Yesterday, a reader dropped an email asking specifics about my retreat location. I’ll admit being caught off guard by such a sensitive question. However; I don’t think the sender has evil intentions only curiosity. Maybe he was looking for an example to compare his situation – I don’t know.
To be honest, I didn’t know what to think at first, but after some thought, I decided it probably wouldn’t hurt to elaborate on my general area (Southern Appalachian Mountain Range) without divulging details that could present a security risk.
No doubt some of you have considered this area yourself.
The area has a long growing season with plentiful rainfall, sunlight and fertile soil. Raising a garden here is not a problem.
Many areas are covered by thousands of acres of forest, with most of the population being concentrated in a few areas.
Wild game is abundant, with black bear, white-tail deer, wild turkey, rabbit, and squirrel. And the rivers, creeks and other bodies of water are loaded with aquatic life.
During spring and summer, the forests and fields are teeming with eatable plants such as blackberry, cattail, wild rice, butternut, stinging nettle, sheep sorrel and lamb’s quarters.
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But the area isn’t perfect with a number of negative factors to consider.
It’s nearly impossible to find any type of work. Currently, the county where I live has an official unemployment rate of 5.2%. But it’s really MUCH higher than that because a large part of the population is on the “draw” AKA the disability/welfare check from the federal government. Jobs are few – if you’re an outsider forget about getting a good-paying job.
The decent employment opportunities that do exist are quickly filled by friends and relatives of established workers, management and officials.
Reported unemployment numbers, only include those looking for work.
The real unemployment rate here is much higher. I would estimate the number at 60% to 70% since those living from social security, disability benefits and welfare aren’t included in the official number.
The area has a large welfare-dependent underclass. Nearly everyone is on “the draw” and living from government handouts at the first of the month. They’ve learned to work the system, many being second or third generation, welfare addicts.
I know several dozen “disabled” residents, all in their thirties who’ve been receiving social security disability payments most of their lives, (they claim to have a bad back) yet riding horses, dirt bikes and ATV’s is a common activity and doesn’t seem to bother their condition in the least, while work is another story often leading to severe pain.
How is that possible? Could it be they’re faking so they can stay on the draw?
And let’s not forget the drugs. Both illegal and prescribed. When I was growing up here, all you heard about was marijuana. Now the drugs of choice seemed to be methamphetamine and Oxycontin.
With the amount of drug use in the area, I’m surprised there isn’t more crime. But then for a population of just over 20,000 countywide we do have our share of property crime and the occasional homicide.
I don’t look for much rioting or looting, however, I do expect a huge increase of home invasions and property theft, especially if the government checks stop.
If you’re known to have supplies you could become a target. I expect to spend many sleepless nights guarding what I have.
You’re probably asking yourself why I continue to live here? To answer in one word – family.
How about you
Would you recommend your current location as a retreat area? Why? Why not? Looking forward to your recommendations. Also, if you don’t already own a copy then I suggest that you get a copy of Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places then I suggest you get a copy if you’re looking for a safer area to call home.
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