“We could do it, you know.”
“Leave the district. Runoff. Live in the woods. You and I, we could make it.”
― Suzanne Collins, The Hunger Games
Want to break out of society?
I have a full step-by-step guide for you. Now is the time, so let’s get moving.
1) Make a plan
You can probably picture it in your mind’s eye right now:
A peaceful field with a clear babbling brook and a small cabin. Fields of grain and vegetables growing in the summer sun and you waking up and stretching as you greet the new day.
You’ve dropped out of society. You’ve made it. The rat race is far behind.
But before this day comes, you need to make a plan.
Get a notebook and write down your plan step by step. Use this guide as a template.
Write down numbers 1 to 24. Then fill in each with your own specifics.
As survivalist Randy A. writes of his own experience of dropping out of society:
“We all have a different idea of what dropping out would be like. Working out your own plan is half the fun.
The other half is actually going out and learning the skills required.”
2) Have a plan B, C, and D
For this step, you want to write down the basics of your first plan and then write three more basic plans.
Each should be one or two paragraphs in length with a basic outline. You will get more into the specifics in the following steps.
For example, here is an example of a basic plan outline:
Purchase small property in rural Petroleum County, Montana, and move there with my girlfriend. Start with a small homestead with chickens and several goats. Draw water from the nearby river and purify using boiling and iodine tabs. Fifty miles to the nearest town for supply runs every three months. Power source from a generator and solar.
Then make a Plan B, C, and D with completely different plans and alternatives.
This is a good video from DIY Live Life about how to escape the rat race and drop out of society:
3) Find your purpose
Dropping out of society is a big decision.
But doing so doesn’t guarantee everything will be improved. You will still bring the same issues that you left with.
Before you can experience a real change, you need to really know your purpose.
And before heading out on a new mission solo or with a partner or friends, you want to firmly know why you’re doing it and what your purpose is in life.
I learned about the power of finding your purpose from watching Ideapod co-founder Justin Brown’s video on the hidden trap of improving yourself.
Justin used to be addicted to the self-help industry and New Age gurus just like me. They sold him on ineffective visualization and positive thinking techniques.
Four years ago, he traveled to Brazil to meet the renowned shaman Rudá Iandê, for a different perspective.
Rudá taught him a life-changing new way to find your purpose and use it to transform your life.
After watching the video, I also discovered and understood my purpose in life and it’s no exaggeration to say it was a turning point in my life.
I can honestly say that this new way of finding success by finding your purpose actually helped me to appreciate each day instead of being stuck in the past or daydreaming about the future.
4) Take a survival course
Before beginning to put your plan into action, it’s important to work on your survival skills.
If you already have some that are great, you can always polish them up. If you don’t, fear not.
Here’s a great guide on what a wilderness survival course is like and what you should bring to do it.
This generally includes basics you bring along yourself including:
- A mid-length knife such as a mora knife
- A lighter or fire rod, along with tinder
- A hefty length of quality 550 paracord
- A canteen and metal cup
FieldCraft, which made this video, offers courses throughout the country.
By taking a survival course you will meet others who want to brush up their skills and become much more efficient, knowledgeable, and confident in the wild.
This will set the stage to truly know how to drop out of society, or at least how to thrive and prosper once you do.
5) Get a satellite phone
One of the biggest mistakes people make when they are trying to figure out how to drop out of society is thinking too big picture.
You need to get specific and think of practical measures.
This includes some of the equipment I mentioned earlier, as well as much more.
But one of the most vital pieces of equipment you need to get ahold of is a satellite phone.
If you’ll be living in a remote area, you likely won’t have cellular service and will want the ability to still contact people and make emergency calls. For this reason, it’s highly recommended that you buy a satellite phone.
Here’s an informative video about how to choose the best satellite phone at a fair price.
6) Get money
Before you can effectively make it on your own or apart from the system, you need money or items of value.
That may mean different things for different people. It could be cryptocurrency, precious metals and gems, or even crafted items and resources for trade.
In one way or another, you’re going to need some standard of value in order to get by.
And in order to make the initial land purchase or get out of Dodge, you’re going to want some money or a way to get land.
There are many opinions about money, but the truth is that without getting your finances in order and beating the system at its own game, your options are very limited.
7) Get supplies
Along with money or items of value, you’re also going to want additional supplies that will get you through times when you can’t purchase anything.
These include the following basics:
- Rope, basic crafting items, extra clothing, blankets, lanterns.
- Construction equipment, basic tools, and survival supplies.
- Binoculars, shovels, dishes, cutlery, towels, soap, cleaning supplies.
- Physical maps, hard copies of survival books, and guides to local edible plants.
- A physical list of contacts and area emergency numbers.
In the event of power going out or not having power, having physical copies will see you in good stead.
This will ensure you stay out of a pinch where you’re lost or unable to know what to do in a crisis.
8) Get medicine
Next up is medicine. You’re going to want the basics available.
Here is a basic idea of some of what you’ll want to bring:
- A basic First Aid kit, along with gauze, bandages, and supplies for administering stitches.
- Iodine tablets and basic kits for purifying water.
