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Julian Shapiro
+ Your AuthorsArchive @Julian I deconstruct how things work—like storytelling and critical thinking—and share learnings along the way. Writing: Work: Oct. 01, 2021 3 min read

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

Why I'm doing this:

• Remote work is here to stay
• Starlink satellite internet is available
• I'm lucky to have the mobility

Why am I leaving San Francisco?

Because I want to live on a big, open lot. Like when I was a kid.

I'll build guest homes to have friends stay year-round.

This thread introduces how I'll do it.

First, why I want to leave the city:

• To be in nature—not a concrete jungle
• To roam around freely
• Air quality
• Major cities are overpriced

Also: Quiet. When's the last time you heard nothing?

I you aren't tied to a city due to income, career, or family needs, and if you're not taking advantage of the great experiences offered by a city (dining, events, etc.)... maybe it's time for a change.

Some nearby places I've looked at:

• San Joaquin Valley, California, USA
• Hawaii, USA
• Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada
• Phoenix, Arizona, USA
• Florida, USA
• Costa Rica
• Austin, TX, USA

Costa Rica and Hawaii:

Unfortunately, I'm ruling some out due to natural disaster risk.

Flooding, wildfires, and drought will change the future landscape.

I'm looking to make a 20+ year purchase that holds its value.

Sadly, the rural places I love in California are obviously fire risks.

Here's the historical fire map of California:

There are many amazing places beyond my list above, like Montana and Wyoming—among others!

But, I want a home with more than 3.5 months of warm weather. I grew up in the snow and I'm personally tired of it 😂

Once I've chosen an area, what I'm looking for is large lots of land within driving distance of a decently sized city (with a hospital).

I'm also looking for Starlink coverage—for good internet.

This is the Starlink satellite map:

My intention is to have a lot of acres with room for guest homes.

A bunch that friends will stay in year-round for a couple weeks at a time.

There are many prefab guest homes you can buy.

Dwellito has a ton:

Permits allowing, you can maybe *live in the guest homes* while you wait for the main home to be built.

Since they're prefab, you can start living on the land in perhaps 5 months instead of 14 months.

In fact, you can maybe get a Jute for $25k and camp out on day 1.

I may save a yearly budget to help friends cover their flight costs so there's minimal friction to them coming.

And I'll make a password-protected landing page to excite friends to come. Nerdy, but fun 😂😂

I put this page together in Webflow when I was considering moving to Sonoma, California.

(Bailed on that idea due to wildfires.)

I'm looking for land with a beautiful view.

I use Google Earth to put myself on the land and I rotate around to get a feel.

You can learn of new lots using Zillow alerts.

Set a search query and have it email you listings.

Ideally I find someplace with multiple available lots nearby so friends can potentially do what I'm doing.

Sometimes you can subdivide a single lot into many and sell them to friends for cheap. But not always, and the county may block it.

When buying raw land, I'll bring contractors to check for utility and permitting concerns. It's generally complicated and stressful.

Or maybe I'll find a place with an old, decrepit, cheap home. Tear that down and start from that.

Still potentially difficult, but often easier from a permitting perspective.

Beyond the social aspects, entertainment is fun to think through.

Game rooms. Cabanas.

I've been scouting utility vehicles 😂

Growing up, we'd zip around on go karts and ride dirtbikes.

I also want to build a recording studio where perhaps indie musicians come to record albums.

And a podcast recording room for myself.

As for designing the home, it's fun to use mobile apps like Planner 5D to think through layouts.

Then I bounce ideas off professionals and let them take it from there once I've directionally figured out what I like.

Follow me as I chronicle the journey!

I'll start posting more updates now.

This project was paused due to CA wildfires, which ruled out NorCal for me.

Maybe I should do a  episode on the process, from selecting land, designing the home, etc.

You can follow @Julian.


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