Nikka raises a sterling point in one word 'Doomstead'.
All these doomsteads, rural, urban, island, suffer from the same problem. No matter how many networks of reinforced concrete pillboxes with interlocking fields of fire you have, they can't save you from stepping on a rusty nail and dying of tetanus and gangrene, or getting bitten by a rattlesnake and dying of the venom. Most doomers have no idea just how vulnerable they'd be to disease and infection if their EOTWAWKI scenarios ever play out.
I'm one of those people who spent a lot of time flying over the country and feeling envious of those denizens below in Flyover Country. Growing up in Southern California, where the concrete goes for 50 miles in every direction except into the Pacific, and 2 bedroom houses go for half a million dollars has twisted my psyche. Driving from Ohio to Indiana one weekend made me thirst for buying some dump on 12 acres of land. So long as I have broadband and a Walmart, what am I missing? It can't possibly be worse than life at the Marriott, can it?
I have every intention of retiring somewhere exurban, but where I can still have satellite access and orange juice year round. I have often referred to Dyson's Utopia and Dunbar's Number. While hundreds of millions of people in the Global South are leaving agricultural living for the raised standards of urban living, I'm heading outdoors. What is the best human scale living we might afford?
Just the other night, I watched the excellent film 'Catfish'. In an important way, it reflects the kind of romance those of us who love New York living have with a horsey life in the country. The prospect of being hooked up virtually with people all over the world - ie the advantage of urbanization, yet living at an uncrowded, low rent distance is the kind of balance I seek.
There is only a small element of 'doomstead' thinking in my fantasy retirement. In some ways it's exactly what we all want in living in our own literal castle somewhere between the extremes of Van Vechten's salon and Gosford Park. Sometimes I like the idea of some small scale industry - as my brother Doc wants to purchase a few acres in SD for the purposes of a specialty winery. Or perhaps it would be very cool to run a specialty cloud based service out of a repurposed loft building in a small town where the electricity is cheap. I'd like to outsource myself into bigger cheaper real-estate but not all the way to India. I'd like to maintain relationships with sophisticates, but not all the way to some insular group of wankers.
As you can tell, there are a lot of different values and priorities at work in this new balance, but let me add a few more that are out there more in the area of mystery.
Everybody knows that if you are sufficiently wealthy, you can get away from it all and take it all with you. Living in resort areas is always an option for the wealthy. Complete urban oases in 'exotic' locales are always available if you've got the scratch. But where the wealth really matters is how one can get access to superior urban services. Medical. Security. Legal. This is why I don't very often seriously consider any countries other than England, Canada and the US for my retirement. And this is where doomstead starts to be more of a consideration.
First of all, if England, Canada and the US become unliveable, it will truly be the EOTWAWKI scenario. But I don't expect that at all. What I do expect is that the medical, security, economic and legal quality of living will decline for the global middle class and that retirees like myself will need to think a bit more seriously about stepping out of the comfort of that which we have enjoyed by paying the 'insurance premiums' of our work lives in the urban setting. We have to go out towards a more Wild West, where civilization is a bit more feudal. There's a certain appeal of handling human business without third parties mediating the rules of civilization, but it's also a lot of work and all of us are not up to the task.
In the end, I am not seeking solitude. You can do that quite easily in an Omega Man fortress in any urban situation. I am seeking space, because it just occurs to me that man was not meant to live completely away from the land in anything under 10,000 square feet. But in the 21C, how does an American do this?