Off the grid living is something we all dream about, but only a few of us have the courage to actually do it. We love our convenient lifestyles and we cherish our electrical appliances that make life easier. Living off the grid means living off the public utilities and becoming self-sufficient. The tricky part is that nobody will tell you what it all implies in the end.
Living off the grid is not a primitive living as most people imagine and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to lower your living standards. In fact, to go off the grid has many advantages and if you managed to stay strong in the beginning, you will benefit from living off the grid in the long run.
Here are just a few benefits of going off the grid:
- You will not have to worry about how you’re going to put food on the table with the economy going crazy and the prices skyrocketing. You eat what you grow and you know where your food comes from.
- Living off the grid will give you the financial independence that you were always looking for. Becoming self-sufficient and producing your own energy and food will give you financial freedom.
- In time, you will get a sense of security that other people don’t have. When a disaster strikes or the fast approaching energy crisis hits us, you will still get all the services. In an extreme situation you will be on your own and your chances to make it are much higher than those for the rest of the world.
- Living off the grid means developing a set of skills that are not available for everyone. Your off the grid skills will make a huge difference when a natural or man-made disaster hits your area. You will be able to barter with people and get goods in exchange for the services you provide using your off the grid skills.
- Living off the grid will unite a family and create a strong familial bond. Everyone from the family will have to contribute to this new lifestyle and your kids will no longer stay on Facebook 24/7. The absence of media from an off the grid living provides a freedom that is hard to explain, but it’s a delight to experience.
- You get a sense of accomplishment from living off the grid. Something that you don’t get from your day job. When you produce your own energy and grow your own food you achieve self-satisfaction. You do it all for yourself and your family and nobody else. You don’t work all week to make someone else rich. You work for your loved ones and you get a satisfaction that doesn’t have a price tag.
Going off the grid means you have to make your own energy and there are many ways to do so. Here are the most popular ones:
Using Photovoltaic solar panels is the most common method to produce energy for your house. All you need are the panels and the sun. The market is flooded with solar panels and the technology improves every year. These targeted products for people living off the grid are increasing at a high rate and you won’t have problems finding something suited for your needs.
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Using a wind turbine to produce energy is another method preferred by those who live off the grid and it’s not as complicated as it sounds. You will need to install a wind turbine about 50 to 120 feet high from the ground and the wind will do the entire job for you. Of course that this off the grid method has to be used in an area with a reliable supply of wind in order to be efficient. However, with the climate changing, it seems that most of the regions will have a good supply of wind.
Related article: A new wind power generator that changes the game. Goodbye blades!
For an off the grid living you can also use a hydro power plant to produce electricity. However, this requires a lot more work as you have to build dams and utilize the kinetic energy from the water current to create electricity. All the work will pay off since water power can produce between 10 and 100 times more power than solar panels. Building a dam on your land for your off the grid setup can involve a substantial cost that you need to take into account.
You can also make your own gas for a comfortable off the grid living. All you have to do is to build a biogas generator that uses household, organic waste to produce your own gas for cooking or lighting. Living off the grid means having easy access to a lot of organic material that can be turned into gas and it would be a shame not to profit from it. It is much easier to build a gas generator than one would think, it’s not rocket science. This method is preferred by those who live off the grid because it’s much easier than cutting wood to produce gas.
Those who can afford it can use more than one of the methods listed above in order to make energy and have the comfort they desire. It’s just a matter of location, budget and the will to do it.
Another critical part of a decent off the grid living is how to arrange for your own food. Making your own food is possible and everyone can do it. We buy food or groceries from the stores because of the hectic work life we have and because we lack the time and will to do it otherwise. Growing your own fruits, vegetables and meat is a skill that goes under constant development for those who live off the grid.
You can have a vegetable garden at your off the grid home to produce what you need. You will have to get the proper seeds and gain good knowledge in order for your garden to become efficient. In addition to a vegetables garden, you can always run a home-based farm consisting of chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs and cows if you like dairy products.
Things may look great if you read all of the above and it would seem that living off the grid is not that difficult and you can make it too. With the right will, you might and I really hope you do make it. If you consider an off the grid living you should also be aware of the limitations an off the grid life brings.
Limitations of an off the grid lifestyle
It would be unfair to discuss about an off the grid living without exerting on the limitations that this choice comes with. Everything in this life has its limitations and so does an off the grid living.
Money, the root of all evil.
Every off the grid adventure requires money and most of these adventures requires a lot of money to start with. If you find it hard to make both the ends meet and you are struggling with soaring bills to be paid, then this system will not work for you. You need to be debt free before you build your off the grid home and you need to have a little extra on the side. You shouldn’t go for it, unless you own land in the suburbs or you have a big savings account. Sure, there are many who struggle with nothing at the beginning and end up building their off the grid dream home, but those success stories should not be a role-model for you. Those people struggled hard enough and they had an advantage, they had the skills you probably don’t have. Even so, most of them wish they had something extra when they started in order to make their life easier. Renewable energy sources have high initial costs and you need to keep that in mind.
