We all love to think about what it would be like to not have to depend on public service companies, making the grocery store a convenience and not a necessity by growing our own food and living a more self-reliant life in general.
All this sounds great, but what would it take to go completely off grid? And how hard would it actually be?
The truth is, most of the real work goes on behind the scenes and never makes it to the internet. You won’t find many videos of people pulling weeds (unless you’re looking for it) and you won’t find many videos of people cleaning up after their animals…The dirty work.
With that being said, here’s the good, the bad and the ugly about what it would take to go completely off grid.
Keep in mind, I’m not talking about erasing your footprint and hiding from the alphabet agencies, I’m talking about living a more self-reliant lifestyle.
The Right Attitude
Regardless whether you decide to become a full scale homesteader, or make some changes to live a more self-reliant life, you need to go all in…or don’t go at all. This video from An American Homestead talks about what it takes to live off the grid.
If you go into a venture like this halfcocked, or on the fence, you might find that after you have taken all the steps to get there, it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. To be a successful homesteader you need to not only be willing to do the work, but actually enjoy it.
When we enjoy doing something nothing can stop us. When we enjoy doing something, the challenges that pop up along the way are just inconveniences. We all know that with the right attitude, anything is possible.
Willingness to Sacrifice
As a society we have become pretty dependent on our technology, but even out where I live some sacrifices have to be made…and were not off the grid yet. This doesn’t mean you have to give up the internet and your cell phone, but it does mean you might need to find an alternative.
Not only will we need to make sacrifices when it comes to modern conveniences, we might not have access to all the stores and shops that are 5 minutes away. This is not necessarily a bad thing because you would know what’s in your food, and there is less stress when you are not constantly connected to everyone.
Even if you can order something off the internet, you still might have to go to the post office to pick it up, believe it or not, there are some places FedEx won’t deliver to. As I said earlier, with the right attitude, this is just “something I have to do.”
Getting Your Hands Dirty
One part of homesteading or living off the grid that can be the most rewarding, and your biggest challenge at the same time, is the fact that you are responsible for everything. There are bound to be situations where you are going to have to bite the bullet and call in some backup, but for the most part you are responsible for your own success or failure.
Getting food in the refrigerator won’t be as easy as heading to the grocery store, it takes hard work all year long to make sure you have food, and even more hard work to make sure that food lasts throughout the winter.
Even though it will be hard work, the sense of satisfaction you get knowing that not only can you do it, you don’t need to depend on a 9 to 5 job or others for your survival.
Life Changing Family Commitment
If you have a family, it really doesn’t matter what you want to. If the entire family (mainly your spouse) is not on board with your plans, they could become resentful, creating unneeded headaches and problems down the line.
People get accustomed to a certain lifestyle, especially children, and they are naturally resistant to change and the unknown. This is why Lisa and I are going to wait until we are “empty nesters”. We don’t want to disrupt their learning routine, and cause any undue stress for them…or us.
Yes You Can…
For every 1 reason we have to do something, we can always think of 50 reasons why we shouldn’t. It’s easy to make excuses, but if you really want it, it can be done.
If you really enjoy doing something the challenges become “just part of the process” rather than hurdles that you can’t overcome. It’s human nature to resist change and think about everything that could go wrong, but with the right attitude and work ethic, living off the grid can be rewarding and not as impossible as you think.
Never a Debtor Be
Getting out of debt is probably the first step you will need to take. If you truly want to remove the ties that bind, this is a crucial step and applies whether you want to live off grid or not.
If you plan on living off the grid and becoming more self-reliant, a 9 to 5 job is probably not going to be in the equation. The less you have to pay to others, the more you have for your homestead plans.
Depending on your situation this could take a while, but it is very important. Not only will it free up extra money, it will reduce your stress because it’s one less bill you have to pay.
Everyone’s situation is different. Some people can’t wait to live out in the middle of nowhere, some people have no intention of doing so, and some people (like us) want to live close enough to the city that if they need something they can get it, but far enough away that they don’t have to deal with it if they don’t want to.
Take a realistic look at your situation and decide which one of these categories you fit into, because once you take the leap, it will be really hard to turn around.
What You Can Do Now…
Pace Yourself, there is no reason to go all out until you are sure this is what you want to do. Below are a few things you and your family can do right now (including getting out of debt) that will help you decide if you have the right attitude, work ethic and willingness to live off the grid.
Move Away From the City: As I said earlier, this is the first step in our off grid process, living away from the city give us the opportunity to work on some of these homesteading skills.
If your family or spouse is not completely on board, this also give you a best of both worlds scenario. Your spouse could still do what they want to do, and your kids will say they are bored out of their minds, but they’ll live.
Bug Out Location/Homestead: What we decided to do is buy a little piece of land, and work form the ground up. In the short term this will be our bug out location, but the plans are to build this property up to the point where we can live there.
You might not be able to get the “perfect bug out location”, up in the mountains with a river running through it, but you would be surprised at what you can find in your price range. Like the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
This is what Lisa and I did.
Sharpen Your Skills: Even if you live in an urban area you can still work on some of these homesteading skills. You might be able to raise chickens or rabbits, and growing your own food can be done just about everywhere.
I recently built a greenhouse, a chicken coop and have plans to raise rabbits in the near future. