From Gotham to isolated, code & debt-free West Texas estate

  • Опубликовано: 17 ноя 2014
  • Seven years ago John Wells sold his heavily-mortgaged home in upstate New York and bought 40 acres in West Texas for $8000. The area (Brewster County) is so isolated there are no codes or zoning restrictions so Wells built his own tiny home (in 9 days with $1600) relying on his set-building experience.
    Not wanting to rely on outside labor, Wells has continued to build his own services: a solar shower, a basic composting toilet, a bike-powered washing machine, an Airstream guest house, and a huge greenhouse which also houses 4 shipping containers he hopes to convert to housing/office space.
    Wells named his homestead (now 40 acres, he bought a second 20 acres for $500) the Field Lab (short for “Southwest Texas Alternative Energy and Sustainable Living Field Laboratory”) and he likes to experiment with off-grid solutions: one of his latest is a more-powerful solar oven.
    Original story:
  • Хобби и стильХобби и стиль

Комментарии • 3 132

  • Robert keys
    Robert keys Час назад

    i know exactly how he feels

  • Derrick Perrin
    Derrick Perrin 2 часа назад

    Had a great time when we went out and visited John a few years back. Great guy.

  • T Yomama
    T Yomama День назад

    It looks like it’s uphill in every direction from his house... did he build on the green spot which will also be a pond if it ever does rain?

  • smokey spice
    smokey spice День назад

    No building codes outside of incorporated cities in Montana.and the scenery is a whole lot better.

  • lolazal1
    lolazal1 День назад

    Well done papa.

  • sadiejosiemom
    sadiejosiemom 2 дня назад

    I live in So. Cal and it gets upwards of 100 in the summer but I have a/c and indoor plumbing. I don't like heat. I personally, wouldn't want to live THAT far off the grid or in a place where it's so hot and just dirt, rocks and rattlers. But hey - if he likes it, that's all that matters!

  • Consumer Economy
    Consumer Economy 2 дня назад

    how to be awesome

  • lorenzo magazzeni
    lorenzo magazzeni 3 дня назад

    A thousand dollars a month in Manhattan ? A prison cell size crap apartment costs easily 3K ...

  • Mrssea Sea
    Mrssea Sea 3 дня назад

    no building codes..? no buildings?

  • castirondude
    castirondude 4 дня назад

    Love it! We struck a middle ground. We bought 40 acres at a commutable distance from Austin so I work in the city live in the country. I had to mortgage it to buy it but actually had it paid off 1-2 months after we moved in. We also don't have any code enforcement other than the septics as he mentioned. I bought some housing units from the oil fields at auction, we do have electricity so we have conventional heat & A/C. I have my own roadbuilding equipment and gradually make my way over to the back. We have kids so we bought a portable school building from the local high school, moved it onto our property so my wife can home school them.
    Freedom is hard to find these days but it does still exist !!

  • Zack Gesicht
    Zack Gesicht 4 дня назад

    Thumbs up, Mr ZZ Top. Love it!

  • James William
    James William 5 дней назад

    John, you sir, are AWESOME!!!

  • TouchyBanana
    TouchyBanana 5 дней назад

    A liberal redneck?
    I'm confused...

  • jetrospectiva
    jetrospectiva 5 дней назад

    I love this channel

  • Samoht Solacad
    Samoht Solacad 5 дней назад

    Take care of the Deep State (IRS, etc), the Greedy bankers, corrupt politicians (property taxes, high taxes, etc), and this won't have to happen. Time to wake up (We're in the Awakening time) and fight back. These evil entities need to go and long overdue.

  • NJ Videos too
    NJ Videos too 7 дней назад +1

    He's too cool I love the payphone too!

  • Karsten Lane
    Karsten Lane 7 дней назад

    There is one thing missing here: community. Humans need community, even if it's small. That's just how we're wired up. Everything else is awesome, but I hope he gets to see friends or neighbors on a regular basis.

  • Shelly Sharp
    Shelly Sharp 9 дней назад

    Great, another easterner carpetbagger come out west. Running from someplace that he screwed everybody over to hide from his responsibilities. Now he's a visionary. Bullshit go home.

  • mojo
    mojo 9 дней назад

    Get yourself a metal detector for something to do John, might find a nugget or two mate

  • Polarity
    Polarity 9 дней назад

    Anyone hear that voice? 17:10

  • Ce R
    Ce R 9 дней назад

    Till the fed see someone is living free and happy.