- Antibiotics, painkillers, extra of any medication you take.
- Additional bandages and medical supplies as needed, including more advanced things such as kits for making a brace, splint and basic plaster cast for broken bones.
Being well prepared with medical supplies is extremely useful and will put you in a much-improved situation in the event of an emergency.
9) Get weapons
It may be controversial to say, but weapons are one of humanity’s first inventions for a reason:
Whether you want to just bring a basic crossbow or you prefer high-powered firearms, having at least one weapon will ensure that you can go hunting and protect yourself from unwanted intruders.
Furthermore, if Armageddon comes you can be prepared.
Make sure you are properly trained in any weapon you own and have the legal right to bear it. We don’t want another Ruby Ridge on our hands!
In addition, get yourself a fishing pole and some nets in case you’re near a source of tasty fish!
10) Get transport
Before you can go to your desired site and physically drop out of society, you’re going to need transport.
A bike probably won’t be able to port enough of your stuff to do the trick, and neither will most motorcycles unless you’re traveling very light.
Instead, I recommend going for a basic used car: reliable, cheap, and nothing fancy, but with some decent tires and traction, including basic suitability for winter conditions and chains.
This depends on your location, of course. If you are dropping out of society in rural Florida you won’t need winter tires but you may need tires that can navigate some heavy mud!
As I mentioned earlier with a bike or motorcycle, this is indeed one way to drop out, and some do so in such away.
They basically decided to be temporarily homeless in order to leave society for a while.
“I decided to leave it all behind. I got on a bus and got out of there.
Now I don’t even sign-on.
I’ve got a bike and my rucksack and I can find places to eat and get washed.”
11) Scout a site
Now that you have plans, transport, money, weapons, supplies, medical kits, and a satellite phone, it’s time to scout a site.
While it’s certainly possible for a wealthy person to drop out of society inside a luxury mansion in the city and just have all your meals delivered remotely and work online, you will probably be thinking more of the survivalist option I’m discussing in this article.
This involves finding some kind of place where you aren’t subject to the same conventions and pressures as outside society likes to impose.
It would preferably be away from the tumult of outside traffic, constant appointments, pollution, stress, and commercialism.
But keep in mind that everyone has a different definition and dream of what dropping out means for them.
And that’s just fine.
Scout some sites that interest you. Go on a camping trip and look around.
It’s a free country! (Kind of).
12) Do a test run
Before you commit to truly leaving society behind, it’s a good idea to do a test run.
The length is really up to you, but make it at least a week of time that you head to somewhere near where you’re thinking of living and see what it’s like.
How does it feel to be without the hum of traffic, off the beaten path, and away from most of your colleagues, friends, and family?
What is the practical side of things with food, water, bathing, and staying warm and dry?
Are you living in accord with what your plan is including the same situation with electricity or lack of it?
Make sure to try to ensure your test run is as close to what your actual plan will be as possible.
13) Source water
Anywhere you move, you’re going to need to have a source of water.
You should definitely be storing water and have a backup, as well as purification supplies like I mentioned.
But in addition, you will want an actual source of water.
This would optimally be a clean nearby spring, river, or another water source of some kind.
It could also involve digging a well, which will cost more and doesn’t always yield clean water depending on where you hire a crew to dig.
In one way or another, water comes second after air, and without it, the only society you’re going to be dropping out of is the society of the living.
So make sure you get a dependable water source worked out.
14) Develop a power source
Once you have decided where to move, bought (or found) land, and moved onto it, now is the time to find out how to power your dream.
As Knetters Practical Outdoors outlines here, there are practical ways to go off-grid with water, power, sewer, and heat:
One easy way is to use an inverter and clip it onto a number of 12-volt batteries lined up in parallel to generate more power for your whole enterprise.
You then run a cord which is your power source that can feed your whole camp with the power it needs.
This will give you your basic lights and items.
When the batteries get low, you want to have a generator as well as a backup to keep things running.
You can also use the generator to recharge the batteries when needed, and will just need to make sure you have a lot of fuel reserves to keep it going.
If you want to get even fancier, you can use something like a cooper coil power generator system.
See the video below for a basic explanation of this great system:
15) Build (or buy) a shelter
You will obviously want a shelter of some kind.
The closest I have come to dropping out of society is kind of a funny story and is relevant to this point.
I was working for a newspaper in a small Canadian city and making a very low salary.
I had been graciously hosted by a freelancer at the paper for a very fair rental price at his home while he worked in the city, but he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and wanted to come home to the town to live the end of his life in a more tranquil place.
I had to move out, but instead of renting somewhere new and dumping any money I made into costly rent, I contacted an old friend who I’d used to work with at a car factory.
He owned a remote farm about an hour outside the town with his wife and dog. He agreed that I could come to live free of charge and camp on his fields, as he had no room in his house.
I purchased a ten-man tent and a basic set of drawers and some rugs and set up shop.
The mornings were a bit damp despite using a drop sheet, but the point is that it was still a shelter of some kind.
One way or another you’re going to want a way to construct or buy a shelter of some kind when you drop out of society!
16) Grow food
One of the other best strategies if you want to drop out of society is to learn how to grow your own food.
