unless it was three in the morning, just after the end of rush hour and just before it started again. We live in the mountains now. My husband telecommutes four days a week. I am not the only person with an emergency kit anymore and my parents live six miles away. We can go outside. The asthma is almost nonexistent and the allergies have settled. We are still fairly close to a hospital with great medical staff and no one here has ever had to wait 19 hours in the emergency room waiting area with a sick kid, unlike our old home. We love it here, I just wish we had done it sooner. With the kids, we aren’t. Going to be able to pull off middle of nowhere rural, but our mountain town is pretty awesome.

    1. That’s a good point about the city hospitals being overwhelmed. For that matter, they also tend to have foreign or less experienced staff. A smaller medical facility, coupled with some access to urgent-but-not-emergency care, might fit the bill better for many.

  44. As an Idahoan, I can tell you DON’T come here. In the last six years we have had such a huge splurge in population. The infrastructure is not designed to handle the numbers. There is only so much space in the mtn valley. Rent is sky high due to supply and demand. Land has skyrocketed. Our crime rate has increased. I think those who said ID is THE place to be should be shot. Because they ruined what used to be a nice little town.

    I didn’t think I would ever leave here, but seriously considering now. Even at our tiny county fair this apst year, there was an attempted rape of a 4h kid by one of the newcomers. Stay away. Keep the crime in your own home town. Also, don’t come here changing laws to be like your former place. If your old place was so great, go back!

  45. My husband and I decided to relocate for several reasons, one of which was we didn’t want to live in a large city if/when TSHTF. We did not have reliable or prepared neighbors, we realized our city was extremely unprepared for the two small natural incidents we experienced, and we had no land on which to garden/raise animals. We worked towards moving for two years (paid off bills, finished small jobs around the house). We moved about an hour outside of the city, and now own land. My husband’s commute improved from 1.5 hours to 30 minutes, my kids love their schools (which are the same size, but have a very different attitude-the teachers actually love teaching!), our kids play outside EVERY SINGLE DAY-something they couldn’t really do in our previous location. We are surrounded by like minded neighbors with a variety of skills and supplies. This has been the best thing we have decided to do as a family.

  46. Patti Page White

    It’s a little late but Welcome to Texas! I hope you love it here as much as we native Texans do. I have no idea which part of the state you relocated to, but there is beauty in every corner of our great state! Enjoy your new state.

  47. My wife and I got several laughs from the article and the comments. At the beginning of 2013 we discovered our house was worth about $50K less than we owed, and we’d already lost $100K + sweat equity. We completed a short sale 12/13/13 and moved to FL for 6 months. Then we bought an RV and have been full timing since 5/16/14 and plan to do so until June, 2016.

    We’ve been exploring areas we think we’d like, and we’ve discovered many nice areas where we could set up and have a good life. We drove 15,000 miles the first year including FL > WA our first month, then WA > TX > FL > CA > WA from Nov-May, 2015. We’ve checked off some bucket list items along the way, but our ultimate goal is to satisfy some curiosity about parts of the country. This next year we’ll drive 5,000 miles and save money for the next step…we’re pretty sure we’re going to go rent in Hawaii for a year or two just to see if we can make it work. The anti-gun-libs there are not our thing, but the climate and sustainability possibilities are appealing.
    …baby steps to freedom. is an interesting community for connecting with people in different areas.

    1. The Survival Mom

      I’m glad you enjoyed my story! It was actually the single most difficult time in my life, and that’s saying a lot. Now that we’re settled in and all the dust has settled, we are exactly where we’re supposed to be and the trauma was worth it! Good luck finding your own just-right spot!

  48. I agree with your article Im now 65 and moved my elderly mother and family out of Phoenix. Tha was in 2014 I found Mt little house complete with half acre for gardening fast it was very cheap I paid cash since all of us have limite income it’s so much cheaper for taxes and utilities here and only 300 people we are an hour or more away in any direction from large populations.

  49. Hello,
    I operate two remote oyster farm sites in the pristine area of Sea Otter Sound, Prince of Wales area, Southeast Alaska. I can only realistically manage one of them so the other is for sale. State permitted suspended site and clam beaches w/ upland cabins.
    How can I advertise this offering on this website?

