Is living off grid the way to go these days?
Thinking about living off the grid? Find out what it really means and whether it might be right for you.
Living off the grid can seem an enticing fantasy, especially when you’ve had a particularly tough day at work, followed by a long commute. By comparison, off grid living can seem like a simpler and less stressful option.
Just imagine… no crowded buses or trains. No emails continually pinging in your inbox and demanding a response. Instead, you generate your own power, grow your own food and work to your own timetable.
What is off grid living?
So how accurate is that fantasy? And what does off grid living really entail?
Living off the grid means to live without being connected to or dependent on urban infrastructures. Instead, you produce your own power, use your own water source, and often grow your own food – or as much of it as you can.
What do you need to consider when living off grid?
The biggest consideration when living off grid is money. How can you give up much of the trappings of modern life and still be financially comfortable?
Even if you do grow your own food and generate your own power, there are still living costs you’ll need to find money for. It’s unlikely you can be so self-sufficient you’ll never need to purchase anything, and there are living costs (such as waste disposal by hazardous waste removal companies and medical help) and land taxes that are unavoidable.
Living off grid also comes with initial set-up costs as you establish the infrastructure that will support you later.
The advantages of living off grid
But for every disadvantage or hardship in living off grid, there are plenty of positives. To start with you’ll enjoy a healthier lifestyle away from pollution, noises and stress. You’ll also save money on utilities and unnecessary materialistic consumption.
You’ll also be much more in tune with nature and the changing seasons, and live a more independent life that is kinder to the environment. You’ll also be surrounded by beauty in a remote location and have the satisfaction of being self-sufficient and self-sustainable.
How to find the right off grid location
Of course the success of your off grid life depends on finding the right place to settle.
Many people choose to live in or near woodland as it has plenty of building material and sources of fuel. You’ll also want fertile land where you can grow your own food and raise livestock. And don’t forget to choose a plot that is close to a water source such as a stream, river or well. (You’ll need to purify the water before drinking.)
How to power your off grid life
And then there’s your source of power. Today, off grid living doesn’t mean returning to the Dark Ages. Generate enough power and you can still use modern appliances, such as TVs and washing machines and charge laptops and other devices.
The most common power source for people living off grid is solar panels installed on the roof of your home. (You’ll also need sufficient batteries to store the energy.) Some people also rely on wind or water power, but obviously this requires the right environment and equipment and isn’t suitable for ever situation.