Hi James, thanks for the interesting conversation. Just for a quick summary... I'm an '86er, and I moved onto this raw land in 2012 when I was 25. When I was 20 I dropped out of college after a year and a half (before I could accumulate any debt) and began wwoofing and travelling to different farms and communities. It didn't take long before I knew I wanted that sort of lifestyle, so I started looking for places to settle. For a variety of reasons I ended up in rural NE Missouri. The land prices and taxes are quite affordable and there are few laws preventing one from pursing an off-grid DIY path. But really the bigger reason was the other people in the area who shared similar interests and were committed to creating community. Even if I found cheaper land that was "better" or something somewhere else, I wouldn't be interested in doing what I'm doing without the context or support of an extended community. I met my partner within the context of this community, and we were able to acquire our land without any savings because of connections made through this community. We've had to work extremely hard in order to build what we want here, and for many years that meant spending up to half the year in the city working to save up money for our homestead. Since we were willing to live in a tent for extended periods of time and weren't in a huge rush to get infrastructure built, we were able to slowly acquire materials and build things as we could afford. Some of it could be credited to good luck or being in the right place at the right time, but it did not require having savings or inheritance or other things like that. (If you're interested in what we've built here, I documented most of the first few years in this thread
We, as well as all our friends and neighbors, are still constantly trying to figure out how to pursue our dreams of community and homesteading and all this permie jazz while still making ends meet and not have to work in town full time. Everyone is for the most part within the millennial window. One thing I do notice in these circles is that there tends to be a thread of varying degrees of Luddite-ness in the people who choose this lifestyle. What that looks like is few people I know who are doing what I'm doing participate much in social media, including forums such as this. I'm not saying that's good or bad, but since that's a primary way most people connect and network these days, it does seem to make it harder to find each other. Even in my own community I'm not sure if anyone would know about permies.com if it wasn't for me talking about it, and even then I don't think any of them ever visit here. Going further, there even seems to be active judgement of many modern technologies including all types of screens and internet etc. I don't necessarily agree or disagree with any of those opinions, but it does seems to present another hurdle in responsibly utilizing those resources and technologies to build community and all that.
That being said, I don't know anyone who I grew up with, went to high school with, or went to college with who are doing anything remotely like what I'm doing.
Also if anyone is interested... we are in the final stages of going public with our Community Land Trust. It will be called Bear Creek CLT and hopefully within the next couple weeks we'll have a basic website with pictures and descriptions of who we are, what we're doing, and available openings for future leaseholds. I'll be making a larger post about it soon with more info somewhere in the community forums.