If you think you’re ready to go off grid, you’re not! Sorry, I know this sounds discouraging but it’s not, I promise. Keep reading.
Some people will not like this first bit because it may seem “negative” to them. Living off the grid is not for everyone, and if you’re not ready to be COMPLETELY realistic about moving yourself and your family off grid, then in my honest, unfiltered, and unapologetic opinion, you don’t need to go off grid.
Living off grid is not a picnic or a day hike. It’s not a walk in the park, and it’s not something you do for fun to “try it out“. Remember, most people who make the move will be bringing their families, too. They need to be considerate of that fact, and their family needs to be completely on board with it, and know how this lifestyle will change their lives. It’s work.
If you’ve never lived on a farm or a ranch, or in a rural setting where you are dependent on your own work and efforts to survive and thrive, then you can’t possibly know what it’s like until you actually do it.
If you’re not prepared to grow your own food, build your own home, get up at the crack of dawn in the morning and WORK to build and maintain your homestead, you should not be going off grid.
I’m about to go off grid in the coming months. Am I ready? “Not quite.” Can I do it?
Have you ever lived off grid?
Fortunately, I’ve lived “off grid” before for years with no electricity, no running water, and barely any food. Had to chop firewood to stoke the fireplace just to stay warm, curled up in blankets and sleeping bags at night, and had no luxuries. We literally lit the house with oil lamps and candles.
I’ve worked on a farm. I’ve gotten up at the crack of dawn every day. Each morning I had to feed the animals before the sun ever came up in the dead of winter. We had to make sure the birds were warm, the horses were in their stables, that they had access to fresh water, had to break through the ice in their water troughs so they could drink.
I’ve had to chop firewood in the snow to stoke the fire and keep warm. And I’ve worked many a day from sunup to sundown.
To go off grid, you will likely need to produce your own shelter, water, food, heat, and electricity.
You’ll have to be able to handle the waste legally and efficiently. What happens to the waste when you flush the toilet? Where does it go? Will you have a composting toilet, outhouse, porta-potty, or a regular septic system?
Can you clean and dress a chicken, or butcher a cow or pig? Do you know how to skin a deer or rabbit? Are you a vegan?
Are you content with living on the outskirts of town? How about your wife or husband? What about your children? Where will they go to school? How far will you have to travel to get them to and from? How much fuel will driving them into town each day take? Will you homeschool your children?
Do you know how to can and preserve food? Where will you store your food? How much food will you have in reserve?
How will you feed your livestock? Have you planned for feeding your livestock through the winter? How much food does a cow eat each day?
Are you prepared to grow and harvest your own food? How much food is enough? How much food will it take to feed your family all year/each day?
Where is your water source? Will you store water for emergencies? How much water is enough?
In case of a medical emergency do you know how far away the nearest hospital is?
Will you have internet, cable, or cell service? How will you communicate with the “outside world”?
Do you have the tools you’ll need? How many people will be living in your home?
Go off grid: be prepared and work hard
I have been planning this move for years and I can either continue planning, or I can just do it. It’s been all I’ve done for 3 years or more. I’ve done my homework, and I am very methodical in my planning to the point I’m beginning to think I might have OCD.
I try to think of every aspect of living off the grid, and plan for it in a way that will allow me to handle each obstacle with the least amount of headache, money, energy, or time. Have I planned for everything? Probably not. But because I’ve planned for so long, and I’m so meticulous, I think I’m more prepared than most.
The point is, it’s hard work, and you must be patient. Take it slow, and make sure you’ve got everything worked out before you take the plunge into a lifestyle that is as hard as it is rewarding.
Make a list
A while back I started a list of supplies, equipment, tools, seeds, and livestock that I will need to make the move off grid. Having a list makes it easier to remember everything. There are literally hundreds of items small and large you will need for an off grid homestead.
While being prepared is the whole point of this article, it is possible to over-plan. Spending too much time planning becomes an excuse to never go off grid. Analysis Paralysis is what it’s called.
At some point, you will have to make the decision to just do it.
No one can plan for everything. The important thing is to make sure you have the basics covered.
There are only 3 things you need to survive:
That’s it. If you have all 3 of these things, you’re good. Now, is this “living”? No, it’s just surviving. But you can add to that to make life more pleasant and comfortable.
You either do it or you don’t
Sometimes you simply have to do it. I’m fairly sure I’m not “ready”, but I am prepared. I have planned, and I am excited to get started. Being ready and being prepared are two different things. Being ready is a mental state, and sometimes you can simply just never be ready no matter how hard you try.
Being prepared means you have done your due diligence to the best of your ability and you have a good idea of what to expect. Being prepared means you can make your move. Being prepared means you can do what needs to be done when the time comes to do it.
Getting back to our roots
For some folks going off grid is their dream lifestyle. Getting back to nature and living a simpler, debt-free, and sustainable life. It’s a simple fact of life driven by the urge to be free and to make our own way in life. It’s a primal urge, passed down through generations of our ancestors. The ancients knew. They knew how to live.
We have not forgotten, we just stopped doing it for a little while.
Living off the grid is rewarding & uplifting
Becoming self-reliant and being able to provide for your family is the most rewarding experience I can think of.
I know that when I sit back on the couch after a long day’s work to read to my daughter in front of the fire, in our hand-built warm and cozy little cabin, lit by solar power, that we’ll be happy. I’ll know she’s happy and I’ll be happy when at night she is safe and sound asleep in a warm bed with a full belly of healthy organically grown food, and a smile on her face that I have done my job as a father and a provider.
My family is the most important thing to me in my life, as is your family to you. You owe it to your family to prepare for the move, and then to do it.
The off grid lifestyle is deeply rewarding. It touches something inside us on a fundamental level and gives us a sense of accomplishment that one cannot put into words.