Ep 17 Transcript – Prestead: Cameron Newland

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Carly Jackson: Hello seasteaders! Today, I’m happy to introduce Cameron Newland, a seasteading Ambassador and the founder of Camp Liberty, a prestead in the Mojave Desert. His planned intentional community seeks to grow on land for a few years before eventually moving out onto a seastead. Welcome, Cameron. 

Cameron Newland: Thank you for having me.

Carly Jackson: So tell us a little bit about how you came to seasteading. What your idea, what your ideology was around that led you to seasteading.

Cameron Newland: Sure. I think maybe like 10 years ago-ish, I was kind of a politically a centrist and I thought, but I was somewhat of a, of a libertarian already. And I liked the idea of, of freedom and whatnot.

And I did hear about the founding of The Seasteading Institute. And then of course, when the book was written by Joe Quirk and Patri Freeman. I heard about it, I actually didn’t buy it, unfortunately. I feel bad for that. But then like a year later after the book was published, I was following The Seasteading Institute on Twitter and they offered up a free copy of the book and I actually DM’ed them and got it one.And I read the book and it was wonderful. 

And I’ve been following the Institute for a long time. I thought it was an interesting idea. But only over the past, like four or five years has the idea of kind of living on a seastead or moving out onto the seastead has kind of become more of a realistic idea for me because I’ve become disillusioned with just big city living in Los Angeles and San Francisco, where I was living over the past decade.

Carly Jackson: Tell us more with that. What about living in San Francisco and Los Angeles made you wanna leave the city?

Cameron Newland: So there’s a lot of things that I really liked about Los Angeles and San Francisco, uh, especially right when I moved to each of those places. But then I discovered that as a professional in my twenties, I wanted to buy my first home. And rents were pretty high and home prices were high and rising. And so I felt, even though I earned decent amount of money and my girlfriend did as well, I felt a little priced out and I felt like local politicians were making it very difficult for developers to build new housing for people like me, who wanted to buy their first condo.

And I actually paid attention to the local politics and thought that their actions were so against the production of housing for people like me, that I felt I didn’t wanna participate in that system anymore. And I actually wanted to opt out. And just move somewhere else or maybe adopt an unorthodox style living where I wouldn’t have to live in the place where the policies didn’t really agree with my values.

Carly Jackson: Yeah. I worked as an activist in city level and state level politics for a while. And if anything else would make you wanna become a libertarian, it’s getting involved with local politics, cause as soon as you talk about zoning or you know. It’s natural for neighbors to have conflict, but it feels like such an, an inflexible and inconvenient process to sort of resolve conflict between neighbors. Just the way that our city politics plays out and the way that it’s organized, it’s very unsatisfying. It’s difficult to try to meet a resolution. And any resolutions met is very unsatisfying. 

And then often too, you will have, like, I was in Austin, Texas, and there’s a lot of live music. There’s a bar scene. It’s very localized on sixth street. And I would hear of developers coming in, putting in condos or apartments right along that party street. And then people would complain about the noise and it’s like, well, you know. It was known for a long time that that’s where the party was happening. Like, why are you surprised that now you have noise?

And then instead of having a resolution between those two parties, a whole new statute is set. And then that just makes the ability to either run a business or find a home in that area, even more difficult because you have a statute that was for a particular situation now applies to everyone.

Cameron Newland: Right. You made me think of this story that’s very famous in San Francisco of a laundromat that was built in 1940 or something. And it’s a very dingy, ugly laundromat. And the owner of the laundromat wanted to create 20 homes or condos or apartments above it and tear down the laundromat and build homes and famously, I think in 2019 or 2018, the board of supervisors in San Francisco said that this was a historic laundromat, a historic dingy laundromat, and deserve some kind of special protection so that nothing could be built there. And it always must be some filthy laundromat. 

And that is just like a caricature, it’s like hilarious, but this is real life. Like the local politicians are doing these kinds of things for various reasons and making it impossible to build housing. And it’s very depressing, but I will say, on the plus side for seasteading, these kinds of constraints and disappointing things that certain local politicians are people do in certain countries or whatever, it can lead to an opportunity for seasteads to actually create some housing with better policies, maybe even lower cost housing out on the oceans. And so, it’s their folly is our opportunity in a sense. 

