“I’m part of a small minority of mothers, who are choosing to brave the last frontier. I live off-grid, in the woods. I do the things most mothers do, I just do them a little differently. I hand pump my water and heat it on the stove. I wait until the sun is out, so I can run my washing machine. I keep a fire going for 4 months straight. I, along with the help of my much more successful farmer friends, grow most of the food we eat.
I’m not going to lie, there are a lot of days that I want to give up. Sometimes, I just want to be able to turn everything on, without so much work. Sometimes, I just want to run a hot bath! But there are reasons I, along with others, choose this difficult life. There are values we share and want to instill in our children. We want them to know how to live in and with nature, to not be afraid of fixing and building things, to know where their water comes from and why it’s important to keep the well clean. We want them to know where their food comes from, and how to get it. We want them to be able to feel gratitude for the simple things in life, like a warm fire, the luxury of a warm bath, or even the work that goes into having eggs for breakfast. Overall, we want to teach our kids self-reliance.
If I had to pick one concern to address to the entire country, it would be maintaining liberty. We all have different ideas about how life should be and the ways we want to teach our children. We all have different values and we should feel safe expressing and living them. Liberty is the one uniting value, that allows for each of us to pursue happiness. Liberty is the founding principle of our nation. Many mothers came before us, braving their own frontiers to chase liberty and pursue their dreams. We can only be free, if we mutually respect the freedom of others. I think Nelson Mandela put it well, when he said, “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
Cynthia was born into a large family, in Southern California, in 1980. In 2008, she graduated from California State University, San Bernardino, with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. Her first nursing job, was as a “generalist” nurse, in Valdez, Alaska. She met her husband while working there and they moved to Olympia, Washington. She quit nursing, when she was put on bed rest during pregnancy, and never returned to work. They decided they wanted to raise their family in Alaska and drove back when the baby was two months old. After a couple years and a second child, Cynthia and her husband bought an off-grid cabin, in Trapper Creek, Alaska. Cynthia now spends her time homeschooling, caring for her husband with intractable epilepsy, and trying to keep up with the work their lifestyle requires. She has learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to be self-reliant, as well as the essentiality of community.