  • mimi long
    mimi long 10 дней назад

    No building restrictions plus No restrictive HOA or LOA/POA.

  • LowplainsdriftR
    LowplainsdriftR 11 дней назад

    He who knows he has enough, is rich. - Lao Tzu

  • grumpy old fart
    grumpy old fart 12 дней назад

    LUVIT !!!!

  • ToyoteroMundial
    ToyoteroMundial 12 дней назад

    Kirsten, how is he doing in 2018?

  • Rusty Grill
    Rusty Grill 13 дней назад

    Eight guns and lots of ammo, please explain, is that just a sense of security or have you had to use force? I ask because im seriously looking at s.w. desert property, more than likely arizona, looking at crime on all levels between where I am now and arizona its actually worse per capita here where I am now, I do however remember an arizona sherriff dept issueing a warning to people going out into the remote desert, saying be prepared (firearms or what ever it takes) be aware, and be able to defend yourself and your people because it could be a long wait for help from law enforcement, I dont own guns, mabey thats going to have to change, comments? anyone?

  • Adymn Enoka Ikaika Anakin Aaga Sani -
    Adymn Enoka Ikaika Anakin Aaga Sani - 14 дней назад

    I went out here back in June 2018 found out that it does suck. I was in contract to buy 80 acres of beautiful desert and it was hard to get to. One night before closing it rained about an 1.5 inches and my road disappeared and I couldn’t find the property again even after driving around for 5 hours. I had been waiting for a month for title and after I was told the road wasn’t going to be fixed I bailed. That area got into my blood though and I still miss it. Terlingua is the nearest small town and actually it is a site to see. Tourism is big as a national park is close by. Heard of Big Bend National Park? It’s strange too that a well designed and supposedly highly used golf course and resort is only 17 miles away with an international airport for jets. Yeah, if I had been better prepared I would have stayed and I might go back.

  • Iain Brown
    Iain Brown 14 дней назад

    If there is no one to smell you do you really stink. Best Koan yet.

  • AlphaBetaTangoLimaEchoGamma
    AlphaBetaTangoLimaEchoGamma 14 дней назад

    “If there’s no one to smell ya... do ya really stink?”

  • Derek Heuring
    Derek Heuring 14 дней назад

    I like to believe now that I'm in my 7th decade of life I've garnered a little wisdom. In my opinion the most valuable thing in life is being content....and knowing what makes one content. Being content is far more important than any other human condition or emotion. Some people aren't content unless they have a mansion in the most desirable neighborhood while people like John Wells are content with a humble abode miles apart from other people. The important thing is to know what makes you yourself content and go after that dream. My wife and I currently live in North Texas and as we approach retirement we are planning to sell our house in the 'burbs and buy some land and live off-grid as much as possible. That will make us very content.

    • tcmcgee29
      tcmcgee29 14 дней назад +1

      I love this... contentment...I wish you and your wife the very best..I want to live off grid. I want to break free from this prison society.. please keep contentment in your hearts

  • Sheri JK
    Sheri JK 15 дней назад

    This guy is awesome. I used to have a stressful job and a big house 5/3 but I gave it all up.

  • Chris
    Chris 15 дней назад

    You live in a shack out in the middle of East Shit Nowhere.

  • Berth Ljunggren
    Berth Ljunggren 15 дней назад

    I recognize the pay all you earn to just keep all the stuff :(

  • Daniel Young
    Daniel Young 16 дней назад


  • Shannon Denison
    Shannon Denison 16 дней назад

    More power to him. I don't blame him. But these are a few of the things I would not be happy doing: crapping in a bucket in 100-degree heat, eating canned food so often, pedaling a bike to wash clothes, having nobody to talk with, being so far from urgent medical care, a yard cluttered with contraptions, and last but not least- settling for DSL. This guy went from one extreme to another. I would suggest that people try an environment somewhere in the middle.

  • trey hetrick
    trey hetrick 16 дней назад

    Awesome dude.

  • Deb long
    Deb long 17 дней назад

    he needs a horse trough pool, to finish it off.

  • Rico Johnson
    Rico Johnson 17 дней назад

    That's not a house, that's an oven

    • Rico Johnson
      Rico Johnson 17 дней назад

      Intelligent man build house made of clay while living in desert

  • Rico Johnson
    Rico Johnson 17 дней назад

    Where's the gym?