Carly Jackson: Yes, I like that way of looking at it. So your decision is to set up a desert town outside of the city. Tell us how you settled on this strategy.

Cameron Newland: Correct. So, I think in maybe in 2018, I left San Francisco and I decided that I wanted to live somewhere else, maybe somewhere with more affordable housing. And so the time being, I settled on Phoenix, which a lot of people actually over the last two years, two or three years have gone from either Los Angeles to Phoenix or San Francisco to Phoenix or Las Vegas is also is a popular choice because Phoenix and Las Vegas are close flying distance, or even driving distance to Southern California.

But then they have less expensive or more affordable housing there than say San Francisco or Los Angeles do. And so I actually rented a brand new apartment in downtown Phoenix on the light rail to the airport, walkable like wonderful urban apartment with like a brand new pool and like a business center and like an events room.

And it was just wonderful. And it was like a thousand dollars a month, which was probably, I would say that is one third or maybe one quarter of what you would pay for that in San Francisco. I think something like that in San Francisco is 4 or $5,000 a month for a brand new, big one bedroom or whatever. And in Los Angeles, I think you’d probably pay $3,000 a month.

So I was getting this great deal. I was exploring a new place that was more affordable and I liked it and it was out in the desert. And I tried to think, well, I started to think, I still don’t like the fact that I’m just paying rent every month. I’m not building equity. I haven’t bought a home. I don’t have land of my own.

It’s not real Liberty or independence because I’m living next to dozens of people in this apartment building. And I don’t. And so it was a step forward for me in a way, but then it was a realization that I need to buy something or build something. And so I looked for rural property outside of Phoenix, which is actually surprisingly expensive because a lot of people don’t know this, but Phoenix is actually a major agricultural center for like the growing of cotton and things like that.

And then there’s a large like horse community outside of Phoenix. And so there’s a lot of demand for rural land outside of Phoenix. And then also it’s in the path of future development for housing as well. So you’re talking 25 to $100,000 per acre of land. And I wasn’t interested in that.

So I looked for a place out in the desert somewhere within an hour of a major international airport, because I like to fly and travel a lot. And my girlfriend does as well. And I found a place to buy inexpensive land about an hour south of Las Vegas in a place called White Hills, Arizona, where I could buy an acre of land for 3 to $6,000. And in fact, you still can today. So that’s kind of how I ended up choosing that location. 

Carly Jackson: Do you mind me asking? What work were you doing that lets you live in Arizona or live? Is it White Hills, Arizona?

Cameron Newland: It’s called White Hills, Arizona. Yeah. So I’m a web developer. I build websites and I build and manage websites for large consumer brands. And I’ve been lucky enough to work with some agencies and brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon and Vans Shoes, and Fiji Water, and some like big consumer brands in like the food and beverage and space and all over. I was doing that for a while and I sort of still. But I’ve sort of felt over the years that it’s kind of like a mechanical kind of repetitive job.

I don’t really get to think out of the box and build like unique products and things. I’m sort of given a design from a graphic designer and then I build it out and make it reality, build an application, build a website. And so I’ve become more programmatic and more into like engineering and building applications since then. So that’s kind of what I’m doing more of now is building applications and engineering, stuff like that. 

Carly Jackson: Very cool. So tell us a bit about Camp Liberty. So when you talk about Camp, Liberty, are you talking about just the property that you purchased or can it go beyond just your plot of land?

Cameron Newland: Sure. So I think Camp Liberty is bigger than just my plot of land. I bought one acre in early 2020, and I bought a second acre just a few months ago. So I have like two adjoining acres of land, which is huge for building a house. That’s a big piece of land, but when it comes to building a big community, like it’s really small, that’s just the beginning. 

But I do foresee in the future, I wanna find a like-minded people, libertarians or people who are interested in living on a seastead in the future, and I’d like them to come out and take a look at the property. Take a look at the town. And see if they see a future for themselves out here, because I think that they can live a life that’s more in line with their values and they can learn a lot of the skills, like say building your own solar power systems.

