I can still remember sitting on the floor of my Florida apartment, dreaming about a life of self-sufficiency. I had a plan, naive as it was, that would cost me about a million dollars. I knew that if I could cut my costs, save, and exercise the self-discipline of a monk, I could attain it.
I knew very little
about the world, despite my already interesting lifestyle. I had few
belongings, but more than I probably have at the moment. I didn’t
understand the interactions between animals, plants, and wildlife
that makes a farm work. My ideas were seeded in consumerism and the
idea of having everything be hands-off. In short, the dream. But
dreams are but fading wisps of smoke on a heavy wind, and disappear
I left my job as a
land surveyor for greener pastures in the black riches of the
oilfield, and within a year I was making six figures. I was good at
my job and advanced quickly. I bought my own house, did the marriage
thing…in short, I had it all, until I lost it.
I became distant from my family and friends, but I kept pursuing that dream even as it evolved with new knowledge gained from every hour reading the stories of others. I put a rather large down-payment on some property in Missouri, and continued saving by investing in the house and other large acquisitions.
My wife and I grew apart, as the distance of the oilfield lifestyle is rough on all relationships. I spent three or four days home per month, and the rest bouncing from rig to rig, from the Gulf of Mexico to Ecuador, to South Texas. Finally, it was too much. I weighed my options, tallied my resources, and decided that it was now or never. I was already a published author at the time, and still had hopes that some day Viral Spark would become a bestseller. After the divorce finalized, I quit my job and went for broke. I sold my awesome house and my jeep, paid off the property, and made my way to rural Missouri. Then the troubles started.
I spent months down
after a bursting gall bladder revealed cancer cells, and another year
out of commission when shortly after healing from the previous
disaster I developed Lyme Disease. The money I’d saved evaporated
with bills and time.
When I finally sank
my roots, I had just enough left to build my house, clear some trees,
and continue to survive on a modest earning that costs nearly as much
time as my previous job. But I’m here. I’m growing things. I’m
living off the grid on an 80 acre tract in the middle of nowhere, and
everyday is an adventure. I’d like to share those adventures with
you, as seldom a week goes by that I don’t get some comment on
social media or otherwise from someone wishing they could do what I’m
The hardships of such a life are often underestimated by those who aren’t living it. While I used to shrug off compliments of courage, I now take them to heart. It takes steadfast determination to accomplish lifelong goals, and that knowledge is stamped into the woodwork of my house.
A blood-stained plank serves as a headboard over the frame of my front door, masked under the plaster and paint, where it’ll never be seen. In it is carved my signature tagline. The inscription reads AVDACIS FORTVNA IVVAT. The Latin translation is loosely “Fortune favors the Bold.”
There are multiple versions of this old proverb, even in the original Latin. It, and my own undying dream, are the only things that keep me going when things get tough. Hopefully my words will inspire others to pursue their dreams with the same vigor.
I’ll drop a comment section below. Think of it like a guestbook and feel free to drop a line in there about yourself. Say hi.