I have a friend who lives in Forest Grove Oregon (about 30 minutes outside Portland) who lives on one acre and has the entire thing in permaculture. She farms so intensively that she can feed the whole neighborhood, in addition to loaning out part of her acre to a local org that teaches low-income people how to garden on their urban yards. She has an agreement with her next door neighbor to grow wheat trials on the back half of his land that he doesn't use. She also has room for WWOOFERs and several learning stations for children's permie education, which she does regularly. All this on one suburban acre. By the way, she's in her 70's.
So you don't need a lot of land to go permie and kick serious butt at it. And you don't need to be young, either. So don't give up. With some judicious working and saving, you could afford to buy an acre, even if it takes you several years to do it.
Another example is someone I know who had wanted to have a homestead her whole life and just 5 months ago, at the age of 63, managed to work out an arrangement whereby she moved, rent-free, onto 11 acres of unused farmland surrounding an old farmhouse with a young family living in it. They have no interest in doing farming themselves but they want to benefit from farming via fresh eggs, goat milk and cheese, honey, garden-fresh produce, etc. They also want their kids to be able to enjoy the farm animals and help out if they want to.
The woman is having the time of her life building her homestead and the family is so grateful for the multiple dozens of eggs they've gotten so far. Everyone is excited for what the spring will bring to the old farm. The woman (me) and her partner live on Social Security, disability and a small amount of $ earned through odd jobs and we are managing very well.
However, I thought this was all a pipe-dream until about 3 years ago. My partner's father offered to help us put a down payment on some land but he never came through with the cash. Nevertheless, that offer was what gave me hope that there WAS some way I could end up with a homestead. After that, I was unstoppable in my exploration of possibilities. And now here I am!
So, again, you don't have to have lots of money or be young to make your dream come true. You don't even necessarily need to buy your own land.
Probably the most important elements you need are 1. a very clear picture of what you want, without being attached to exact details or trying to control exactly HOW it happens. 2. unstoppable determination and unshakable faith that this is going to happen and nothing is going to stop you. 3. razor-focused awareness of any little chance occurrence, overheard conversation, article you read, situation that looks interesting.
The Universe has perfect mapping software, but you have to tell it where you want to go and then pay attention to the GPS telling you what avenues to take. Even if you take a "wrong" turn, the GPS will re-route you as long as you never lose sight of where you want to end up.
I know this all sounds very "woo-woo" but no other advice you receive will help one bit until you light that undying flame of "Nothing Will Stand Between Me and My Dream."
Destruction precedes creation
Of course, I found a very beautiful couch. Definitely. And this tiny ad: