What are some good places in the US to “get lost” if you are tired of the grind and you need an “extended break?” Why are they good and would someone need to do so?
I have whole books on this subject. There are huge areas of the U.S. by land area that are suitable for going off the grid and basically disappearing especially in the West. Alaska is an obvious choice but there are weather issues. Much of Nevada is practically deserted but you also have Idaho and Montana as favorite choices for this type of thing. Even more populated states like Texas (West Texas), Colorado outside of the cities and even parts of California have remote areas where nobody is going to find you if you are careful enough. On the East Coast, northern Maine is very isolated and it also has hundreds of inhabitable islands to choose from. Northern New Hampshire and Vermont have tons of remote land available as well.
How remote do you want to be?
I think that while there’s a lot of empty space out there into which you can disappear, you’d want to not be TOO isolated–as in, within, say 50 miles of some decent-sized town, 100 miles from a hospital, etc. For those reasons, I would rule out some otherwise excellent places, all in the Great Basin–southeastern Oregon, central Nevada, western Utah. Some places that fit the above criteria would be northeastern California, central Oregon, northeastern Washington, and eastern Montana. There are places in western Arizona and eastern New Mexico that also might fill the bill.
In addition to being within at least screaming distance of civilization (because things do go wrong), I’d want it not to be too cold in the winter (because my energy needs would jump dramatically) and also, I’d want someplace with good solar exposure, since that’s about the only way to get a decent supply of electricity when you’re off the grid.
You could probably get pretty hidden in a national forest, but you would probably need to keep moving.
Maybe you are thinking about a wilderness area. A National Forest can be full of people. They are managed for logging, mining, livestock grazing and other commercial enterprises. Not really a place to get lost and avoid people.
Are we growing our own food or are we taking a truckload of spam and the like? It makes a difference.
But still National Forests are fairly big places. There’s lots of criminals growing weed in them and they don’t want to be found. Yes, they find them every once in a while, but there’s probably many that go undetected. There’s also lots of squatters on them. In general, they’re off the grid like the OP wants to be.
Another relevant question is if you’re hiding out from your creditors, the law, your family, etc or not.
If you’re talking “off the grid” only in the somewhat literal sense of not being hooked up to utilities* (and assuming you’re not on the lam), you could very easily get a camper and legally bounce from free Forest Service or BLM campground to campground pretty much indefinitely. You’re usually limited to two weeks at any given site, but if you just find a handful of them to jump between it shouldn’t be a problem. Plus if you pick somewhere that isn’t near a major urban area, they probably won’t check that often anyways. There’s probably a lot of New Mexico and Arizona that fit the bill while also being warm enough to do it year round. Maybe parts of California and Texas too.
(*Something of a side-rant-- I’m in ground zero of the “off the grid” types and I’ve never met a single one of them that wasn’t completely and utterly dependent on large amounts of store bought fossil fuels at some point in the process. Most of them are generators and propane types, but even the ones that heat with wood and such are really only able to do that because of their array of fuel-thirsty power equipment. I think that kind of living is a lot of fun, but I’m not buying the whole survivalist aspect of it for a minute.)
They find them more than you realize. They just don’t make the news. And if you come across any of the illegal “gardens” while hiding from civilization, pray it’s not run by one of the cartels. Otherwise, you will probably disappear forever.
I’ve heard of people buying enough solar panels and batteries to power their own home, but I don’t know how common they are. It seems possible nowadays, at least to me, to go off the grid with only minimal reliance on fossil fuels. But you’re probably right that it isn’t common.
So you quit the rat race, chuck it all, drop out and go back to the land.
How do you make a living? That is, how do you find a warm place to sleep, food to eat, water to drink, a place to shit, keep clean, keep cool, keep warm, keep dry?
There’s a reason people don’t just walk into the wilderness and build a hut out of sticks. That’s because your hut made of sticks is going to be cold, drafty, wet, hard and full of mosquitoes. While people do hunt and fish and gather their food that’s pretty close to work, which is what I thought you wanted to avoid. You can shoot a moose and have lots of food for a week, how are you going to preserve the rest of the meat for rest of the year?
What exactly is the program here? Do you need to hide from law enforcement? If you want to hide from law enforcement or the mob, the best thing to do is quitetly move to a big city on the opposite coast, pay for everything with cash, stop driving, and never call or write or visit your old friends and family ever again. Done.
