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Julian Shapiro
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Julian Tweets on writing and clear thinking. I deconstruct how things work and share my learnings along the way. Writing: Work: Mar. 21, 2021 2 min read

I'm building a ranch in the middle of nowhere.

Four things make this possible:

• Remote work is here to stay
• Starlink satellite internet access
• Tesla Self-Driving
• Privilege to have the mobility

THREAD: Why am I leaving San Francisco?

Why I want to get out of a city:

• To be in nature—not a concrete jungle
• To roam around: dirt bikes and hikes
• Air quality
• Major cities are over-priced
• Quiet. When's the last time you heard nothing?

I visited NorCal and heard total quiet for the first time in 8yrs.

Two things make my move possible:

1. I don't need to be in-person for work.

2. SpaceX's Starlink is rolling out. It's fast Internet everywhere.

Starlink changes what's possible.

Bonus: If you live far outside a city, maybe Tesla Self-Driving can eventually drive you into town

Here's what I'm looking for in a ranch:

• Minimal fire risk
• Nice nature views
• Within 90 minutes of a major city
• 6+ months per year of good weather
• In a location where my friends currently live or are willing to travel to

When I surveyed a few friends, they clustered into these regions:

1. Bay Area, CA
2. Austin, TX
3. NYC, New York
4. Los Angeles, CA
5. ... nothing else was close

Here are North American locations that I like most—in order:

1. San Joaquin Valley, California, USA
2. Kauai, Hawaii, USA
3. The Big Island, Hawaii
4. Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
5. Phoenix, Arizona, USA
6. Florida, USA
7. Costa Rica

So, here's an example of my ideal property:

• Green and lush land
• Views of mountains
• At least 4 acres of flat, buildable land
• Already has utilities and a roadway on it
• Not shoulder-to-shoulder with other homes
• But still not too far from other homes

Isolation is my concern, by the way.

I don't want to be completely alone.

I love being around great people.

Possible solutions:

• Have 2 cheap guest cabins and host friends year-round
• Split ranch with a friend who also lives on the property
• Coordinate with friends to bulk purchase multiple homes in the area
• Make it a summer home that I spend <6mo/yr in. The other 6mo is city

I find properties using Zillow with filters:

• 2+ acres
• In my price range
• Has mountain view
• Is within ~90 minutes of a major city
• Must have a home on it (ideally a cheap, run-down one I can remove) so that water/power/septic are taken care of

My plan for building a home:

1. Demolish the existing old home.

2. Replace with a modern prefab. They're better built, often cheaper, and take half as long to complete.

3. Install two guest cabins.

Fun things I want on the property:

• Outdoor cabana with group BBQ
• Hangout barn with plants and games
• Makeshift recording studio to bring musicians in
• Multiple dirt bikes to ride nearby trails with friends

Follow me as I chronicle the journey!

I have a potential ranch in NorCal.

Seeing which friend wants to split it.


You can follow @Julian.


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