Right off the top I’d like to let you know who I am and what I bring to the table…
Hi, my Name is Dan Martin. In my late 20’s I quit an Aerospace career, got rid of my cookie-cutter suburban home, vehicles, boat, jet skies, burned my phone and belongings (and wads of cash) and left society. For the next 8yrs I lived off-the-grid, 100% self-sufficient, cut-off from society, not leaving my homestead once and not seeing or speaking with another person the entire time. There were no electricity or water lines; no internet, cell or emergency services; no clocks, alarm clocks, TVs or calendars; there wasn’t even a road to the property. I built my home from available materials and lived on caught rain water, hydroponically-grown produce and hand-raised livestock. I made my own ethanol, solar and wind power systems, alcohol still, furniture, dishes, pots and pans, even an indoor swimming pool, eliminating mortgages, bills, expenses or need for money or income of any kind.
I spent years preparing beforehand by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity throughout Latin America and by learning everything possible, receiving educations in Agriculture, Medicine and Engineering from various universities, while attending trade schools in heating/AC, electrical, and welding; as well as community workshops in woodworking, pottery, leather, glass working, and canning/preserving, and taking unpaid apprenticeships in masonry, construction, carpentry and metal working.
In 2010 I returned and moved to Mexico to form a non-profit that builds designed, small, self-sufficient communities, in order to provide immediate and long-term relief to victims of natural and man-made catastrophes/crises.
And having actually been ‘boots on the ground’ in places like Haiti after the earthquake and cholera outbreaks, New Orleans after Katrina, Japan for Fukushima, Detroit and Venezuela during their societal collapses and Mexico during the cartel wars, and with 3 published books and over 100,000hrs in the field, I’m widely considered one of the foremost experts on the topic. I know firsthand the ins and outs of day-to-day life in environments when society stops providing for us and we’re forced to provide 100% for ourselves.
I’ve consulted on the subject of self-sufficiency and societal collapse for private organizations like The Mars Project and The Sea Steading Institute, and for foreign governments, as well as Hollywood movies and prime time TV shows like – AMC’s The Walking Dead, TNT’s Falling Skies, National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers, Fox’s Utopia and Discovery’s The Colony.
In 2014, I purchased some land in Texas and hand built a massive Castle/doomsday bunker, as a place where like minded people, looking to disconnect, could come together, live, work and co-create, new, improved methods of living together, away from society.
I, at least for now, continue to circle the globe promoting and teaching self-help, self-sufficiency and sustainable living through lectures, seminars, public speaking events, workshops, and through television, radio and magazine interviews, as well as my Youtube channel. My work, my books and what I’ve been able to achieve has been the hot topic of CNN, Yahoo News, MSNBC, Men’s Journal, Men’s Health, The Huffington Post, Esquire Men’s Magazine, The Travel Channel, to name a few.
I’ve experienced firsthand, how quickly the most basic life-sustaining services like water, food, medical, energy, fuel and security, shut down and don’t come back in places and countries where society ‘did’ actually collapse. IF/when something were to ever occur, or if nothing happens at all, doesn’t it make sense to be prepared? To be ready and already living the lifestyle? If Katrina, 9/11, Katrina and Covid taught us anything it’s, we WON’T see it coming and we WON’T be prepared. If nothing else, we can just make living through this rough world a little easier and funner for us all by doing it together!
So that’s what I bring to the table. If I muster up to your expectations, please, read on and find out what our place can give you and how you can be a part of something better!
Situated on an Animal Refuge in the Piney Woods of East Texas (possibly Northern Cali or Portland, OR area also), we’re an intentional community designed to, first and foremost, provide people (and animals) a sanctuary to come and live together for the purpose of, at the lowest level, easing rising economic, social, and ecological strains of modern life, and at the highest, providing others with a higher level and quality of living, that would otherwise be out of reach for most of us, by combining resources through shared living and shared owning while continuously striving towards becoming 100% self-sufficient and fully autonomous, eventually giving up the need for money or outside assistance of any kind, to ride out uncertain times (as we’re currently experiencing), as well as in preparation for the possibility (as small as that may be) of some kind of complete societal collapse in the near future.
Habitats – Nestled deep inside an enchanted pine forest, we currently live in a giant real life castle, complete with an indoor waterfall and dipping pool (akin to something out of Lord of the Rings) with the intention of, little by little, building a ‘Shire-like’ village with everyone living in interconnected underground hobbit homes (to allow uninterrupted free ranging for animals on rooftops, as well as unobstructed views for everyone) complete with rooftop gardens and edible landscaping, as part of a bigger pilot movement to resettle into villages where life is simpler, neighbors know and rely on each other, and a sense of community and happiness, not individualism and consumerism, defines life, allotting the Castle as a communal area with shared cooking, leisure, classroom, workshop, meeting hall, dining hall, indoor food growing and entertainment.
