GrowingFREE; Small Towns

GrowingFREE; Small Town Community 

I will be Posting 2-Articles a Week, On Tuesday and Thursday for 4-6 weeks of segments from our first GrowingFREE Pamphlet on Small Town Community. The articles chronicle my own experience, and my life examples of how I am living GrowingFREE. We hope you enjoy them! We welcome comments and feedback, Please Like our GrowingFREE Facebook Page, by clicking on the link. We Much Appreciate You! Note, all images are from me eric brown, and are part of this wonderful journey,…….Cheers!

How It Started; My Exit to FREE

I am writing this GrowingFREE; Small Town Community Pamphlet from my OffGrid Cabin in Northern MI. The Wood Stove is roaring and it is cozy and comfortable this morning. Housing was one of the major expense lines I Consciously Decided to Crush in Exchange for FREEdom. I get an OffGRID Cabin is not for everyone, but it has been on my Bucket List for years, and my Post 60 Life Transition I decided to make it part of the plan. The outcome of being immersed in Nature and Stillness has been mesmerizing. Yes, Life is very different absent Electricity and Running Water. One Splits a lot of wood to stay warm in the harsh winters of northern MI. But I am not the first one drawn to nature as a part of a Stacked Plan. We talk about Stacking in the book, as it is an integral part of the Permaculture Lifestyle.  Bill Mollison and David Holmgren used as separate principles in their sets, even though they both refer to them throughout their works as important aspects to an efficient design. These two principles are essentially opposite sides of the same idea: every function is served by multiple elements and every element serves multiple functions, or more concisely: stacking functions and stacking elements

A Return to nature is not new, Henry David Thoreau’s central message in Walden is to live simply, independently, and wisely. He suggests that people try to live free and uncommitted, away from things that over complicate life such as the exchange economy and modern labor. He also emphasizes the importance of engaging with Nature as closely and directly as possible. So, that is what I have done, and the unintended consequences are decadent. More on that as this GrowingFREE Life Story unfolds.

 The Plan

Yes I had a plan, sort of. I started thinking more deeply about, What’s Next post 60 years young. Around the same time I became interested in Permaculture a few years before and had taken a couple of Mike Hoag’s Transformative Adventure Courses. In one of those, I met Laura Oldanie, Founder at Rich & Resilient Living. Both Mike and Laura co-authored GrowingFREE, I and two others were contributing authors. I also published my first book The Second Act Entrepreneur in July-2022, little did I know at the time of writing it that I myself were headed for my own Second Act, more on that to follow. I liked Laura, as she seemed to Walk the Talk of a sustainable lifestyle, and responsible money management skills. I scheduled a handful of coaching sessions that proved invaluable. In summary Laura helped me realize what I already had, which we talk about extensively in the GrowingFREE Book. Rarely are you starting at zero. Leveraging and Stacking Skill Sets are an integral piece of the puzzle. I also carried the myth that I needed 5-6 zeros behind the first number of my savings in order to enter retirement. Laura talked through in detail why I didn’t. We outline those and many more in the GrowingFREE book.  


Everything has a LifeCyle. We go through the concept of patterns in GrowingFREE, as outlined by Christopher Alexander in his groundbreaking book, A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction in 1977 on architecture, urban design, and community livability] The book creates a new language, what the authors call a pattern language derived from timeless entities called patterns. Patterns describe a problem and then offer a solution. One of Bill Mollison’s original principles of Permaculture states, “The Problem is the Solution.” This concept has been embraced by Permaculturists around the world, but if you are new to Permaculture this may seem an absurd statement. 

We wound down the property management business for our Urbane Apartment Brand in July-2021, except for 3-Properties in Detroit, but the day to day property management for over a dozen assets was handed off to our long time partner’s nephew on 8/1/21. Yeah, It’s more than a little strange, We were essentially done. Working steady 60-hours a week for four decades to sitting in a chair in the woods staring outward has been a shift in thinking. Much more on that as this unfolds. The balance of 2021 was all consuming with moving offices, and selling things.  I moved from my Downtown Royal Oak Apartment to an Off Grid Cabin UpNorth in MI.. Although I have practiced minimalism to a small degree for several years, this recent move accelerates that lifestyle. So far, I like it, but it will take a bit of time to digest. Moving from downtown Royal Oak to pure nature deep in the woods has more than a few stark differences. Simple things, at night it is dark, very dark. It is eerily quiet, other than the wind, birds and nature. Suddenly, there is a lot of time to think,……a lot. I am enjoying that, all the while being careful to keep any overwhelm at bay. Cutting Expenses was and remains a clear part of My Exit Plan, and smashing Housing Expense was my greatest leveraged cut to GrowingFREE

About Eric

Eric is an Entrepreneur, Writer/Published Author, Real Estate Developer, Nomad / OffGrid Practitioner

You can get Eric’s book, The Second Act Entrepreneur on Amazon by clicking on the link

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