Hello and welcome to our first adventure! In this post, I, Mrs. Pathfinder, will share the beginning of our journey at the crossroads of working more and significantly decreasing our living expenses. Though we’ve always lived moderately healthy and never had outrageous debt nor owned lavish things, our family wasn’t always heading for the woods. We were like most; we would frequently eat out and prepared for Black Friday as if it were the Olympics. I admit, we dabbled in public school for a year when I was able to homeschool and I would occasionally give in to my daughter’s pleas for hot lunch. We weren’t aware of GMOs or the dangers of prescription meds. I even went through a phase of extreme couponing and had an enormous stockpile of fake food and harsh cleaning products. We could probably write a book about all the times we thought we were doing life right.
Then, tragedy struck! Mr. Pathfinder and I had our wake up call when he received orders for his third deployment. He would end his contract in 18 months and this deployment would consume more than half his time left. We hadn’t planned our next step and the life-changing news really put our short timeline into perspective. We both have some college but neither of us had degrees or career goals. While Mr. Pathfinder was an outstanding Soldier, he had nominal work experience outside Infantry and Line Medic. Understandably, he also had little desire to pursue security or EMT. I never found a lucrative career I was passionate about enough to leave my babies. I picked up side jobs, like babysitting and cleaning, to make extra cash. I had a few small business ideas that never amounted to anything more than a hobby, like baking and chocolate molding. Ultimately, my main occupation for almost 10 years had been taking care of our kids and everything home related.
I’m sure you can agree, none of what I’ve shared so far makes us or our story different. Many people have paved the way for our lifestyle overhaul, and we are excited to learn from everyone. We like to think what we based our decision on is what makes our story special… our family. Because Mr. Pathfinder and I have experienced vast amounts of time away from our loved ones, we truly cherish when we’re together. We love working as a team, building strong bonds, and raising happy and well-mannered children. We soon realized maintaining our income would result in even less time together than when Mr. Pathfinder was in the Army. I would no longer be a SAHM and he would probably be pulling double shifts at a job he wouldn’t enjoy. We talked about him enlisting indefinitely but knew it wasn’t the answer. In the midst of our panic, I began to ask, “Why?” Why do we work our lives away? Why do we need such a big house? Why do we need so much meaningless stuff? Then, I revisited my most memorable childhood question, “Why can’t we just live in a treehouse?”
I began the quest for answers. I researched off grid alternatives to lower our monthly expenses and downsizing to a smaller house. I then tried to eliminate the need for an income all together by investigating how much it costs to retire. It was when I started looking at cabins in the woods that I knew I had struck gold! I passionately researched how to buy land, how to build a house, gardening, off grid solutions, and livestock. I found that Maine had the cheapest land, the least amount of government influence, and had a growing support for organic growing and GMO labeling. When I was ready to start working on Mr. Pathfinder, I presented my ideas for an off-grid homestead with a projected cost of about $80,000. At this point, he had thought I had completely lost my marbles. How would we save that much money and what kind of life would we lead? After a few days of pestering my loving husband with an extreme savings plan and dreams of a rewarding future, we planned a 17 day road trip across the country to visit our potential new home state, Maine.
We hope you enjoyed our first adventure! Please leave a comment below or find us on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you! For more, visit The Adventure, where we will share our process to buying our property, our journey to an off grid cabin, and what we learn while living a homestead lifestyle. Spoiler alert: We never actually reached Maine. In fact, when we were driving through Montana, we realized that there were plenty of opportunities closer to our family and ended up purchasing in the PNW a year later. Check out Penny-wise, where we will share the extreme measures we took to pay cash for our property, how I came up with a projected cost of $80,000, and everything money related. Thank you for tuning in! We enjoy sharing our story and hope we can encourage others to follow their dreams. Good luck on your journey and stay happy!