A lot of these skills actually that you can do on land translate really well to a seastead. And so if you can learn the skills on land first, it can make the change of like moving out onto a real sea set. It can make it a lot easier and a lot smoother for you. So I do see people buying their own properties in the neighborhood.

But then I am also able to, I have enough land that I can welcome people to live on my property. So I am planning on building a large home, which then if there’s a large home that’s built in the next 36 months, the place will be known as Freedom House, no longer Camp Liberty. Sorry, Liberty House, excuse me.

But right now it’s Camp Liberty, because it’s currently very primitive. There’s no home built yet. So it’s kind of like two acres out in the middle of the desert. So it’s a little primitive and I will say it’s fun to be out there for a weekend or even a week. It’s fun to live like a camping type lifestyle, but I will say it’s tiring. You know, it’s not fun to like live in a very primitive place for longer than a few days or a week. So it’s a challenge.

Carly Jackson: So how close are you to White Hills?

Cameron Newland: I mean, I live in the town and so there is a neighborhood that surrounds me. And, but it’s, if you were to walk around the neighborhood, you’d feel like you’re in the middle of a Joshua Tree Forest in the middle of the Mojave Desert. In fact, most people don’t know that there are Joshua Tree Forests outside of the town of Joshua Tree, California, or 29 palms, or this area kind of Northeast of Palm Springs. There are Joshua Tree Forests in Northern Arizona and in Southern Nevada and in Southern California. And so anyways, you’re walking around, you see Joshua Trees and Chapparal, which is like brush basically.

So you’re like in this desert, in this Joshua Tree Forest, and then you don’t really see very many homes. So you have a next door neighbor who owns that plot of land, but they haven’t built anything on it. So I would say in my neighborhood about one out of every 20 or one out of every 40 parcels has actually been developed and built on. So you can actually walk around or go on and run in the neighborhood and you might see a few homes on your two mile. But yeah, your next door neighbor, hasn’t built a home. So it’s very like, virgin forest. It’s very beautiful and picturesque. 

And so I should say the town of White Hills, it is kind of has an interesting story. It is technically a ghost town or an abandoned mining town, and it still does have an active mine that I think they mine like gravel that actually ends up getting shipped to Las Vegas. And it’s used by gardeners and housing developers to, you know, the kind of stuff you do to grade land and make it kind of shape land for when you’re gonna put a home somewhere or kind of for gardening, fill rock, but 120 years ago, or 140 years ago, there were thousands of people living here and there were active gold, copper mines, and they mining for silver and they extracted millions of dollars worth of precious metals from the surrounding hills.

So it was a wild west town. There were like probably brothels and there were hotels and there were bars and there were outlaws. It was a wild place. And then I think what happened was around 1900, the town of White Hills was actually wiped out by a flash flood because the town unfortunately was established right next to the mine, just downhill from the mine. The area, it’s like dry desert. And so there actually isn’t a lot of like soils that can really soak up water. And so when you get a flash flood, the water kind of runs downhill real quick and can wipe out anything in sight. And for those who don’t know, there’s actually a monsoon weather pattern that goes from the north of the Gulf of California or the kind of by Baja, California.

And it goes up and hits Tucson in Phoenix and then Las Vegas. And if it’s really bad, it goes west and hits San Bernardino in Los Angeles. And so we’re in this path of monsoon, so we can get hit by these flash floods. And so they got hit by one and their town was wiped out and the town never recovered. And so now I live in this town with very few buildings in it’s like very much virgin Joshua Tree Forest because it got wiped out by a flash flood. And so, yeah, that’s the town of White Hills. It’s kind of residential, kind of a Joshua Tree Forest. Very beautiful. And it’s an hour away from Las Vegas and I like it very much.

Carly Jackson: So for Camp Liberty, what is the plan for turning that into a community? So what are you working towards at the moment? So that it’s more hospitable.

