Sunday, July 10, 2016

Turning a dream, into a plan and into reality

The name of our blog and Facebook page is “ Nothing happens unless first a dream.” It is a very profound statement if you stop to think about it. Some people have no dreams or no vision of where they want to be. I feel sorry for those people.  Most people have a dream of where they want to be in 10 years or before retirement or some other milestone marker.

We’ve been told we are dreamers and have unrealistic dreams. Our dream was to live off grid in the mountains in Montana. Crazy? Maybe. Unrealistic? Nope. No dream is unrealistic, unless you are dreaming of living on mars or something like that.

The Plan

Dreams are not enough to get you where you are going. You must turn those dreams into a plan if you want them to become a reality.  The difference between them is that a plan has goals and deadlines. We have always had a plan, but when a plan wasn’t going to work, we regrouped and made a new plan. We went from a fifth wheel camper in a campground to a home in a converted garage on a piece of land that we were looking to buy.  We could have made it work but it wasn’t going to ever get us to our dream. It was beside a highway, on grid and didn’t meet our criteria.
One segment of a good plan should define the tangible elements of the dream in quantifiable measures. We laid out a list of criteria a long time ago about what we wanted in a piece of land.
Our land needed to be:

South facing and in the mountains
Some trees
A workable home site and garden site or greenhouse location
Access to water
Winter access
Not too far from some “civilization”

Notice I didn’t have good growing soil on the list. I knew that we could amend the soil to be able to get us to a suitable soil.

We were able to find this property by a private sale and it met all the criteria but one. No water. There is a year round creek across the road and by talking to neighbors and others we knew there are several seasonal springs on the land. I also researched the wells in the area and found that the 2 closest to us were under 100 feet. So water wasn’t a concern as it was a fixable issue, and we could haul water till that issue was resolved. It is south facing, has a lot of trees, is 10 miles from the local gas station/convenience store and is located on a county maintained road.

There were good places for building and gardening. The land also had a LOT of makeshift buildings on it. Some of them were nothing more than a slide in truck camper set into the ground and a makeshift frame built around it covered in tarps.

So our plan had changed again. We were planning on buying bare land, starting from scratch, camping for the summer while we built a house, and having things in place before winter. Instead there we were cleaning up 12 plus years of neglect, moving to a piece of property we had only spent 3 weekends on, in October, in the middle of a snowstorm. We had taken a trailer that was in the best shape and stripped it out and scrubbed and painted to make it livable for the winter. This wasn’t our original plan but it was still a path to our dream.  See the difference?  Your plan is the road to get you there but it needs to be flexible.  Unless you have an unlimited amount of money to accomplish your dreams, you need to be able to have a flexible plan to resolve the different issues that pop up along the way.

This doesn’t just apply to moving off the grid or homesteading. My daughter had a dream of being an RN. She started school in a very good nursing school. Circumstances on where she was living and working for school made her change her plan. She changed schools. She didn’t change her career, her dream, but she did change her path, her plan. She is now an RN living in a different state then she planned, in a relationship she didn’t plan, having a life she didn’t plan, and these are all improvements, but she has realized her dream.

Don’t sabotage your dream without a flexible plan.

It is so easy to get stuck on a plan and not change it and sabotage your dream in the process. When we first got to our land we planned on putting the house on the east side of the land and the barn on the west. A few weeks in we noticed that the barn would have the best view, best access and best shelter from the wind. So we flipped it. That meant more work, because we had to remove three trailers that were fastened together under a large roof and filled with trash before we could even start on our house, but it was the right move to make.  We also planned on putting in a larger barn that would house our goats, milking area, feed storage and chickens. Then a bear showed up and began making a pest of himself. So now we have built a smaller chicken coop, that has no food storage, and a smaller barn that will house the goats, milking area, some food storage and is built from logs to keep the pesky bear out.  We will also put in a separate animal food storage area later. We can keep enough food for a couple of weeks in the barn but we would like to be able to store a couple of months in another building.

The reality

Our reality is that our dreams are not fully realized yet. We have the land, we’ve cleared a lot of trash, we’ve built some things we needed, but it is not a full realization of our dream. We have a long way to go but we are still working our plan. Our full dream is still out there in front of us. We have a destination in mind and we can see it. It is so close we can almost taste it. We have accomplished parts of it so part of the dream has come true. Some parts have gone thru the complete dream, plan, and reality process, and it is so rewarding to see parts of your dream in place and be able to fully visualize the rest.

You can turn dreams into reality. You just need a plan to get there.

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