By Emma Dunn

A family swapped city life to live off-grid in the desert by buying five acres of land from Facebook Marketplace for $7,500.

Zani Sunshine, 43, grew up dreaming of living on a large plot of land.

Her and her husband Yaseen, 43, a carpenter, didn’t want to be stuck in their home in Atlanta, Georgia when the pandemic hit.

They made the quick decision to trade in their car for a truck to tow their trailer and travelled with Zani’s son, 11, until they found the perfect location.

They bought 10 acres of land near Albuquerque, New Mexico for $10,000 four months later – and bought a further five acres on their land line on Facebook Marketplace for $7,500.

Now the family are in the process of building their own home and have their own solar panels for electricity and a septic system.

They want to build and underground geothermal greenhouse to grow their own food and so they can be self-sufficient.

Zani, a content creator and author, said: “It’s a freeing lifestyle.

“I have so much more of a sense of security to know you have so much more control over things.

“People think I’m living in fear.

“It’s not a fear. There’s a possibility and I want to be prepared.

“I feel empowered.”

Zani had a busy life in Atlanta – working as a health nurse – but had been prepping for the last ten years.

She said: “If something did happen I wanted to be self-sustaining.

“We had water, medical supplies and bug out bags to leave the city quickly.

“The fact we’re so dependent on the systems.

“So many people are not prepared – then there is chaos and violence.”

She took the plunge to move off-grid in March 2020.

Zani, who is also a consultant, said: “When the pandemic hit we didn’t want to be in the house.

“We traded in our car for a truck to pull our trailer.”

The family travelled 1,300 miles until they found their dream location.

They set up their 26ft travel trailer on the land and bought a 40ft destination trailer for $15,000 on Facebook Marketplace to live in while they build their home.

Yaseen built a mud room next to their trailer for their muddy boots, wood stove and extra storage.

They had septic system installed for their waste.

The family currently have a chicken coop and meat rabbits but are hoping to get some mules and sheep.

They live in the high desert – 75,000 ft above sea level – meaning their days and nights can vary in temperature of 20 degrees.

Zani says the temperatures rarely get above 32 degrees Celsius.

Zani said: “The growing season is really short.

“We’re trying to build an underground geothermal greenhouse but it will cost $50,000.

“That’s our next goal.”

Currently Zani bulk orders dry food on Amazon – and has six months to a year of prepped food.

They get their fresh food from a small town 30 minutes away or from a bigger supermarket an hour and a half away.

The family’s land is well elevated so they are less likely to experience flooding – as it becomes more common due to climate change.

She said: “We don’t have tornadoes, or hurricanes.

“There is less of a possibility of it.”

Zani’s goal isn’t to be 100 per cent self sufficient but she wants to be able to live with what she has if something happens.

Her recent book Offgrid Planning Workbook is available on Amazon.

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