  • Real Victoria
    Real Victoria 17 дней назад

    Can someone build me a swamp cooler for my car running of batteries not my jeeps battery cuz the adapters don’t work. I need the entire Jeep reworked $400. Every summer a window breaks and I have to post it up permanently. I’m down to my drivers side window only working but I hate seeing my kids sweat pouring strapped in a car seat and they squirt themselves with the water bottle fans. But not much else I can do.

  • Angie Lagou
    Angie Lagou 17 дней назад +1

    Let’s build a world where you can only come visit if yer in good spirits 😂

  • egmjag
    egmjag 17 дней назад +1

    "...places aren't lonely, only people are lonely."
    One of the best insights I've heard. Humans are so conditioned to think that there's only one way to live. The system is designed to keep humans unhappy and dissatisfied, even when they have so much money that they don't even know what to do with it. You have to have things that you don't even need. And we're conditioned to impress people who we will never meet with things that are supposed to define us. This man is an example of true freedom. Freedom from being owned by things that are temporary and that give humans a false sense of security, spiritually and psychologically.

  • Mr. Teff
    Mr. Teff 18 дней назад

    128 sq ft bedroom plus outdoor shower, toilet, workshop, travel trailer, greenhouse, etc. When you add it all up, it's a lot of space for one guy. Looks like he'll soon have his 2800 sq ft again.

  • Carlos Fernandez
    Carlos Fernandez 18 дней назад

    I believe you have your own range and shoot whenever you want.

  • anjillo
    anjillo 18 дней назад

    Freedom freedom good job man .

  • Pete Deiler
    Pete Deiler 18 дней назад


  • Julio Avalos
    Julio Avalos 18 дней назад

    He better install some lightning rods on that cabin.

  • gj Beaudry
    gj Beaudry 19 дней назад

    This guy knows a bit about everything

  • Dj Konfidon
    Dj Konfidon 20 дней назад

    He thought the traffic red lights in town were chtistmas decorations. 😂😂😂😂

  • The Earthtones
    The Earthtones 20 дней назад

    If there’s no one out here to smell you,do you stink ?....... YES! 🤣🤣🤣

  • Joshua Espinoza
    Joshua Espinoza 20 дней назад

    Awesome channel! Can you provide me the agent info who sold you the land? Thanks

  • Jr Beans
    Jr Beans 21 день назад

    what does he do all day

  • Felton Mitchell
    Felton Mitchell 21 день назад

    Dude needs a shower i can smell his stinky butt all the way from upstate New York

  • Zelda Zelda
    Zelda Zelda 21 день назад +1

    We live far out in the country, have a beautiful home that is very nicely furnished, and a 1,200 sq ft gorgeous guest house, a new RV, two newer trucks, huge storage building AND we are 100% debt free. It wasn't easy driving $100 junkyard wonders to full-time jobs, buying thrift store clothing and hand-me younger siblings made fun of us as they got themselves deeper in debt, filed bankruptcy twice in 10 yrs...have a $200k student loans, drive brand new trendy cars, best furniture their credit could afford them back when we were being frugal...NEVER ate out, took a lunch to our jobs and NEVER spent a dime on expensive cups of coffee...they were merciless, mean and made fun of they're so jealous they're still mean...but I would be same having to live in cramped quarters with neighbors on all sides, under and so bad can hear their neighbors farting...while we're free to roam around nekked and only the wild animals can see us. Love your term "Cidiots"...perfect.

    • Zelda Zelda
      Zelda Zelda 21 день назад

      BTW....everything inside our home was purchased used...even our dual king adjustable Tempra Pedic bed and gorgeous furniture is used. They paid over $28K for their bedroom set and mattress...we got for $3,500 cash. People say eeeewwww...used bed, NO WAY would we sleep in a used bed...OKAY, then what do you think you're sleeping on when you stay in a motel? That was an eyeopener for them! And my "newer" living-room sectional is an Ethan Allen, high quality set I paid $400 for...they paid over $5k 3 yrs earlier.
      There's a ton of beautiful, used furniture you can buy, not use credit, pay cash
      that will save you tons of money. I was buying new clothing "on sale" when my PhDd engineer husband sat me down, calculated exactly what those new clothing really cost when you factor in paying credit cards I'd used to buy the "Must have" trendy clothing that lost its charm with a few washings..

