Now this was a lesson I had to learn the hard way, as we often think off the grid remoteness means the problems we had in modern urban society will not affect us. When it comes to our dwelling and personal property security, us off the grid folks often ignore, or greatly under estimate this important element.
No Matter How Remote, You Are Not Alone
When living more remotely, some people think that you can completely disappear, and no one will bother you. From my experience this is not true at all. I’m not saying if you want that you cannot remove yourself from human contact, but I would say this is a pretty rare, and the exception not the rule. In most instances no matter you decide to start your off the grid lifestyle, you will be surrounded by other people and have neighbors. They may be further away, but they will be there even if you can’t necessarily see them.
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Here is another lesson I learned: people living remotely are much more in-tune to new people moving into their area, when compared to people living in a more urban area. Before you sign that final purchase agreement on your property people are talking about you – the new kid in the neighborhood. Remember in small communities information travels fast, so trust me they will know you are coming, and what your plans are before you unpack that first box.
I think a real good example of this, was on the show “Alaskan Bush People” based on a family that lives completely off the grid in remote Alaska. They had bought a new very remote property in the Alaskan Bush, and if I remember right their closest neighbor was somewhere around 5 miles away. Obviously because they were filming a newly popular reality show, that made the information travel faster, but their neighbors knew who they were immediately. They soon found what they were doing was not exactly popular with some of their neighbors, even though they were miles away. Due to numerous threats to them and the film crew, they eventually sold their land and moved.
Now this is not to scare you away from off the grid living, but to enlighten you that you are going to have neighbors and they are going to know about you no matter how far away you are. Humans are curious creatures and they love to talk, and that doesn’t change in off the grid living.
Lessons Learned – Why Security Should Be A Priority
So what was the biggest mistake the Alaskan Bush People family made in my opinion? They ignored perimeter and overall security. Not to say this would have mattered in their situation, but it would have definitely been a deterrent.
For me I had a plan for my perimeter and basic security, but the mistake I also made was not putting it as a priority. In my nativity, I thought no one would really know or care what I was up to, until I got much further in the construction and development of my property. Not only was I wrong, but I was wrong big time. The first clue was when a neighbor in the area sat just off my property line, and watched for an hour or so the initial construction of my road. I took this as just basic curiosity, which it could have been, but shortly after that I had an incident that made me put my security plan into motion much quicker than I had intended.
Shortly after getting the road work done it was time to get the well drilled. At the time I didn’t know, but eyes were on me, and what I was doing. Due to the drilling rig not being able to get to the top of the property and it having to be towed by a bulldozer, we barely got it in place before dark. This was on a Friday, so the drilling rig would be up at the property over the weekend with no one up there. At this time I had no fences, gates or security cameras.
My attitude was there was nothing of real value on the property. That was another mistake, I live in a very wooded area known for logging, heck my property was a former logging site, and tree poaching is a huge problem. Not to say I didn’t think of setting up a security to the property initially, I had, but there was another problem. I didn’t know if I was going to have a water source until the well was drilled. So setting up a security perimeter and/or system was a financial risk, because if I didn’t find water I was going to have to re-evaluate my plans for the property.
Call it spider senses or just dumb luck, but something made me head up to the property the next morning after we got the drilling rig in place. As soon as I got up to the spot where the drilling rig was I noticed something seemed out of place. I did a quick walk around the drilling rig and noticed one of its hoses on the ground, and drag marks leading away up the hill to the other access road at the top of my property. Upon further investigation I noticed small truck tire tracks, and shoe prints of more than one person. I immediately called the drilling company to let them know there drilling rig seemed to have been messed with, but I was unsure if anything had been taken.
When they showed up Monday morning they did an equipment check and found the tire chains and hold down straps had been taken. These items were unsecured on the outside of the rig, no windows were broken, nor was there an attempt to break into the drilling rig. Thankfully no other vandalism had been done. As you can imagine though I was more than upset that someone had stepped foot on my property and stole something before I had even started any real work.
Initially you would say this is a really bad start to my project, but now I look back and consider myself lucky. What it did was open up my eyes, that just like any place in this country, people are looking to do you harm. By this happening early on, it made me put my security plan into hyper drive, and it probably saved me big time. If I would have continued to wait to put in my security plan, they could have definitely stolen items of much more value.
In the end… lesson learned.
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