The agro-industrial complex that feeds so much of our world isn’t just corrupt in terms of lobbyists and GMO seeds that can’t be re-sown.
It’s also quite bad for our health, with seed oils, high-fructose products, corn syrup, and processed junk coursing through our bodies and weakening and sickening us.
Growing your own food is a way to become both self-sufficient and healthier at the same time.
Some staples such as rice, oats, and wheat you may be better off buying in bulk at a wholesale supplier.
But vegetables and even basic livestock products like chicken or lamb can be raised right on your land.
Plus if you have a cow or some livestock they can work great as a free lawnmower.
17) Keep bees
With the world’s bee population sinking, keeping bees is a great way to help our planet.
It’s also a wonderful way to ensure you have a healthy orchard and plants in your garden.
Learning some basic beekeeping at your homestead isn’t as difficult as you think, and apian equipment and hives aren’t as pricey as some think, either.
Plus, it’s worth the trouble.
You even get delicious honey!
Here’s a video running through some of the basics of beekeeping from self-described “passionate and intense” beekeeper David Burns.
18) Learn to craft
Crafting is a valuable skill in any context and it’s particularly useful if you’re trying to drop out of society.
Everything from basic upholstery to building simple household items such as drying racks for dishes will be very well served by an ability to craft.
From basic carpentry to starter’s plumbing and knitting, crafting will serve you well.
If you’ve played any survival video games and even action games like Far Cry, you know that crafting plays a major role in surviving outside society’s ready-made products.
It’s the same in real life except the crafting takes a lot longer and you don’t do it just by clicking a button and dragging two items on top of each other.
19) Tighten your circle
Survival is ultimately all about people.
Even if you’re going this alone, you’re a person and it will depend on you.
It’s important to know who you can trust and be in contact with them.
If you’re heading off with a partner or spouse then obviously the links of trust will hopefully already be established.
But either way, you want to tighten your circle.
Don’t brag and don’t overly publicize what you’re doing. If friends or colleagues show interest, go ahead and tell them your general desire to get out of the rat race.
But tighten your circle in general and keep it on a need-to-know basis if possible.
20) Find hobbies
Maybe that means learning how to strum a guitar, taking up painting, or getting really into the woodwork.
It could also be more along the lines of reading great literature, learning to Samba dance, or starting a yoga club with some other friends you’re living with.
Hobbies will help you build your new community and new family.
It can be the start of a new kind of society apart from the old one you left behind.
21) Find alternate food sources
Wherever you are living, even in an enclosed residence or property that’s self-sufficient inside a populated area, you will be well served to find alternate food sources.
The world is getting more and more unstable, and that includes the food supply.
In addition to having reliable places to buy food and growing your own food, search for alternate sources as well.
Great options include buying freeze-dried food, dehydrated products, and large amounts of meat which you can store in a freezer in case you fall short on your hunting tally.
You’ll appreciate this a lot if and when times get tough and the shelves get bare!
22) Breathe deeply
Believe it or not, one of the top skills you’ll need to truly go off-grid is breathing.
I mean this in the sense of optimizing and maintaining your mental, emotional and physical health.
Breathing is unique because, unlike our digestion, say or our reaction to strong heat or cold, breathing is something we can consciously control.
We can choose to let breathing go on autopilot, but we can also consciously think of it and begin to decide how we breathe.
This makes breathing a powerful bridge between our conscious and unconscious minds.
Breathing is actually vastly underrated.
Not only do we need to breathe to stay physically alive, but our intake of oxygen also has a deep relation to our own ability to be grounded, present, and well.
And it’s also a bridge to getting in touch with your inner child and healing the divide between you and that deep feeling of being unworthy due to your physical appearance.
If you want to know how to breathe in a powerful way that will get you in touch with your inner child, I highly recommend watching this free breathwork video, created by the shaman, Rudá Iandê.
The exercises he’s created combine years of breathwork experience and ancient shamanic beliefs, designed to help you relax and check in with your body and soul.
After many years of suppressing my emotions, Rudá’s dynamic breathwork flow quite literally revived the connection. And as this relationship with myself strengthens, I find it easier to work through past issues from a place of love and understanding.
And that’s what you need – a spark to reconnect you with your feelings so that you can continue on your healing journey.
23) Balance idealism with pragmatism
If you want to know how to drop out of society, take it step-by-step.
There are various ways to drop out, starting small and going all the way to the stereotypical image of a survivalist living off the land.
But if you want to get out of the rat race, think about your objectives and work towards them.
With survival skills, money, know-how, and a tight circle of friends, you can make this work. The key is to know what you’re working for and to have a self-sustaining lifestyle that’s fulfilling and workable for you. The world is your oyster.
What comes next?
So you’ve got a solid plan to exit society.
What comes next?
That’s truly the question.
Because if everything that surrounds us and all the institutions, rules, and customs were gone, it’s on you and those around you to decide what to form next.
What values will you put at the forefront? How will you ensure that they are upheld without descending into a strong use of authoritarian force?
How will you trade, eat, survive and deal with catastrophe?
How will your new life manage relationships, values, and conflicts that naturally arise?