  • ZiggZagg11
    ZiggZagg11 21 день назад

    You need to do a follow-up...

  • Buil Dinit
    Buil Dinit 21 день назад


  • HistoryHunter
    HistoryHunter 22 дня назад

    This is why Ibe never left Tx!

  • Aero Nomer
    Aero Nomer 22 дня назад

    I would never want to live this way but these videos are still interesting

  • anatoli shaw
    anatoli shaw 22 дня назад

    Was that a weed plant I seen in the greenhouse? Look closely.

  • drumtwo4seven
    drumtwo4seven 22 дня назад

    Shit hole

  • Nandizzo __
    Nandizzo __ 22 дня назад

    Citiots lol.

  • Nandizzo __
    Nandizzo __ 22 дня назад

    Better than the hobbit hole. In my opinion. More practical

  • Nandizzo __
    Nandizzo __ 22 дня назад

    Good ol Busch

  • Giant JunK
    Giant JunK 23 дня назад

    Money is the poorest measure of a mans wealth!

  • 762gunr
    762gunr 24 дня назад

    I would put my house underground.

  • Elston Cordner
    Elston Cordner 24 дня назад

    he just have a junk yard. alot of ambition but no movement.

  • Evelyn Nieto
    Evelyn Nieto 24 дня назад

    Easier to het a mobile home dude.

  • james miller
    james miller 25 дней назад +1

    this looks great, it looks like he's living on Mars

  • Angelus Avila
    Angelus Avila 26 дней назад

    Incredible guy

  • will morgan
    will morgan 26 дней назад

    Not a bad layout, interesting and innovative. I can see this becoming a junkyard. Clean up the junk bro

  • RyanONeillmusic4all
    RyanONeillmusic4all 26 дней назад

    places aren't lonely, only people are lonely

  • Tom Thumb
    Tom Thumb 26 дней назад +1

    Personally I do not like his set up. I live in the western Mohave Desert on 2.5 acres. The property is all fenced, (for my dogs), with a well and septic system. I live in an old beat up double wide mobile home and I am connected to the electric company. I have plenty of privacy and almost never see my neighbors and might speak to a neighbor once a month. I have a small 2.5 gallon water heater and a very small refrigerator with freezer. I only heat and cool one room in the mobile home so my power bill is only $50.00 average a month. I lived off grid, 30 minutes from the paved road with no well and had to use an outhouse. I hated it. My property payment is $400.00 a month which includes taxes and insurance. I like having electricity, a real shower, toilet and air conditioning for my one room. I went from hating living in the desert to loving it.

  • SassyBashir
    SassyBashir 26 дней назад

    what an amazing place he has created

  • Menthu Meskhenet FRC
    Menthu Meskhenet FRC 27 дней назад

    Well I've been looking to move....

  • David Davis
    David Davis 27 дней назад +1

    You now have too much junk again--no simple life!!!

  • Fast Heart Mart
    Fast Heart Mart 28 дней назад

    Very interesting video!

  • Barbara Mowrey
    Barbara Mowrey 28 дней назад

    I came back for a visit and hope you're doing great! Maybe you could do an update?

  • Karim Scek Mohamed
    Karim Scek Mohamed 28 дней назад

    Seems like the dude only wash himself because people might smell him!! ..gross..

  • David Hemminger
    David Hemminger 29 дней назад

    I like the Wash machine 19:19 hes right about the side loading tumbler kind though.

  • Crow's Bridge
    Crow's Bridge 29 дней назад

    I wish I could find land that cheap

  • NiNi to #6
    NiNi to #6 29 дней назад

    Hes cool! We owned 10 acres in Terlingua over 30 years ago. Our uncle Doug lived like this in This area by hisself mostly. RIP. UNC! I chuckled when he said long hallway. Lol

  • RetroJoe
    RetroJoe 29 дней назад

    I've done a recent search for inexpensive land to go off grid on. West TX has some of the cheapest land in the country. The biggest catch though is water. There are no aquifers and very little rainfall. No water equals no game and no vegetables.

  • kara moats
    kara moats Месяц назад

    Dude is cool ss hell!

  • Don Francisco
    Don Francisco Месяц назад

    I thought it was Hudspeth county

  • Tiara Preist
    Tiara Preist Месяц назад +1

    have you ever considered building underground to avoid storms?

