Who are the Off-Grid residents of America? And where do they live? Somebody has made a step towards finding out – analyzing the Instagram locations of those who mention off-grid in their posts. Not quite the same as finding out where they live, but they could be centers of off-grid dreams.
Either way, there are thousands actively posting about the subject on Instagram.
American homesteaders are a growing army. Self-sufficient types who grow their own food, generate their own power, make their own clothes. They are pursuing tiny living to leave a lighter footprint on the world through smaller properties and simpler lower-cost life. And there are those who live entirely off-grid in America. Stepping out of society almost entirely and avoiding everything from the internet to schools to electricity.
Many are inspired by the climate crisis or the lure of a better way of life. Many are worried about growing governmental control and surveillance, or even in preparation for a global catastrophe that could render mainstream society incapacitated. And in these extraordinary times in which we’re living, much of that doesn’t sound like such a bad idea! But where’s best to go off-grid in America?
You’d imagine if they’re doing it properly, it would be hard to track down. But with the tendrils of social media reaching even the most distanced of communities, it’s easy to find the best places to go off-grid in America.
The best states for #homesteading
Very much at the community-living end of the off-grid spectrum, homesteading is largely about growing your own food, using renewable energy, and being a bit more self-sufficient, and is a fast-growing trend even in urban areas across the US. The east coast is a particular hotbed with spots like Sarasota Springs and Peacham, Vermont standing out for their outdoorsy appeal. It is, however, California on the west coast that takes the overall top spot for the most homesteading hashtagged state.
“Urban homesteading is really getting some traction,” Hollis Palmer, a back-yard farmer in Newport, Virginia, told CBN News. “And it gives you good energy, and you can get good exercise, and most of all, you get some good eatin’ out of it, so give it a shot.”
The best states for #tinyliving
Cute as it may sound, tiny living is a legitimate and fierce commitment by many to minimize their waste and energy usage and thus their impact on the world. The movement was kickstarted by Lester Walker’s 1987 guide to building tiny houses, itself inspired by the American tradition of building sustainable cabins and cottages.
Common themes include solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling, air-tight windows, specialist insulation, and energy-efficient appliances, but its bywords are smart, imaginative design, and a commitment to cutting out the surplus. Compared to its homestead and off-grid contemporaries, it feels more modern and technological rather than ‘back to the earth.’
Instagram trends point towards Portland in Oregon, Austin in Texas and California as hotspots, with New York state also in the top ten.
There is of another element to tiny living that goes beyond the environment. Downsizing your living can also mean downsizing your costs. In Portland, there’s a tiny village called Simply Home where residents pay as little as $350 a month to live. Their whole neighborhood carries the combined footprint of a single, ‘regular-sized’ house. Many dedicated companies are now springing up creating custom-designed tiny homes on demand. It only costs around $20,000 to build a tiny home and join the tiny-living movement. For the number one place to start you should once again head to California (although be warned – that is the place with the most expensive taxes.)
The best states for #offgrid living
How do you measure the popularity of off-grid living in America using social media or technology? It’s a good question! The answer is to look to those approaching a more casual off-grid life. Perhaps they just want to get away from it all from time to time, live too remotely to connect to the main power grid, or are just self-promoting a way of life for the Instagram generation.
A quick browse of #offgrid tagged photos would suggest as much. With a proliferation of egg-baskets, bushcraft knives, off-road vehicles, and ornate water filtration systems – often accompanied by beautiful, sun-dappled people living their best lives (on Instagram at least!)
It’s not all soft filters and sunshine though. Living without modern amenities certainly isn’t for everyone. From tiny bugs to wild animals to isolation to no TV or internet, it can be exhausting and challenging. But those who practise it describe the peace, tranquility and enormous sense of self-worth it can also engender. And for the third time, the state of choice for Instagramming off-gridders in America is California. And if you’re interested but not quite ready to go the whole hog, you could always try an off-grid holiday first – there are plenty to choose from, just check Airbnb!
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