I crave reconnection with nature, and I'm ready to take the leap

Hey! My name is Jeff. I’m a 28-year-old man, and I’ve lived in Texas my whole life. I grew up on a farm with dogs, cats, horses, donkeys, chickens, and rabbits in the dense woods near the Louisiana border and I was a Boy Scout during my younger years, so I have an ingrained appreciation for nature and animals. I’ve grown used to people telling me that their dog isn’t usually so friendly to strangers, and I couldn’t wish for more loyal company myself.

I’m more of a quiet and thoughtful type on average, but I do have a sarcastic sense of humor and a longing to at least enjoy the presence of other like-minded individuals. Similar to many other homesteaders, a contributing factor to my departure is the exhaustion of living in a “plastic world”, as I like to say. I consider myself to be in the alternative camp, with an appreciation for rock and similar music. I’m nonreligious, nonspiritual, and have a longstanding interest in philosophy and psychology. Admittedly, I do have somewhat of an independent personality and a reluctance to lean upon others, but I’m open to change and believe that learning how to integrate into a community would be beneficial to my overall wellness. I’m sure it’s a process that many people who join intentional communities go through.

My present situation is that I’m living on disability income after repeated exposure to formaldehyde while remodeling a camper trailer last year triggered a sort of “systemic asthma”, for lack of a better explanation, and my doctors have noted the gradual emergence of lung, brain, and cardiovascular damage in the months since my sickness began. Primary agitators of this condition include industrial and highway air pollution, common household cleaning agents and detergents, off-gassing furniture and construction materials, paints, adhesives, smoke, and many other man-made chemical odors. Despite small improvements in my sensitivity, living in section 8 housing is still impossible for me since all the available units in my area are new developments, and the gases being produced by the paints and chemicals used during construction in my unit are causing a rapid deterioration in my health.

I’ve had time to find a positive outlook in the fact that major changes to my lifestyle will have to take place in order to survive the next decade, and the solution that I’m pursuing now is to live in a custom 10x20 tent in an area with less air pollution. It’s possible that I will already have moved out of my apartment and into a tent in a national forest by the time I find the right community for me. Feel free to ask any questions, and rest assured that it’s unlikely any significant accommodations will need to be made so long as I have access to clean outdoor air.

I’m generally happy to work as long as I can still get lost inside my own head while I’m doing it, and I regret that I’ve been unable to achieve a sense of productivity in my current environment with this health condition. When I develop an interest in something, there’s always the possibility that my ambitious mentality will take over and it’s just as much of a gift as it is a curse. My most proven ability is in computer wizardry and other related technologies, having some experience with everything from hardware diagnostics and programming to web hosting and radio equipment, but I enjoy developing new knowledge and skills in any form as a matter of personal growth.

I’m close friends with a woman who’s looking forward to moving into my tent with me when I get settled somewhere. I’d like to adopt a large dog at some point, but I understand any uncertainty towards the compatibility of some dogs with a farm environment. I’m hoping to purchase a small solar setup for my tent if I think it would be helpful wherever I end up.

I really hope you can find the right setting and hopefully your challenges will heal or at least improve with clean air and a low-chemical life. This is a good place to search for community, here on the forums and in the communities directory. And permies.com, a permaculture website with lots of forums, has an intentional communities section as well, so asking over there could also be helpful.