Work and Stuff – In our aim to eliminate capitalism and the selfish endeavors of society-ingrained individualism, consumerism and ‘keeping up with the Jones’s’, our community shares ownership of everything. We subscribe to the idea that no living thing should be allowed to ‘take’ away and thereby ‘own’ tangible things, let alone life’s essential necessities (food, water, electricity, medicine) from, or rule or have power or authority over, any other sentient being (animals included). Instead we breed a culture of generosity, interdependency, sharing and shared labor and chores, dictated through pure/direct democracy with everyone voting on everything, with Dan simply taking up the role as a guide and mentor (not leader) through the process.
As a mission to alleviate the strains and stresses of everyday life, we seek to make less and share more, spend less and play more, eventually needing nothing in order to be more. We provide a large space for big ideas and a safe space for emotional vulnerability. We are a sanctuary for those who need protection from marginalization. And although we enjoy and prioritize leisure and fun, we’re also very much hard workers. We value go getters, self-starters and those willing to commit and jump into all our endeavors feet first, who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty!
Our community emphasizes sustainability and conscious consumption, where we do not take more than what we need and give everything back. As a part of nature ourselves, and because we live, literally, inside and with wildlife, we make sure to keep our land clean and non-polluted, and live in peace and co-ownership with other animals. We’ll remain self-sufficient through cultivating our own ecosystem, not through the destruction of others, human or otherwise. In saying such, we are not anti-technology. Many intentional communities throughout history have failed simply because of the hardships of those times, not because of the community itself, the people or the processes they adopted. We have newer, more advanced tools, methods, and knowledge at our disposal now, that eliminates most hardships of our forefathers, it would be foolish not to take advantage of them in our quest to make a better society. While a return to nature is optimal, a return to our savage and primitive roots, and the rough conditions and lack of comforts they experienced, are less than desired. We don’t want to go backwards, we aspire to create a better future humanity than we have known before. One where groups are much smaller, and more personal. And with the use of our broader, more expansive knowledge and better technology, we can live harmoniously with each other ‘and’ the other sentient beings on the refuge, while preserving the success of the community. First here on the refuge, using it as a test bed and example, then ultimately for the world.
Resident Activities – As a community, the collaboration of all residents is key, no matter the age, as we share work, play, meals, creativity, knowledge, design concepts, plan and perform various events and workshops that build connection, teamwork and community bonding. In the Castle we have common, work and creative spaces. We value playful, fun environments. For exercise, those interested can swim daily in the pond or either of two pools, bike ride or hike the surrounding forest, or, twice a week, join us for a workout in an indoor track, gym and rock climbing wall or the on-grounds Iron Man style obstacle and rope course. To exercise our souls we hold weekly bonfires (in cooler months), play board games, perform skits and jam sessions, as well as go on field trips together to museums, escape rooms, the beach, kayaking, hiking or just flying kites and lounging in park. For the minds, we participate in weekly brainstorming and progress report meetings, a weekly workshop where we learn a whole new element of self-sufficient living, and if you’re looking to learn about self-sufficiency, this is the place to be as, Dan Martin weekly discusses self reliant living, answering important, relevant questions in an open, communal way. The videos of these lessons are then uploaded to the Youtube channel (check out his ‘Think About It’ and DIY series). Residents are also encouraged to post their content, along with any sustainable living projects carried out during the week, following the campaign of promoting and teaching self-help/self-sufficiency to others around the world.
The animals – In our garden of Eden, we rescue other sentient beings from zoos, circuses, and private collectors, too old or too young to perform or have terminal diseases that would otherwise be put down, and provide them with a safe environment and happy place, full of love, outside and away from the public eye, to live out their remaining years. We also foster livestock in the form of chickens, ducks, guineas, turkeys, goats, as well as raise crustaceans, fish, and insects.
Our Food – Currently we grow much of our own food through Hydroponics and Aquaponics. There’s no free rides here; our livestock pitch in their fair share in the form of eggs, milk, honey as well as down and wool (mohair). In the near future we’d like to become totally independent and unreliant on store bought food and goods, transitioning completely over to our own production of produce and products.
Come co-create with us a better society from from the ground up! If you have always imagined and wanted a part of a close nit group of people, creating, together, all elements of a reality that defies the societal narrative of how we are “supposed to” live our lives, and if your vision aligns with ours after reading this, please email us at: info@DIYSufficient.com
- Common House
- Guest Rooms
- Community Garden
- Swimming Pool
- All units fully accessible
Welcomes Visitors (fee may apply)
- Common Meals
- Guest Rooms
- Scheduled Tours
- Individual Tours
- Work Days
- 11+ meals per week
- Optional participation
- Dan Martin