Growing food requires a lot of work
You need to understand that growing your own food requires a lot of work and success is not a promise. Growing your own food requires diligence, consistency and a recuperative ability. It will take time until you get used with all of it and you need patience. Not to mention that growing food means you need to get down and dirty. You can’t do it from the keyboard and you it will be harder for you if you’re not used with physical labor. It will pay off in the end, but you will have to get to that point and that means you have to practice and have patience. There are a few good solutions for producing your own food, some quite innovative and you just need to find the right one for you.
Living off the grid requires a certain mind spirit
Yes you’ve heard it right, living off the grid is not for everyone and if you are the type that panics easily, you will have a hard time if you decide to follow on this system. There will be times when nothing goes your way and there will be nobody you could blame it on. Uncertain weather conditions, pests, soil problems and what not will undeniably discourage you. So if you’re not optimist and if you can’t keep your cool, even when nature it’s against you, then you should reconsider about living off the grid. The good news is that humans are creatures that can easily adapt if they have the right mindset. Most of the people I’ve talked with and based on the stories I’ve read about off the grid living, made me believe that the first three years are the hardest.
Off the grid living is also about relocating
Most of the time, in order to set up an off the grid lifestyle you need to have a separate piece of land. Off the grid living involves moving to another state and finding an appropriate and affordable piece of land. So not only you have to get used to this new lifestyle, but you also have to deal with everything that relocating brings. You will have to face new challenges, from meeting new people to learning about the rules and regulations from your new location and even developing new type of skills (like hunting). Some people have trouble dealing with all of this and it takes a tool on their state of mind and well-being. It makes living off the grid much harder for them than it already is.
Related reading: Choosing land for an off the grid house
Off the grid living is not a permanent vacation as it looks
In fact, you might not have too much free time for yourself in the first year or two. This until you get used to this new lifestyle and the changes it brought. You must kiss your leisure days a goodbye because you will be on duty 24/7 on the first months. You need a lot of motivation to continue and if you’re the laid back type, it will all come crushing down on you. Living off the grid requires a lot of work in the first year and in order to make it, you need to convince all your family members to give a helping hand. You will see that things get easier with time and you will be glad you didn’t gave up.
Off the grid living requires safety measures
You are far from the world and you think you’re safe. You’re not, and you might find out the hard way. When you live off the grid you should always be on guard. Many people have a “Zen attitude” and they don’t pay too much attention at the outside world when they have their own little slice of heaven. They don’t put too much effort into defending their home and I think that’s a mistake. You’ve struggled so much to build everything you have. Shouldn’t you protect it? When it comes to defense most people get a firearm or two and that’s pretty much it. If something will happen and the brown stuff hits the fan, people living off the grid will become targets because they have what everyone needs, self-sustainability. Living off the grid means you also have to invest in your protection and make sure your new house can withstand a home invasion.
Off the grid living can’t make everyone happy
In fact, off the grid living it’s about compromising and the sooner you realize it, the better you will be. All the renewable energy sources you install might not generate enough energy to power all the things of your need. If your kids are spending all their time on the Xbox, someone will be disappointed at the end of the day when the washing machine won’t work. Not all the members of the family will be drawn to this type of living, especially the teenagers. They will need their time, their friends and their hobbies and dealing with an unhappy teenager when you have other chores waiting for you, will only cause arguments. These are just some examples, but the point is the same, not all families can handle an off the grid living. If you are not united as a family and if you can’t compromise, living off the grid will become a struggle.
Off the grid living is a permanent retreat for some
Most of the people I know that decided to live off the grid are located more than a 2 hour drive from a town. They are fine with it and even though I understand the need to be located into a secluded area, I can’t help but think about the downsides of this. Being far away from civilization will provide a certain level of protection, but what if you need medical assistance in case of an emergency? You will have to deal with the situation yourself and this requires knowledge about first aid, but also about specific illnesses you suffer from. Driving four hours in order to get supplies it’s not comfortable and you have to carefully plan your shopping runs. Your social life will be affected in time and you will prefer to stay at home rather than going to the nearest town and get to know people. As I said before, this is even harder for teenagers. Sure you might get a pet or two, but you and your loved ones still need human interaction. This is one of the limitations that can go just fine with some while for others, is a nightmare not being part of a community.
Living off the grid is not easy, yes, but it is not difficult either if you have the needed resources and the right mindset. Living off the grid is a complete transformation of your lifestyle but the many benefits it offer you makes it nothing less than a blessing in disguise. An off the grid living is both cost saving and natural, an enjoyable way to spend your days on Earth.
Stay Safe and God Bless!
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