Here I would like to address the most frequently asked questions I am likely to get about my blog and my search to find free or affordable land and housing.
1. "Why should anyone help you? Why would you expect someone to just give you land or help you build a house?"
Well, I don't really "expect" anything. I realize my request is, to say the least, a bit odd. The truth is, though, I figured "it never hurts to ask." A lot of people end up with land they will never use, or have skills at building things they would like to put to use. Maybe somebody will have a rural house they don't want. Maybe somebody would donate a "tiny house" for tax or public relations purposes. The plain fact is that I cannot do this for myself. I have a chronic health condition that means I am unable to work. I do have income from disability insurance, but that doesn't go far enough to put money away to buy something on my own. I don't wish to end up a burden for family members, or without a place to live. Renting is very expensive, and of course as soon as you stop paying you are out on the street. I'm hoping to get my little cottage so that I will only have to worry about taxes and utilities, which are much less than renting. I also hope to keep a small garden where I can grow some of my own food, further driving down the cost of living.
2. "Aren't you just asking for money?"
No. In fact, I would not (and will not) accept any kind of cash donations. In my mind that only muddies the waters. I'm focusing on the end product (land and a little house to live in) and not on fundraising or anything of that kind.
3. "What is this 'health condition' you keep referencing?"
I have a chronic pain condition that limits my mobility and which has left me unable to work in the field I was trained in. It's not a fatal condition, and I am not confined to bed most days, but it has greatly impacted my life and radically reduced my options in terms of housing. In some ways I am grateful, because many have it worse than I, but of course it's a difficult cross to bear and it has definitely forced me to rethink the kind of life I had planned on.
4. "Where are you hoping to live?"
Ideally I would like to end up in Washington or Oregon because they are near where I am now and the climate is better for my health; I cannot tolerate the extreme heat of the South. Now, I've also looked at other states like Ohio and Indiana that I think would work as well and which have lower costs of living. The idea is to find someplace affordable and sustainable, and some places have property taxes that are just too high.
5. "Why are you wanting to build a house from scratch, and why does it have to be a cottage?"
This is a tough one. I don't have to build from scratch, but I would much prefer to. Why? Because that way I can build a small home that will require little maintenance and will be low-cost to run. It's true I love English Cottage style homes for their esthetics, but there is a practical aspect here as well. A "tiny house" or small cottage home uses much less resources and is much more environmentally sound that a big, rambling structure. I live alone and don't need anything large. Also, because I am limited in my activities, a small home is easier to clean and any repair work will be much more affordable.
6. If somebody does help you, what do they get out of it?
My absolute and undying gratitude. If I achieve my dream it means the difference between a life of poverty and being a drain on the system or having my own home and trying to be as self-sufficient as possible. I realize that I am asking a lot, but this is pretty much the only thing I want out of life and it's not an impossible dream to fulfill. I'm not going to lie; it's been tough these past few years since I lost my health. I do remain optimistic, though, and I do think there is somebody out there who would be willing to help me. Having a bit of land and a small house might not seem too grand to most people, but to me it would literally be a dream come true.