  50. Thank you for this post – I know its old but it definitely resonates with me. We moved to St.George, UT from Los Angeles, CA two years ago and this place can never really be home but we left to for the same reasons, to get out of the city and because of a new job for my husband. I work from home so we can relocate anywhere affordable within my monthly income and we have thought of Idaho as well but have heard of the long gloomy winters (which would probably give me seasonal depression). SG is not small but its not as big as LA and we have no family out here either but we have great neighbors that would give us the shirt of their backs. I guess when relocating you have to compromise and look at the big picture for your whole family. We think of moving to Prescott, AZ (still too expensive) or Texas (cheaper but but we still want to be close to family in CA) so for now its southern Utah.

  51. ok just found your site and it’s 10 pm and I am tired of reading all this prepper stuff (not yours). will get a chance over the next days since we are 73. Unfortunatley late in the game both age and preparedness, just starting . we live in orlando and unless you believe nothing is going to happen orlando is not a great place (except disney of course and even that a $100 per day to get in is not so much anymore. we are looking to get out old but not decrepit yet self sufficient; looking to get to west like utah, maybe rockies tho may be too much for us;and ozarks. but cannot find and googled every combination for “senior communities” not communes. I realize we do not provide wilderness experience (except from disneyland wilderness –but i guess that doesn’t count); can’t trek miles , eat squirrels (wife likes to feed these but doubt if either of us could hit one skin it gut it let alone eat it). anyway was hoping that some community out there might be available where we can get thrive food for 25 years–have not idea why at 98 i still want to be around all this mess–but able to share pray and commune with like minded people.
    any suggetions thanks steve and pat

    1. The Survival Mom

      Hi Steve,

      Yes, all the prepper and survival information on the internet can be overwhelming. I felt exactly the same way when I started several years ago. If you haven’t yet checked out American Preppers Network,, you should. There, you’ll find discussion forums for all 50 states, including Florida and the western states. That would be a good place to start chatting with others and asking their advice.

      You’ll have to register to participate in the forums but there are a lot of very helpful people there.

  52. We moved from Houston, TX nearly 20 yrs ago to Idaho. But we didn’t move for prepper reasons, exactly. We lived 100 ft from the Gulf Frwy in Houston. Whenever, Galveston was evacuating, we were right next door to a huge parking lot. The main reason we moved, though, was that we were coming home. We had left Idaho in 1975 for Texas for jobs. We wanted to enjoy 4 seasons – Houston has 2 – hot and wet and a brief cold and wet. We loved Houston and really loved the people there, but our older children had moved from the area and one then lived in Idaho where we moved to. I also was able to get a dream job for me there in Idaho. I really don’t know how safe Idaho is now with the huge influx of new people and our snowpack has been very uneven her for the last couple of years. But, our other children’s health has improved dramatically here with the dryer air, and so for us this has been a good move.

  53. CC:

    That’s all well and good (and patronizing, but whatever). Yes, I currently live in a town of 8k. Not sure they qualifies as a big town, and many of my relatives growing up lived in towns of less than 1000 when I was growing up, such as my Grandfather that was the cook for his restaurant and chief of police simultaneously. And I’ve also lived in a complex where the nearest housing outside our neighborhood was multiple miles away, with Home Depot being a 45 minute drive. But your points don’t challenge anything I said. Good neighbors are nice, but they aren’t going to make the ambulance or fire truck come faster or increase the ease of finding and getting to quality medical specialists, going to make the jobs pay better or lower the rate of poverty, going to make the nearest hardware store closer and better equipped, or make the remote job-enabling internet faster. And if your power goes out, it will stay out for a while. Very small towns generally aren’t air transportation-friendly, unless you like a 2+ hour drive to get to the airport. And very small towns almost always have horrible schools for those that move there before their kids head out to college or trade schools (or military service). And God help you if you are trying to maintain your orchestral classical music skills in a very small town with no orchestra to play with (my wife is a violinist).

    So yeah, I don’t think you did anything whatsoever to challenge the suburb of a suburb concept for folks that aren’t retired and still have to work and provide a meaningful income to their families. If you are retired, then yes, your mileage may vary.

    For us, Rathdrum in the Coeur D’Alene area will work just fine as a relatively small town and distant suburb of Spokane in the next year or so, with access to jobs and SWA and fast internet and big box stores and restaurants and new highly rated schools, but small town feel. And when we retire, we will be off to something more rural, but not far away.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *