Yesterday I spent a few hours skimming through random posts on different forums, and I think Survival Monkey is the place for me. So I spent today writing this introduction/question-filled post! Since I'm asking questions I thought it'd be best to post this here instead of the New Members section. I read the Site Rules and Tips and Tricks threads, but please let me know if I missed anything or need to provide more information, violated any rules, or asked something that could be answered in another thread. I'm a daydreamer in her twenties who is seriously considering dropping out of college before my $25,000 bill gets any higher. Going through high school I was too distracted by friends and schoolwork to pay much attention to the world around me. Now that I've officially entered the adult world, separated from my friends and spending hours alone in the house taking online college classes, I've had real time to think and realize just how dissatisfied I am - and I'm trying to do something about it. My love for nature isn't anything new. I use to spend the summers at my grandmother's trailer and was outside all the time catching crickets and luring stray cats to the house to keep as pets... grandma wasn't too happy about the cats. As I got older and stopped staying there for the summer, the amount of time I spent outside decreased significantly. But lately I've rediscovered my lost love, and it's really what fueled my decision to become self-sufficient. I think the most telling event was when my mother's friend gave her a large, colorful bouquet for Valentine's Day last year. Not only did it smell great, but I lost it when some of the lilies actually bloomed while we had it. In those few days I was much happier than I've been in college the past two years, just sniffing those flowers was therapeutic to me. Potential Learning Environments In North Carolina, my grandmother has a relatively large backyard that I can practice gardening and real outdoor skills in... and she'll probably be more patient with me than my mother But accessing books and supplies would be more difficult because of the distance - it's a small neighborhood way out in the country. Also, I'm not sure if I could find a nearby community of like-minded people to physically interact with, although my mother told me today that my aunt's parents grow their own food and they also live in North Carolina~! In Georgia, my mother and I live in an apartment so I can't freely practice many of the outdoor skills that I could in North Carolina. But I'll have easier access to books, supplies, a community, and even classes. And I'm trying to be creative despite the physical constraints by learning simpler skills such as knitting, recipes for homemade products, and experimenting with my 'green thumb' using cheap potted plants (if they do well I'll try potted herbs next). I'm also finding ways to lessen my energy consumption. Finances I'm still a college student, but am currently taking a break to figure things out. However, I have only six months to go back or I'll be required to start making monthly payments towards my bill. I've spent half a year trying to find a job with no success. If I can become self-employed I'd like to be either a Japanese and Chinese/Korean translator because of my fondness for East Asian cultures, or try my hand at Etsy.com or a farmer's market if I get good enough at knitting and crafting. I've already been self-studying Japanese for several months, and hope that I'll be confident enough to take the JLPT 4 this December. However, both of these endeavors will take time before I can profit from them. My mother is aware of my genuine attempts to change and is willing to support my transition into self-sufficiency as long as it doesn't cost too much. She's doing well enough that we often have some extra cash, but I don't want to be a burden for too long especially when the time comes to start paying my bill. I was helping her pay the household bills with portions of my college refund checks, but that won't be the case if I decide to drop out. Goals: I know it'll take months, even years of learning and practice, but I'm determined to develop a high level of self-sufficiency in the hopes that reconnecting with nature will not only help save our planet but myself. It won't be easy, but if there's one thing that runs in my family it's stubbornness. And I must admit, I'm also skeptical of our government and wonder if we'll have a serious S.H.T.F situation by the time I have children... My ultimate goal is to produce my own food and products with help from a supportive local community, harvest water and solar energy, be knowledgeable of medicinal herbs and other aspects of woodland survival, and live in a converted camper van because of its small size, mobility, and it seems financially possible for me. I've bought books such as The Forgotten Skills of Self Sufficiency used by the Mormon Pioneers, Little House in the Suburbs, and a few of Abigail R. Gehring's books. I'm also planning on taking a fermentation class next weekend and an edible/medicinal plants class the week after that via The Homestead Atlanta. So in the long run... * Am I off to a good start, what skills should I really be focusing on in the beginning? Is it better for me to stay in Georgia or live with my grandmother in North Carolina? If I stay in Georgia, what other skills can I learn with limited money and space? * Should I stay in art college, majoring in Graphic Design? If not, how practical is learning another language besides the flexibility of being self employed? If I become skilled enough at knitting and crafting, do you think I have a chance on Esty.com or a farmer's market? Are there others ways I can profit off these skills? Should I just keep trying to find a regular job and focus on learning prep skills in my spare time? * Is a camper van sensible? Could I live on a plot of land in a camper van, or would a trailer park or all year campsite be better? What government/state rules and regulations would I have to deal with from living in a camper van? Could I raise a small family in a decent sized camper van? I've seen YouTube videos of a few people, one with two small kids, who have lived comfortably in camper vans. Thank you very much if you took the time to read my book I joined and wrote this post in the hopes that I could get some idea of how to proceed based on my current situation. I'm really looking forward to becoming a regular member here!