Cameron Newland: Well, so there’s in person in real life development. And which my plan is, I have acquired a vintage Airstream trailer. It’s like this aluminum kind of 1950s art deco-ish. It’s hard to describe, but very, very good looking vintage trailer. And so that can be like one of the first quasi like housing units that can be on the property. And I do have to pay somebody to upgrade it and upgrade the interior and make it all like fancy and modern and nice finishes. And. Somebody on the prestead somebody at Camp Liberty can live in that unit and would probably pay rent to the prestead or whatever.

And so we could get a few more of those. That’s like a very inexpensive and very quick path to development, like developing a few housing units. And I will admit, it sounds a little shabby or modest because who wants to live in a trailer? Right? It’s kind of a low end housing option, but I will say like the vintage Airstream kind of has like a different aesthetic, you know, it’s a little bit more like high design and vintage. I would say it seems less, you know, it seems a little fancy in that respect, but that’s a cheap, quick way to development that we could make happen in, in a matter of months.

Carly Jackson: Well, I know of plenty of people who would love to live in a trailer if they could. If living in that trailer also means they’re free from a lot of other obligations.

Cameron Newland: Well, and then, the other quick development options are like things like fancy newer RVs. So if somebody came into our Camp Liberty telegram chat and said, hey, I’d like to come out and see the property. I’d like to kind of join the community. They could literally just fly to Las Vegas, stay in a hotel for a week and kind of drive around within a few hours of there and shop for an RV and buy a $50,000 RV. 

And they could come drive it onto the property and start living there. And then they can start developing the property, like building outdoor things, doing gardening, or like they could start the planning and permitting process for building a home on a nearby parcel or on the parcel that they’re on. So there are some quick opportunities for growth when it comes to like trailers, RVs, or even tiny houses, tiny homes on wheels.

Is it, is it tiny house on wheels? I think is the term that they use. So those are the quick options. And then if somebody joins the community and they really want to commit, then yeah, they would definitely have to pursue getting an architect and, you know, buy their own acre of land, which you can do for under $10,000. And then they would do permitting and planning and actually build their own home as part of our community in our neighborhood out there. 

Carly Jackson: So you mentioned gardening. I just wanted to make sure, you know, I live in the desert  too. I think a lot of people, when they hear the word desert, they don’t associate that with gardening. So can you inform folks, like, is growing food possible out in the desert? 

Cameron Newland: It is very possible. And I will say a lot of people don’t know this, but Arizona because it’s a very warm state and we live in the Northwest corner of Arizona. It actually has three growing seasons per year. Whereas in some colder climates, you may only have one.

And so you can plant, well, I actually don’t, I’m not a gardener. So I actually don’t know when those planting times are, but you, there could be three going seasons per year for you. Uh, I think you probably wouldn’t plant in the middle of summer when it’s like a hundred degree plus temperatures. Anyway, I’m not an expert. I shouldn’t comment on that. But the other thing though, is that I do know some neighbors who have tried gardening and unfortunately, one of the, uh, issues with the Mojave Desert is actually ruled by rodents. And so there are things called pack rats, and there are things called, uh, kangaroo rats and the kangaroo rats actually are very cute.

So don’t think of them as a rat, think of them as a cute mouse with a long tail, and they jump around, like kangaroos, and they are not scared of humans and they will jump under your feet. They’re adorable, but because there are so many rodents in the Mojave Desert that if you start gardening and start growing your own food on your property, they quickly eat whatever you have planted.

And so what that means is you kind of need to take some extreme security measures. I know a lot of gardeners know about. You have to kind of surround it with chicken wire. And in fact, that’s not enough because the lizards will kind of run through the wire and the chicken wire and go in and eat your plants. So you really have to take some extreme kind of measures to protect what you’re growing, but you can grow your own food out here. 

Carly Jackson: You know, I have a friend, she lives outside of Albuquerque and she showed me her first year gardening out on her property. She had some carrots and she was about ready to harvest her carrots. And she went out and a Groundhog had like, as she was out there and watching this. She just saw her line of carrot tops disappear under the ground. just like in a Loony Toons cartoon . So she learned she had to do better protection for her garden beds.

