For years I've been quietly working on this project alone. When I moved out to South Dakota I met a guy at the steakhouse where I got hired that shares my same passion for the type of life I want to live. He was as excited about this project as I am and still gets worked up with me over it. I just confirmed that he would be willing to do the land surveying and travelling as I work full time to find the project. As much as I want to go travel and see all the possible sites myself, it won't be possible for quite a while. I may end up with the money in the bank, no time to scope out land, and miss out on the perfect place to build. Instead if send Ben out with a credit card and a sense of adventure. He already knows exactly what I'm looking for and loves adventure. I know it's a lot of work to ask of someone, though it can definitely be fun. I'd happily pay him well and make sure he's got everything needed to find the best place to build. This is a huge development for me and this project as it means I will officially not be alone in this whole crazy adventure. I will likely be staying in Ohio for years at this point to rebuild my life and get things moving on various projects. Having a trusted friend do the exploring for me would be an excellent way to ensure things still get done, while helping a friend have the adventure of a life time.
The most likely scenario at this point is buying land in the high desert that no one wants, and bringing my own custom milled lumber out to the site to build the structures. I'd likely do earthbag structures with timber framing and wood accents and furniture. Buying anything that I want to furnish this Village will be far too 2xpensove so I plan to build it. I've already found a nice retired flatbed tow truck I could rebuild and use to haul limber and supplies to the site. I've got a friend with a dump truck for sale that I could buy and restore as well. Between those two trucks and my pickup, Ben would have everything needed to haul equipment, tools, people, and building materials to and around the build site. Restoring 30+ year old trucks for such work can be expensive and time consuming, but it aligns perfectly with the overarching philosophy of the project: long term sustainability. New vehicles are far too complicated to maintain independent of modern shops and dealerships. I still drive a 1983 Chevy C20 pickup every day. The tow truck and dump truck I've found are both Chevy trucks from the same era. I already know them well and they've proven themselves for decades. I'd restore them both and deliver them to Ben out in South Dakota so he could use them as needed to gather materials.
With Ben out and about, I could focus on the details of the project, such as building codes, various systems like water collection and purification, and farming. The amount of documentation needed is staggering. Much of the research has been completed by others over the years, but does not seem to have been compiled in a manner or scale that I desire. If Ben can find the land, I'd check it out to make sure it will work, then buy it and have him move out there of he'd be willing. It may take me a while to get out there and start building, but he would at least have an incredible home out on a giant chunk of land and could work on stuff until I can get out there. My dream is to be able to retire early and start living on the land right away, but working longer would give The Village a far better chance of success. I'll work as long as I need to in order to secure its future.
I don't want to say too much or get my hopes up too early, but I may be switching to a career that pays far better than anything I've ever had. The work is far more serious, but I'll accept the responsibility and stay as long as I'm treated well and can be useful. I still plan to live very cheap and simple. Instead of buying a house and new car, I'm going to continue to rent from my friend, restore my old pickup, and build my truck bed camper. I still love living at camp sites. It feels like being on vacation all the time, which makes me very happy. It's also far cheaper than buying a house. For the price of a house in Ohio that I'd want to live in, I could buy the land and a tractor for this project. I do need to get another vehicle so my truck can be stripped and properly restored. It's running rough these days, and I can't afford to miss work if it goes down for repairs.
Naming my right hand man for this project is a massive step forward and it's an honor to have such a good friend who could fill the role. It's humbling to know someone would actually want to take this journey with me. It was an easy choice though. I've worked with the guy in a very fast paced, high stress environment and spent countless hours daydreaming and problem solving with him. We have even forged steel together on a forge he built. That's exactly how I want to spend my life and the type of person I wish to be around.