Media and literature can sometimes romanticize living off the grid, with perfect-looking raised garden beds, a healthy coop of chickens, and fruits ripe for picking. These enticing images are enough to persuade someone to pack up their life and move away from the city.
There are many reasons this lifestyle may be tempting for most, such as wanting to escape the continuously rising cost of living, getting closer to nature, wanting better health, or simply the empowerment that comes with establishing a self-sufficient home. All of these are reasonable; however, the reality is, that this type of living takes a lot of research, a great deal of effort, and countless hours of experimentation.
This alternative lifestyle isn’t for everyone. But if you feel it might suit you, here are six things to know about off-grid living.
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1. Life Begins With Water
Before living off the grid, you must first consider accessibility to a steady water supply. Remember why early civilizations typically blossomed near bodies of water—because it’s essential for drinking, growing plants, and caring for animals. Having a source of steady drinkable water is necessary to ensure your survival.
You can typically find a water source by living close to a body of water, digging up a well, or harvesting rainwater. However, you should note that it’s not enough that you can source water. It’s also essential to set up a water filtration and storage system. The recommended minimum volume of water in an off-grid home is 400 gallons. Hence, look for water storage suppliers who can offer water tank options from 450 to 5000 litres to be able to secure sufficient water supply, depending on the available space in your off-grid home.
2. Get To Know The Lay Of The Land
Another thing you have to know about the off-grid lifestyle is how vital it is for one to know the lay of the land. Survey your chosen area and get to know its strengths, vulnerabilities, and what threats to expect. Learning about these things is essential because living off the grid means capitalizing on what the land can offer you, depending on yourself to ward off threats, and looking for work-arounds to address the vulnerabilities of your chosen spot.
Moreover, knowing the land like the back of your hand can help you design your home according to the layout of your land, hence creating a structurally sound shelter that’s safe and secure.
3. Pick Up Skills To Feed Yourself
Like water, food is one of the main concerns you’d need to resolve when living off the grid. Although one can survive without food for a long time, it’s not healthy to maintain that kind of lifestyle. That said, living this self-sufficient lifestyle entails picking up skills like foraging, hunting, gardening, fishing, farming, land management, and composting to survive and thrive.
4. Electricity Is Still Needed
Another thing you’d have to prepare before uprooting your life and living away from the city is a power source. Since you’ll either be partially or totally disconnected from the national power grid, you’d have to think of ways to have a power supply. Having access to electricity means you can keep on using devices like two-way radios, cellphones, and laptops—gadgets that can help you work and communicate with others.
Depending on where you live, various possible power sources include solar panels, hydropower, wind turbines, burning wood, and the like. Sustainable living doesn’t have to be whittled down to the barest minimum. You can still enjoy modern tools and use these to help you keep in touch with others.
5. Have Emergency Supplies Ready
Everything has trade-offs, including the decision to live away from the city. Emergencies can happen, and when they do, you have to know how to resolve them on your own. Thus, another critical thing you need in your off-grid home is an extensive emergency kit that’s easily accessible.
A good emergency kit must include extensive first aid kits, backup prescriptions, water, food, emergency communication devices, LED flashlights, warm clothes, and the like. Self-sufficiency entails taking care of yourself and your pets should accidents happen.
6. Communities For Off-Grid People Exist
Living away from the city may make you feel disconnected from society. Loneliness can occur after a while, especially if you don’t have anyone else with you. But you should know that there are communities one can join while living off the grid.
Whether you want to join these off-grid communities and live within their circle or simply wish to socialize every now and then, remember that the lifestyle you choose doesn’t automatically mean you need to isolate yourself from the world. Joining or socializing with these communities can fulfill the need to be with other people, help you get through emergencies, or give you opportunities to learn more about homesteading to be more self-sufficient.
Living off the grid isn’t for everyone. Partial or total disconnection from the national energy grid and other established institutions means letting go of all the conveniences you may have gotten used to. So, if you feel like this lifestyle speaks to you, make sure you’re fully prepared to take on any challenge along the way and enjoy the freedom this path brings.