Cameron Newland: Mm-hmm I should say, uh, a lot of people, when they think of deserts, they also assume that we have no water, which is luckily not true. We are in the Colorado River bass or basin or drainage. And so we’re like probably 10 miles east of the Colorado River. We’re also 10 miles south of, we’re about 10 or 15 miles Southwest of the Grand Canyon, actually. So if you have a helicopter, you can fly to the Grand Canyon in like five minutes from here.

And we do have an airport in our town, but anyways, back to water. But we have an underground wafer in my neighborhood. So you can drill a well, we do have a water company that serves the area as well. So you can just get water connected to your property and have water, like a normal human being in a normal town.

You can also pay 40 or $50,000 to have a well drilled on your property. It would go 800 or 900 feet deep. And it would plug into the aquifer, which is the same source as the water company gets in town. And it’s like very clean water. There’s a lot of it. And so even though I don’t know if, if you know, but Las Vegas and the Southwest has been in the news a lot lately because of Lake Mead, the level of Lake Mead has dropped precipitously over the last few years.

There’s a lot less water to be shared amongst like Southern California and Las Vegas and whatnot. And there are a lot of water users who are going to have to cut back their water usage and our town actually doesn’t have any rights to take water from the Colorado River. A lot of towns actually like their rights belong to Southern California, even though Southern California is hundreds of miles away. But we have this aquifer that seems to keep on getting replenished and there aren’t enough water users to kind of really, you know, use up all the water. So we have our own water out here and not an issue for us. 

Carly Jackson: Good. That’s good to know. But I started out before I worked for The Seasteading Institute. I was working on intentional communities in Texas. So, I can talk a lot about it, but let’s talk about seasteading. So when you’re organizing Camp Liberty, how are you planning to organize the community from the governance side and then to transfer that governance onto a seastead? Is that your intention?

Cameron Newland: Right? I think when I think about governments, my preferred philosophy is sort of the private cities philosophy. Which, uh, has apparently been embraced by Atlas Island’s project, which is for those of you who don’t know, Atlas Island is a kind of like an online community or a group of people who wanna start their own seastead. And they got quite a bit of momentum and they have quite a few backers and partners and things, and they’ve actually just splinter into two groups.

There’s a splinter group called Ethos Island that is splintered off from Atlas Island that is trying to do something called, well, it’s more micronation, probably more traditional kind of democratic governance. And, but Atlas Island is doing private cities, governance, which I’m not an expert on it actually, but I think that their way of going about the whole private cities thing is actually what I wanna do. And, um, the reason I say that is, uh, what I wanna do, and for seasteading governance, is have a governance that isn’t kind of like fractured and partisan, a bunch of people, you know, bickering and never agreeing on anything.

I think that privacy model is more. You know, the owners of a seastead will, you know, select a governing team who will then govern as they see fit and they will be empowered to do what they need to do. Whereas I feel that democratic governance, I feel personally that it is not compatible with seasteading, or I do not think that it will be successful on a seastead because I think there will be too much bickering.

And I think the reason that I think there will be too much bickering is that, most seasteaders or enthusiasts of seasteading. I feel they’re all over the political spectrum, but I feel the majority of them are libertarians, and getting a libertarians to do one thing, or like getting them to agree to a plan is like herding cats. And everyone ha wants to be independent. They don’t want anyone to tell them what to do. And so they can’t agree on. That’s a real, a serious problem in seasteading that needs to be addressed. 

And I feel that the private cities model, where you have administrators and governors who are kind of just selected by the seastead owners. They don’t have the problems of dealing with the bickering. They, they just act and, and do what they need to do, and they have the power to govern. And I think that’s really important to kind of deal with the problem of kind of bickering and in fighting that could really kill seasteads. So that’s kind of my input on it is, I like the idea of private cities and I like the idea of a powerful executive that can govern. And I don’t like the idea of bickering. 

Carly Jackson: So how will the powerful executive be held accountable?

Cameron Newland: Well, I think one and obvious ways they could be fired by the seastead owners. If they’re not effective. But I like the idea of the ability to hire governing teams and administration teams. Hire and fire them. Because you’ll get competition amongst governing teams and administrative teams.

So if you’re a seastead, a seastead owner or seastead planner, you could reach out to potential people who want to govern your seastead. And you could say, we’re looking for governing plans. Like, you know, what are your values? What are your plans? You know, how do you want to run? You could evaluate a number of options, a number of teams and pick the one that you like best.

