Can You Really Own Land?

Ah, yasss! I’ve finally done a thing I didn’t think I ever could – buying land… in Hawai’i at that!

A year after meeting my partner, I started to think about land ownership frequently. Something didn’t feel good about paying monthly rent and getting nothing long term for it. I was too cheap and too smart to just keep at renting fivever.

The Problem

I thought owning land was a complicated process that would cost me fortunes I could never make. I didn’t envision becoming some 6 figure earner, so how the heck would I own land? I thought I would never make enough money without a fancy degree.

It wasn’t until two years ago we started putting in our desire for land into the universal wishing well, what one might call praying to God. We were making good money truck driving, but we had no true home-based. When I started looking at prices in different states, I realized owning land wasn’t very complicated and it could be quite affordable! For less than $10k in many places, I could get an acre or more. With financing of various kinds, it was even more in reach.

Still, the where to plant our roots lingered. We looked at various mainland USA states, but something still felt off, whether by location, price, and weather. Land in other countries, especially in our homelands of Phillippines and Jamaica, seemed ideal, too, but still there was uncertainty of the unknown. We dreamed on anyway, and it eventually faded to the background.

The Why

Cheeno and I bonded over a love of food amongst other interests. Though our entire relationship was nomadic, we still wanted a place of our own so we could grow our own food.

Like all animals, humans spend a great deal of time on food, but as a whole, we don’t personally grow, harvest, and prepare our food. We let someone else grow it and do all kinds of things to it that we need safety labels. Why companies are looking to poison us while they feed us just for profits will always be deplorable. Why we have ineffective food production practices is still mind-wobbling.

Most importantly, why we outsource this growth process instead of doing it ourselves is the true question of responsibility and priorities as humans.

Food prep is another area we outsource. We eat a lot of processed foods as humans, and we forget it isn’t just canned or prepared foods that are processed. There are levels, but anything you don’t grow is altered in some way. That’s why farm to fork/table is such a big deal.

We didn’t see the point in going through so much foodache. Life could be simplified if we were able to only grow what we need. I was always scared to admit I knew nothing about growing food or even taking care of animals I used to eat. If the people who prepped food simultaneously combusted, a lot of mankind would struggle. We’d be sent back centuries trying to figure out how to feed ourselves the same way. Industries would collapse because we’d remember the value of food. Instead of working for someone, we’d spent most of our lives planting, hunting, and gathering. Sound familiar?

We’d maybe even see that we go to work to make money to buy food to get energy to go to work to make money to buy food to get energy so we could go to work… you get it (though obviously we work for more than just food money).

We wanted to empower ourselves after being honest about the value of food. Unless we became breatharians tomorrow, food would always be in our lives. It was all about simplifying our lifestyle to the point where we could take full responsibility for what we make and consume.

I understand some people would rather outsource their food situation. You’d like to focus on other things, yes, but the food industry holds too much power. Food is too important to let anyone handle it.

There is something about the hands, intentions, and level of care that goes into our food. The energy gets passed on to the consumer in my opinion. That’s why you’d most likely not go to a one star restaurant or eat from anyone. On some level, you know it’s empowering to have not just any choice, but a safe, delicious, and nutritious one.

Land Ownership

On an even deeper level, it still beckons the question about if one can really own land. According to man, who has spent much of their time using violence and trickery to gain land (hi, colonization!), you can. Based on where you live, it comes with certain stipulations. In America, for example, you pay yearly land tax, which kinda feels like paying rent, though at a vastly lower rate.

As my connection with earth increased, I couldn’t help but wonder if I could own a part of her. Humans are the only animals who require payment for existing on a space of land. That’s not precisely true in all countries, especially developing ones. I don’t know about you, but at times it feels as if the government could take land from its supposed owner. That entitlement is another blog post.

Land ownership in Hawai’i is interesting. While yes, my name is there for the plot, I feel strongly the land truly belongs to the native people. The taxes should at least go to them in some way. It can be a little terrifying to think that way. Here I am investing time (in money and build) while feeling it may not truly be mine?

It’s not too scary to think so when you look at the entire picture. The investments I made into temporary living arrangements over the years probably surpasses twice or more on what I’ll ever invest here. Hearing stories of how the volcano swallowed up landowners’ investments in early 2018 (we moved here late 2018) also added perspective that nature could come in and do her reclaiming thing at any time.

This is true for more than just Hawai’i of course. Natural disasters are always possible anywhere. Hey there, hurricane season, yearly robber of homes and possessions. At any time, we could lose our land and thing investments. Nature doesn’t care that you own it by man’s law because she is the true owner. We can try to bypass this fear with insurance, but when it’s gone by nature’s force, it’s gone. Most of it can’t be replaced.

Go With the Lava Flow

I was scared to invest in land because it could go poof! at any time. It also felt like I didn’t deserve this gift for the first two weeks we lived here. As we put work into it, it started to feel like home.

Ultimately, nothing in life is guaranteed. We all want to feel some sense of reassurance we can hold on to something tangible about life, but the truth is it’s all like smoke. We can see, smell, taste, touch, and hear it, but we can’t capture it, not truly. It’s there, and then one day it’s not.

All things are uncertain. Naturally, we try to create certainty because it makes us feel purposeful. My purpose in land ownership is to primarily grow my food, yes. I also want to create a space for my son to grow freely. He will know where his food comes from! Land ownership, for me, is also about simplifying my life so much I can be fully self-sustained with little work.

I am creating a life that feels like a vacation.

On a larger scale, we hope to have too much food so we can give it back to the community, and to create something like a retreat center for our family and friends. Who wouldn’t want to vacation in Hawai’i? Off grid, of course! We’ll be posting videos about creating this incredible homestead.

I will say I am not always at peace with the flow of this. Some days I want the land to be for just us three. Some days I imagine I’ll want to go back to living on the road. Sometimes I wonder if I am too young to settle in. In the first two weeks, I kept thinking something would go wrong, and we’d lose it all. I’m not worried about the volcano erupting. It’s unlikely, but sometimes I realize I do live on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere! Ultimately, I am trying to make peace with all my fears and hopes.

I will not “own” this land forever. If all goes well, I want to put this land entirely in our son’s name if he wants it. I will also die one day, and in death, I own nothing but my soul. So for now, as with all things in life, I will do my best to enjoy it until either it or I am no more.

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