Imagine living a simple life among the trees and wildlife of a beautiful forest. Every day is a chance to eat freshly harvested food, with not a single neighbor in sight. Best of all: there are no monthly bills to pay. Many have successfully opted for this lifestyle by living off the grid.
What are the benefits of living off the grid?
Committing to an off grid lifestyle is a big decision, and it’s worth doing plenty of research first. However, the benefits are plenty.
- It’s eco-friendly. The off-grid lifestyle is a huge help to the environment. Tiny, off-grid homes consume much less energy than urban homes. Many times their smaller size lends itself to leading a minimalist lifestyle, using fewer resources in general. One of the resources you will no longer have to rely on is fossil fuels. No more coal, natural gas, and petroleum means a major reduction of your overall carbon footprint. Mother Nature will thank you.
- You will save money. The off-grid lifestyle is also incredibly economical. After the initial investment in land and housing, your monthly costs will drop to little or none. The US Census Bureau reports the average price of a new home in the US has been rising consistently since the 1970’s. The cost of living off the grid is stable, with few surprises.
- You can grow your own food. Knowing where your food came from is so valuable today. In urban grocery stores, it is nearly impossible to tell the quality of your food. Homesteading and raising your own crops and livestock will ensure you fresh, healthy, and quality food every time.
- Self-sufficiency. You can rest easy knowing you are fully independent from the state. You will not be affected by any problems with food, water, or the electrical grid. Many folks value this security.
- Simplicity. You will be living a simpler, more peaceful life. The typical hustle and bustle of the city will be far away. You can take the time to connect with yourself, with nature, and with your loved ones.
How do I know if living off the grid is right for me?
Thanks to its increasing popularity, getting a taste of off-grid living is easy. Travel sites like Airbnb offer plenty of homestead rentals.
Rentals are great for seeing what off the grid living can be like. You can choose to rough it out in an isolated cabin, or try out a high-tech, solar panel-clad desert home. Meet the off-grid lifestyle where you are comfortable.
Where do I start?
To begin living off the grid, there are six main steps to get your homestead up and running. These steps are not easy or quick, but remember you will reap the rewards for years to come after.
1. Decide where to live. Ideally, you want to find a large plot of land, at least a couple of acres, with a running water source. Consider the climate and what types of plants you will be able to grow.
2. Choose your living space. This depends on who you will be living with. Tiny homes are ideal for off the grid living because they require less energy and resources.
Many people construct their own dry cabins and yurts, but purchasing a pre-built tiny home is also popular. And no worries if you need more space, constructing a larger homestead is definitely doable!
3. Harvest water. Your new home will need a water source and a way for the water to reach your house. The best solution is to drill a well. Check state drilling records or consult a neighbor about their experiences drilling in the area. In rainy climates, you can also harvest rainwater in large containers.
4. Harness electricity. There are a couple of options for getting power to your home, depending on local conditions. If you are in an area with consistently high wind speeds, wind energy is a good option. A 900-watt turbine will produce enough energy for a small cabin. Those near water can opt for micro-hydro electricity, which harnesses energy from running water to power homes. Solar panels are also a good go-to, especially for smaller homes.
5. Plan waste disposal. To reduce your waste, start a composting pile. This will come in handy when fertilizing your garden. You will also need a septic system or outhouse.
6. Start a small farm. Growing your own food is one of the most exciting aspects of living off the grid. Some key crops to start with are potatoes, corn, beans, and squash. Chickens are an easy livestock to raise that will produce eggs and, well, chicken.
While this lifestyle is not easy or for everyone, living off the grid can provide untold benefits to those who are brave enough to try it. Check out the infographic below for more quick facts about off the grid living!
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