And so that’s the great thing about seasteading. There’s going to be a lot of choices of, you know, governing styles. And if you don’t like the governing style in one seastead, you could sail your SeaPod or whatever to another seastead. I think that the effectiveness of these governing teams is gonna come from the fact that they have to be effective or else they won’t have a job.

Carly Jackson: So in these early stages of Camp Liberty, What does it mean for someone to join Camp Liberty? Like what would you consider the steps in order to join? Is there something beyond just buying property near you?

Cameron Newland: Well, I think one thing that burgeoning or perspective, seasteads or perspective intentional communities have done recently to try and get people to join is they’ve created, like, telegram chats, discord groups, slack groups, and they try to create some kind of momentum. And get people joining their groups, their chat groups online, and then they hope some of those people will eventually actually do something like move on to a seastead or establish something or move somewhere. And so I think for me, I’m probably just gonna establish a telegram chat in the next 30 days. And then I’m hoping that people will join that telegram chat.

And then people will be able to chat with me and say like, hey, I wanna come out and check out Camp Liberty, and we can arrange a visit and then see if it makes sense for them to move forward and move out there. So I’m interested in the whole, like build the community online model, but I really do think that I don’t want to get caught up in some kind of perpetual thing where people are in a chat room and nobody’s moving.

That’s something that I really want to see if I can make happen for seasteading is, I think that it’s great to have digital communities that are hopefully gonna become future communities. But I wanna get people doing something in the real world now. Whether it’s buying a piece of property or figuring out when is their apartment lease up, you know, when can they potentially move across the country? When can they make their in-person job remote so that they could potentially be able to have the flexibility to move. So I think that’s something that I want to tackle and I kind of am tackling with Camp Liberty, I hope. 

Carly Jackson: Yeah, seasteaders, well, in general, tend to be doers rather than talkers. I would say if you’re looking at the full spectrum of the Liberty movement, but yeah, there’s still a lot to just get the seasteads in the water and get the communities out there. Are there any other essential elements in the seasteading movement that you think is missing or lacking?

Cameron Newland: Well, one of the things I briefly just touched on, which is, I think there needs to be a way for seasteaders to raise their hands and, and identify themselves as somebody interested in moving out onto a seastead.

I have plans to create something where people can like sign up and they’re not necessarily signing up for information from one particular seastead or prestead or whatever, but they’d be signing up for information on projects that might become something. And like when could they move out there? I think we need a way to have people signal their interest and then they could receive information on potential places that they could move that align with their values. Again, if I create a platform like that, it wouldn’t just shuttle people to my, you know, make people go and sign up for my project. It would be for all kinds of projects.

Like when Ocean Builders launches like five SeaPods and creates a little floating pod community. Maybe people could be notified about it if they didn’t already know. And then as I said earlier, I think doing something in the real world and getting people moving somewhere, getting seasteaders to know one another and live next to one another and decide whether they want to live with these people on a seastead someday. So I think that’s a good step to make happen. 

Carly Jackson: So there’s the governance side we’ve talked a little bit about, and then this sort of relational side where people can get to know each other before deciding if they wanna go out on a seastead. Are there other projects that you want to attack on Camp Liberty to prepare people to move out onto a seastead? So like, do you have sort of a running checklist of things that you want to explore or experiment with on land before moving out to the seastead?

Cameron Newland: Sure. So I think one important thing to go after is embracing the DIY and maker communities and not just to jump on some kind of popular bandwagon, but I think it’s important for seasteaders to embrace DIY and the engineering mindset or the maker mindset, because out at sea, when you have maybe a limited number of supplies initially, and you can’t necessarily just drive to a home depot.

I think people are gonna have to have some ingenuity and be able to build and fix things themselves. And obviously there’s two ways to go about that. You could hire a bunch of people whose job is to build and repair and fix your seasteading infrastructure, right. Or you could have the first seasteaders just be kind of DIY oriented engineering, oriented people from the get go.