  • pink pearl
    pink pearl Месяц назад

    LOL this isn't "simple living". How many structures does he have on that place? How much stuff has he trucked out there? How often does he drive into town for supplies? Yeah, technically he's off-grid, but only because he built another type of infrastructure.

  • David M
    David M Месяц назад

    I am Contractor, Real Estate Sales, Home Inspector. DON'T DO UNPERMITTED STUFF. There is no resale value. The local juristiction can red tag your home or lien your property.
    THE absolute best way to be independent is buy a legal "fixer" house on semi-remote land for CASH. SAVE YOUR FREEKIN MONEY instead of lattes. 50k house is roughly $500 year in property tax. BFD. You will have piece of mind when insured and pay taxes legally. The unpermitted Tiny House movement is mostly a scam. YOU WILL REGRET IT WHEN IT IS TIME TO MOVE OR RESALE. LIFE HAPPENS OK....

  • David M
    David M Месяц назад +1

    Went 30 seconds and "No building codes or zoning restrictions" NONSENSE. They just haven't found you yet. A neighbor will turn you in. All govs want tax revenue. Why is it OK for some to pay taxes on improvements and others don't, like you. Socially and morally wrong. Property taxes go to schools, mainly teachers pensions.
    I have lived this way twice, Alaska and CA.
    Being a hermit is not all that great. WOMEN hate isolation.
    The long distance dirt roads will make you nuts after awhile. Washboarding, dust etc.
    People WILL break in when you are gone. Happened 3 times to me. They just wait on a hillside with binocs until you are gone.
    The unpermitted tiny house movement is a joke.

    • Kathy Farrey
      Kathy Farrey 23 дня назад

      He lives in a county with less than 10,000 people. Of course his taxes are lower.

    • Kathy Farrey
      Kathy Farrey 23 дня назад

      Tiny houses are cute! I'll never live in one, but other people are happy that way. Not everyone wants to pay for your kids college. Get over it.

  • Edward Moore
    Edward Moore Месяц назад +2

    joe shoud've bought a good used van instead of a new car; poor judgement

  • Namasta Man
    Namasta Man Месяц назад

    He's got a lot of shit.

  • Ob Bop
    Ob Bop Месяц назад


  • jasavak
    jasavak Месяц назад

    Kristen : Great video . I lived in the rural desert for 11 years and miss it. Don't bother with an A/C . An evap cooler can not be beat . You can cool 15,000- 20,000 cubic feet with a 1 hp motor of 750 watts with fresh air exchange of less than 3 minutes. An A/C would require at least 3,000 watts and reduce the quality of air as well as making the plants too dry .

  • Shawn's Silver Stacking
    Shawn's Silver Stacking Месяц назад

    Great to be away from the city life, however i think a well and a septic tank would do him wonders. And yeah it would be well, (no pun intended) worth the cost hehe. There is still cheap land to be had in Texas, but like he says you had better be prepared.

  • crystal harris
    crystal harris Месяц назад

    I think your idea is nice and your very smart.your living your life and dreams without the high cost being in the city.

  • Christopher Pabsst
    Christopher Pabsst Месяц назад

    John...I'm a NYC ER RN, retired from two jobs, still working one full time job (I'm 59)...just got divorced, put three kids through college and I have a 4000 sq foot house on 3 acres in NE PA, commute 3 hours each way to work and although I love my job, I'm basically a slave to a house I under-utilize and to loan debt for monies I borrowed for everyone but myself. Love the idea of selling and going west...any recommendations, based upon your experiences? Chris

  • Josh Brown
    Josh Brown Месяц назад

    I have a container home with two shipping containers spaced between framing. Works great and didn't cost much at all. Might do another in the future as rental. Great video.

  • Dusty Wilson
    Dusty Wilson Месяц назад +1

    "If there's no one to smell you, then do you really stink ?"

  • Dawn Zacharias
    Dawn Zacharias Месяц назад

    Just watched this. Always loved West Texas.

  • Emmanuel zepernick
    Emmanuel zepernick Месяц назад

    I'm amaze at this guy..How he has constructed all of his living facilities.. I wish I could be that skilled.

  • Ernie Lara
    Ernie Lara Месяц назад

    Nice living, no neighbors to bother you. Just being handy and creative. Must be livi worry free except during storm season.