Or do you want to live off the land? Well, that means you’re a goddam dirt farmer. And that ain’t easy, subsistence farming is backbreaking work. Or you want to hunt? Well, have you, like, ever hunted before?
You want to live out in the woods where you don’t have to interact with hu-mons? Well you can live out in the woods in a regular house or cabin on land that you own, you don’t have to live in a hut you made out of sticks on public land and hope the forest rangers don’t notice you.
The point is, figure out what it is you hope to accomplish by “dropping out”, and then figure out a non-retarded way of going about it. Because walking out into a national park with a backpack full of granola “Into the Wild” style is a recipe for misery and possible death.
There are people living in the Louisiana swamps that are self sufficient. People have lived there for generations.
I’m not sure how long an outsider would need to learn how to survive there. The locals find everything they need in the swamp.
Can you define “self-sufficient?” Are you saying they don’t use gasoline/diesel fuel? Or that they make their own? No medicine, no sheet metal, nails, screws, etc.?
The current Cajuns use generator electricity and fuel for their boats. A lot of them still earn money fishing and trapping. Most have a car or truck and go into town.
Go back a couple generations and they weren’t using electricity or fuel. They would have needed some basic items from town, coffee, flour, salt, tools, ammunition. That’s true of everyone. No one can be 100% self sufficient.
My family is from Louisiana. They aren’t Cajun but have lived in central Louisiana for at least six generations.
The idea of survivalism is silly, you are gonna get sick or hungry at some point. If you just want to disappear, try Vegas or Key West - lots of transient folks, everybody from somewhere else.
I would guess he is just asking to indulge a fantasy. I woner about this often as well, but i know i will never do it. I just have a lot of misanthropic moments.
My favorite daydream is the one where i wake up to find myself the last person on earth, with all the stuff and infrastructure in tact. What i wonder is how long diesel, canned goods, and frozen food really lasts.
My cousin and her former husband lived in a log cabin with mud floors and no electricity on the northwest coast of California. Not that I would recommend it.
Call (505) 842-4205 and ask for a dust filter for a Hoover Max Extract® Pressure Pro™ Model 60. Barring that, you can hide out reasonably well in a National Park by working for the concessioner. They’ll hire anybody, and they don’t check identification or run any sort of pre-employment background screening. Sometimes they get so desperate for employees that they will drive down to the nearest city and recruit people directly out of homeless shelters.The bigger the company, the more likely you are to go undetected. Yellowstone is excellent. There are some serious criminals working at Old Faithful Lodge. Sequoia NP used to be a haven for drug fiends and people who were hiding out from the law, but they’ve cracked down a little bit. Not by much, though. As long as you’ve got a decent fake ID, you can get a job at any National Park anywhere in the United States, and get three hots and a cot as long as you keep your head down and don’t make waves. A lot of employees come in just to sell drugs. They work for a couple of weeks, unload, and move on to another park.
Not true any more, if it ever was. I’ve worked in Glacier, Rainier, and Yellowstone the last three seasons, and we were as thoroughly screened as the employees of any other corporation would have been. They checked identity documents thoroughly and made us submit I-9s. Yes, they get hard up for people at certain times in the season, but as government contractors working on federal land under a contract lasting decades, they aren’t going to break the rules. What they did instead is run us remaining employees ragged.
Yeah, I’d imagine it would be more do-able in a warmer climate, but here in the survivalist central of the Northwest Rockies, the only real alternative heat source is wood. Getting together enough wood to heat for a season is no problem if you’ve got a truck, a chainsaw, a log splitter, etc, but if you don’t have the fuel to run those things it’d be a full time job. (Now, granted, it could also be that there are people like that but they don’t spend time running their mouths in bars and on web forums because they’re too damn busy cutting wood.)
Furthermore, you need a fairly expensive piece of land to do it. The reason why there is essentially no such thing as a subsistence farmer in the US anymore is that it takes a relatively productive piece of land to feed a family with only the labor of that family. That same chunk of land, given larger scale and more industrialized farming practices, will be very profitable. The whole reason why a survivalist can buy up a piece of land on the side of some mountain in Idaho is because that land is so ill-suited for farming that nobody wanted it during the homesteading days. Alternatively, if our hypothetical survivalist did buy up a chunk of nice farm land, he’d be throwing away a huge chunk of money trying to farm it “off the grid” instead of using normal modern agricultural practices.