In my opinion, the issue here is that not all people who are seasteading enthusiasts are really engineering oriented, or good with their hands or good with fixing things. And I think one way to build that broader skill amongst seasteaders is to get seasteaders involved in like local groups where they’ll like buy a sailboat together. And they’ll kind of fix the sailboat, repair the sailboat, make sure it’s in running order because those are the kinds of skills that I think will be needed. It’s like fixing, building, repairing engineering. I think those are gonna be needed out on a seastead, especially in the early years when the average seastead is gonna need to wear many hats in order to make things work.

Carly Jackson: Sure. So along those lines, what will Camp Liberty look like one year from now and also five years from now?

Cameron Newland:  So I think one year from now Camp Liberty will still look pretty modest and it’ll probably have, like, let’s say two Airstream trailers out there. I think the electrical system, which it already has solar power and water that gets hauled in and it already has a lot of things going for it. But I think one year from now the electrical system will be beefier, so it can support more kinds of power tools and more people using lots of electricity at once. Because like right now, if six people tried to run a tea kettle, an electric tea kettle at once, the electrical system can’t handle that. So that’s kind of something like, so yeah, a year from now, our electrical system will be beefier.

And then hopefully there will be maybe like a group of a dozen people who are like maybe planning to move there and are kind of involved in our digital, like telegram channels or whatever. And then hopefully we’ll also have people coming out to visit. And I’d also like to be doing a few events every year to like, maybe like a seastead or camp out in the desert, just so seasteaders can meet one another and they can check out our, like, little project out there, check out Camp Liberty if they’re interested or not. I’d just like to show it to them. 

And then I’m hoping that in five years there will probably be at least three homes built. So like full size homes sitting on an acre. And then we’ll have like a little neighborhood, hopefully of at least, like I said, three homes, and then probably at least like six of these like Airstream trailer type of things that are more temporary or low cost. And so I hope we have some kind of like bit of a village vibe. So maybe instead of Liberty House, maybe it’ll be called Liberty Village or something, but obviously in five years, there needs to be more thought about, uh, well, how do you move this community out onto the sea. You can’t just think about building on land forever. And so obviously there needs to be some thought about, are we gonna sell our homes, sell our air streams and then buy sailboats or buy SeaPods? Like, how is that gonna work? So there’s obviously gonna be more thought as to that kind of transition five years from now. 

Carly Jackson: Now, are there any sort of bureaucratic hurdles to overcome when forming a village out there? I know when I was looking at building an intentional community in Texas, there were like county level regulations about how many homes you could have on so many acres. And it was very discouraging, but how does that work where you’re at? 

Cameron Newland: The zoning? Like as a libertarian type I’m obviously think the zoning is restrictions are too restrictive, because a lot of libertarians, well, depending on where you are on the spectrum, a lot of libertarians think like any restrictions is too much, you know, and so I’ve looked at the zoning and so the, the deal is in the neighborhood I live in, you buy an acre of land. It’s generally zoned residential, which limits what you can do with it a little bit.Residential zoning means you’re not allowed to have like farm animals and you’re technically, I think, not allowed to have trailers on it. 

But what you can do is you can get it rezoned agricultural. And if you do that, you just submit a petition and pay an $800 filing fee. And as long as you know that nobody complains too much. If it gets granted, then you’re allowed to have things like trailers or farm animals if you wanted to. It really makes it easier to develop things without restrictions. And then the other things I should mention about permitting and zoning and all that stuff is that it looks like if you get this agricultural zoning thing in our county, it appears that you can have as many tiny houses on wheels as you want or trailers or whatever.And so that’s a really great development option. But then if you wanna build a home, the limitation is it has to be, I think, 1200 square feet minimum, which that isn’t really that big of a home. So that’s not a big. But it means that if you were trying to build like some kind of studio, like small home, they wouldn’t give you a permit to build a 600 square foot home. We would have to build a 1200 square foot home and then build on after that. 

And so that’s kind of the only limitation there and the zoning and permitting office is in a town called Kingman, Arizona, which is about a 45 minute drive away. They seem to be relatively receptive to things. We don’t have a homeowner’s association in our neighborhood, so that’s good because homeowners associations can block your home plan or permit based on design considerations that are really kind of, I don’t know, like not grounded in reality. I think the zoning and permitting restrictions in our neighborhood are like too restrictive for my taste, but I wouldn’t say that they’re bad relative to, you know, what’s out there. 

