Is living off-grid the right choice for you?

Page Ollice head shotHi this is Nick Rosen, Off-Grid Editor. I am pleased to introduce Page Ollice who will be writing for us regularly about the process of starting to go off-grid. Please let Page know what topics you want him to cover and thanks for reading.

Hey Everyone. I’m happy to be here writing for Off-Grid.net. It is a pretty awesome website and helped me out a lot when I was juggling the idea of moving off-grid and providing for myself. So when Nick asked if I would write a quick How-To guide for people who wanted to join the Off-Grid Movement, naturally, I was excited to begin.

The first and most important thing to realize about moving is that really Off-Grid living isn’t for everyone. I strongly urge you to close your eyes and think to yourself if you are really cut out for the hardships of Independent Living. To help you on this journey of self-reflection, I have bulleted out some questions to ask yourself before you make the leap out into the wild.

  • Would I be willing to kill and eat my family members to survive?

I’m just kidding. Don’t do that. That’s not nice. Besides, if you eat the little ones, who will weed your garden? Completely fails the cost-benefit analysis.

  • Do I value my time?

This may seem like an odd question for someone daring to live out in the wilderness and eat only berries and the elk she has tracked for a month before killing it with her bare hands, but indeed it is important. When you live off-grid, depending on your finances, you could quit your job (or work less) and find you have infinitely more free time than you did while plugged in. You won’t drive to and from work every day. You won’t be sitting at a computer for hours on end working for someone else. You might not even need to go grocery shopping if you treat your dirt right. A lot of people don’t consider that once they move off-grid, their time is their own and no one else will be there to tell them how to spend it. It won’t be all fun and games by any means. But you will now be working your own schedule, for your own benefit. What could be more rewarding than that? (And if you want to learn how to garden the lazy-man’s way efficiently, then stay tuned for that upcoming post.)

  • What will my friends think if they find out?

This is an important question for some people and not-so-important to others. The deep philosophical answer would be that they should want you to be happy and if they don’t then they’re not really your friends. The hyper-logical answer is that it shouldn’t matter what they think. The realistic answer: they’ll probably be inspired if not a little bit jealous of your determination, your freedom, and your positive energy that come with big life changes like the decision to live a healthier, happier lifestyle.

  • Do I have to quit my job?

No. You can live off-grid and not go anywhere, technically. Get a composting toilet, some solar panels, and a rainwater collection system, and BAM. You are off-grid (kind-of). The cheaper way is to get a tent and find a wide open spot, put up the tent and start looking for a food source. The important thing is to realize there are many different versions of off-grid living and you just have to do what you are capable of and comfortable doing.

  • What will my employer think if I do quit my job?

Your employer is a business. That means they want to make money. If you quit your job to be your own boss and live freely, I’m sorry to say, you will be replaced. Your supervisor will find another cog who can do the exact same job you are presently doing, sitting in the same chair, at the same desk. You will be out living your life with freedom and happiness pouring from your fingertips all over everything you touch and some other sap will be sucked into working your Monday to Friday 9-5 with the occasional weekend or night shift. I’m sorry. If you can’t handle that fact, then living Off-Grid might not be for you.

  • How will I afford it?

This one is a trickier one so I will be doing an entire post just on saving/budgeting. Be on the look-out for that one.

  • What will I do with all the money I save?

This is another of life’s big dilemmas. With all your energy costs, water costs, waste management costs, and food costs covered, what do you still have to pay for? What do you do with the rest? I will answer these questions with a question. Do you remember when you were younger and full of life and energy and you always wanted to go to that place and do that thing with those people? You always used to think about it and daydream? You told some of your closer friends about it but never got around to it? That. That’s what you are going to do. And send me a postcard or a picture when you do. I’ll be waiting for it. I’ll put it up on my wall of success stories.

  • Do I know what I’m doing?

Probably not. Maybe. Possibly. But isn’t that the beauty of it? Discovery. Venturing off into the unknown with nothing but the entire consciousness of the human race at your fingertips with just a touch of a button…. Yep. Internet. Plus you have me. What could possibly go wrong? A little secret: no one knows what they’re doing. Those of us who seem to have it together are just winging it as we go. We might be better actors. Who knows?

  • What would I do if ____ happens?

What would you do if ____ happens right now? Good. Probably something very similar to that then. Where you live will have very little effect on most happenstances. And the rest, well we all deal with life as it comes anyway.

  • Where would I even begin?

I’m glad you asked yourself this. (Even if it did take some prodding.) That’s where I come in. I will walk you through the baby steps it takes to reaching your own off-grid dreams. If you have anything specific you would like me to cover, please leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to touch on all of them over the course of this blog.

So in short. People who should NOT move off-grid:

  • People who want to eat their children.
  • Anyone who likes working for someone else and having their time usage dictated by their employer.
  • People who like spending extra money on utilities when Nature produces them for free.
  • Anyone who hates freedom.
  • People who hate the environment.
  • Anyone who doesn’t like reading my blog.

For everyone else, switching to the off-grid lifestyle is a positive decision that will lead to healthier, happier, and more rewarding experiences down the line. You don’t have to rush out and do everything either. Pick one thing at a time and work towards the self-reliant lifestyle that fits your own needs. Whether it’s as simple as installing a composting toilet, planting a backyard garden, or as big as buying acreage in the desert and building a fully autonomous home with nothing but cacti and lizard pelts, you do what you are comfortable and all of it will take time. I’m here to show you the way.

One Response

  1. As you mentioned, going off the grid can mean many things. We purchased a float cabin in 2001 as a recreational spot that has now turned into our retirement home. We live there about 75% of the year. It is off the grid and about 30 minutes by boat from the marina, water access only. Starting there on vacations helped us ease into this lifestyle. We also had a great mentor to help us learn the skills we need. He’s still there to help when we need it fourteen years later. Both my husband and myself grew up in the big city and didn’t have the opportunity to learn many of the maintenance and other skills that come in handy away from town. Our location is near other cabins, but they are used mostly in the summer months. In the dead of winter it’s mostly us and the logging boats that pass by heading up and down the lake early and late. We wouldn’t trade it for anything now. I’ll be watching for your future posts. – Margy

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