The other week I read an online post from someone out in California who was traveling, Joad-like, across the country to resettle themselves in rural Otsego County. I wondered if dry, overbuilt Western exurbia would soon be producing more “lifestyle refugees” who would see the lush, green Northeast (or Appalachia) as the new promised land. Here’s a story about a family from Austin, Texas that wants to do just that. (Hmm… Austin, Texas… didn’t we recently lose a Mohawk Valley blogger to that city?)
I have mixed thoughts about this family’s plan. On one hand, certainly their longing appears genuine, and we could all stand to become less attached to material things and live a greener lifestyle. On the other hand, it’s hard not to wonder whether they’ve thought this through or not. Their impressions of what (and who) they’ll find waiting for them in Vermont appear vague; and to shed nearly every possession, in response to their weariness of current troubles, is the kind of all-or-nothing thinking that probably few can make profitable without tremendous will power and commitment. And will newcomers/returnees to the Northeast participate in civic life, or stay isolated on their “homesteads”?
They are keeping a blog about their plan (and hoping they’ll find high-speed Internet access in the deep Vermont woods), so you can judge for yourself.