Carly Jackson: Well, you seem very focused on seasteading, which is great because I think sort of the first impression of preed people will assume that you’ll just stay on land and not move out to sea. So is there anything you can say to, to reassure people that, no, no, this is about seasteading, not about intentional communities on land.

Cameron Newland: First of all, I think that there are huge overlap in skills. Like things that would be useful on a seastead are useful in an off grid, kind of intentional community on land. And then the other thing is like, I think that if your goal is to move out onto the sea, you just need to make clear that that’s your objective and make sure you’re doing things every month or every quarter or every year to move you towards that.

So if there were, let’s say a handful of people living out on Camp Liberty a year from now, we could do something like we could take a sailing course in Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles, or we could go to San Diego or we could do some kind of sailing course to get people more familiar with being out on the water.

Maybe we could do an offshore sailing weekend or week. So I think there’s a lot of opportunities. Once you get people together in one place it’s, uh, easier to like plan events and things that are more about going out on the sea. And so I think that’s really key. I think it’s harder to get people, 20 people, from around the country or around the continent to fly out to Miami for a sailing week. But I think it’s easy once you have people living in one place, it’s easier to coordinate getting all of them all out in one sailboat. That’s a few hundred miles away. 

Carly Jackson: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. Is there anything else you’d like the seasteading audience to know about Camp Liberty?

Cameron Newland: Oh, well actually, I kind of wanna describe the area, just because I’m interested in getting people to potentially move out to Camp Liberty. So I want people to know what it’s like living here. Camp Liberty and White Hills are a very quiet kind of rural town and it’s not rural in the, it’s not like you see like cows every day. It’s not like rural, like living in a farm town. But it’s more rural, like it’s a Joshua Tree Forest and there aren’t exactly homes built on every lot.

It’s not a very densely populated area. And so basically the town is like it’s an eight mile drive from the big highway nearby, which is called Highway 93, soon to be Interstate 11. And then you take a right on that and you go towards Las Vegas and that’s about an hour drive away. So the great thing about, uh, living at Camp Liberty is that if you need to work in Las Vegas or a big city, you can do that. You can commute to Las Vegas every day if you have to. 

And then if you don’t want to go all the way to Las Vegas, you can go to a town called Boulder City, Nevada, which is 40 minutes away. They’ve got grocery stores and stuff like that. And then our little town of White Hills has like five gas stations, a restaurant and bar, and then like two fast food places. And then there’s two fast food places being built. And then there’s like some kind of gun range for tourists in Vegas to go to. And then there’s a little airport. So it’s not really a big town, probably less than a thousand people live here. 

But the big attractions nearby, we live like 15 miles Southwest of the Grand Canyon. We live like a 30 minute drive from Willow Beach, which is an arm of the Colorado River where you can go kayaking and boating and fishing. And that’s really a great place to go. And then we also live like 45 minutes away from Lake Mead, which is a, like the best place to go boating. And it’s very warm water. Great for swimming that you can go hiking. There’s all sorts of stuff. That’s kind of like what the area is like. It is a desert, very hot in the summer. We are at altitude. We’re at 3,500 feet of altitude. So our summer highs are lower than what you’d find in Phoenix or Las Vegas. So it’s a little more comfortable and it’s a really beautiful place. And I hope people might hope to come check it out someday. 

Carly Jackson: And where can they learn about Camp Liberty, the prestead.

Cameron Newland: So right now I have a website up at prestead.com, P R E S T E A D.com. And it just has some information on the milestones. Like what kinds of things that I’ve kind of been able to build out here what the future plans are. And hopefully by the time you hear this, you’ll be able to kind of click through to our telegram chat or contact me about maybe doing an in-person visit or learning more about Camp Liberty. And yeah, I’m excited to have more seasteaders or libertarian types get involved with the project.

Carly Jackson: Great. Thank you so much, Cameron.

Cameron Newland: Thank you.