Sustaining

What’s It (Really) Like to Go “Off-the-Grid”?

When you open your fridge, turn on the lights, switch on the television or flush the toilet, few of us give a thought to the electricity or water running through our homes. But all the modern comforts we’re used to are a relatively new idea.

For centuries, everyone was living “off the grid.”  It’s how we lived before modern plumbing and power came into effect. Even royalty lived by the heat of a fire and drank water from their own wells. They never relied on any outside sources.

As technology advanced, something came about now referred to as “the grid.” It’s the connecting foundation of water, electricity, gas, and other modern amenities. These are things we’ve become dependent on.

“Off-grid, “therefore, means returning to some state of self-sufficiency so that you’re not reliant on the electric companies, water companies, gas companies, and other services. You supply your own power; everything else that you need you get for yourself.

There are many variations to living off-grid, some more stringent than others. Whether you’re looking for a more cost-effective lifestyle or wish to be more self-sufficient, it’s a choice that offers many benefits. But let’s be honest about the challenges in the 21st century.

The Challenges Of Living Off-Grid

First and foremost, it makes you different. While most people are watching Netflix or checking social media, those that chose to live off-grid will be chopping wood, prepping food, building, and caring for their animals.

Food

Everything you eat is going to be provided by what you can grow, harvest and butcher. It’s a huge responsibility. Though everything will be free-range and organic, it will take a while to get everything set up; even then you’ll have to keep working hard to maintain a decent food supply. This does get easier with time, but it’s not as simple as just going to your local supermarket.

Home

You might need to build or modify your own place to make it off-grid. Either way, you’ll need to get some DIY done.

If something goes wrong, you’re the one to fix it. Quite simply, any task that needs doing, if you don’t do it, it won’t get done. This can make you extremely capable, but it also means a lot of hard work each day.

The Benefits Of Living Off-Grid

Diet

Everything you eat is homegrown, without preservatives, contamination, or any other additives. Eating natural is a sure way to eat healthily. You’ll have more energy, your diet will keep you in better shape, and homegrown food just tastes better.

Environment

Your house and lifestyle will be built around sustainable and renewable energy. Additionally, you won’t be purchasing plastics and harmful materials. By the way that you live your life, you’ll be helping the environment and setting a good example

Accomplishment

There’s a great amount of satisfaction in doing things yourself. You put in the work, you get it done, and at the end of it you can say “I did that.” The more you do and the more you accomplish, the more skills you acquire, and your ability and overall satisfaction grow.

Stability

Many worry about power outages, food shortages at the local supermarket, or difficulty getting what they need when they need it. This is where living off-grid is a huge advantage. You’re already prepared for most things that come your way. You’re stocked up on food, have your own power and water, and you’re not dependent on anyone else.

How You Can Try It Out

Granted, going fully “off-grid” may seem overwhelming for many. If you want a taste of a more self-sufficient life, start small.

  • Install a wood stove for your heating
  • Start doing DIY tasks around the house and yard
  • Learn some practical skills: simple farming techniques, woodworking, canning, preserving, and the like
  • Use your evenings to work with your hands
  • Limit your time watching TV and checking social media
  • Search for a piece of land you can use to grow vegetables, maybe even use it for a community garden
  • Collect rainwater for plants
  • Get some chickens or bees  (check local ordinances)

Though full off-grid living is not for everyone, those that are willing to give it a solid try will find satisfaction and live a more adventurous, harmonious lifestyle.

-J.L. Newman

Photo by cottonbro from Pexels

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J.L.Newman is a freelance writer, book nerd, and author who has lived a colorful and adventurous life on two continents. He has traveled to fifteen countries, worked in hotels, restaurants, bars, falconry centers, offices, volunteering, house design, factory production, animal care, manual labor, and various other trades. His interests range from the obscure to the insane and his imagination has a world of its own. Through his writing, he continues his adventures and is keen to explore new topics. https://www.linkedin.com/in/j-l-newman-768b28b9/

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