A year and a half ago I took a job and moved to the Oregon Coast. I came in like a jetliner that missed the runway. Burned out, stressed, disheartened with corporate structures, failed relationships, and struggling to stay in touch with my love of writing. I landed hard.

It took months to even begin feeling normal again, to hear my own voice, to make eye contact with strangers and smile. Burnout is a difficult recovery, and it wasn’t quick.

Writing has not yet payed for itself in my life, and the goal was to find a way to make my artful life self-sustainable. To find a way to be a full-time creative. I didn’t know how I was going to do that at the time, but as I fell madly in love with the coastal range, an answer began to surface.

I started house hunting a year ago, with hopes of finding a piece of property with enough room to garden, not just food, but people who wanted a creative retreat. I would garden and cultivate my community of creatives. The idea was to find property that could be self-sustainable, and begin building an artist escape. Eventually, the land would profit, and I would be working less for a corporate entity, and more for my bubble of folk, and my writing passion. (Including BlissQuest Publishing)

It was a struggle to find a place. Housing on the Oregon Coast didn’t have a lot to offer. Then somehow, I tripped and fell over the most perfect location for the escape.

I’ve been moved in for four months, still unpacking, painting, planning and dealing with the new house emergencies. But it’s finally starting to take shape, and the dream of being self-sustaining is beginning to look reasonable.

So finally, I can talk about it.

It’s my goal to have a self-sustainable property by my 40th birthday. I realize that’s just a year and a half away, but I don’t want to give myself too much time to mess around.

As my goal evolved, so did the metrics of how I imagine/hope self-sustainability can manifest. The truly ironic thing about my current state and plans is that if you’d said to me two years ago, “Athena, you’re going to start homesteading.” I’d have laughed and given you the finger. No joke.

This is a total 180 from where my brain was two years ago.

To be self-sustaining, there are some basics that I need to acquire in equipment and permits (water use, and such) but the land and location offer nearly everything else I’d need to get started.

My hope is that in two years, I’ll be able to start hosting creatives, and rebuilding my pocket of the arts communities, by offering creative retreats and energy boosting sessions.

To do that, I’m putting it out there that this is still part of the ultimate publishing goal of being a self-employed artist, and incorporate it all into my branding.

The planning phase is still under development, but it looks a little like this:

I’m still building out my work breakdown structure for scheduling when permits and applications need to be sent, when to plant, build, and maintain. It’s a lot to keep track of when you’re working a 40 under a corporate roof, and another 30 on publishing/writing. It means startup homesteading is going to be a challenge, so organizing it to run on development tracks will be the most efficient use of time and money.

The challenge was partly why I wanted to try it. Second to that was the curiosity of my own personal limits. Already the land and coastal range environment have offered difficulties I wasn’t prepared for, and it’s required quite a lot of reconfiguring mentally to decide how committed I am to the process.

Hence, the 40th birthday deadline.

With all that being said, the goal is stated and my house plans are in progress. My publishing plans are in progress. My writing plans are in progress. We have liftoff.

The plan is to document these adventures in homesteading, sustainability, and publishing in videos and posts. Instructional how to, as well as before and after requests have already been requested, so I’ll try to make them regular.

If you’d like to donate to my Patreon fund for supporting publishing and writing – the self-sustaining artful life, please click here. You can donate as much or as little as you’d like and follow along with updates, stories, pictures, and monthly newsletters. Cancel any time.

Meanwhile, I’ll be checking in and touching bases. The next update will include the list of plans for Q1 2017, which means plotting the garden, ordering beekeeping supplies and so on.

If you have thoughts or comments, please feel free to write in. I’m open to suggestions and feedback of all kinds.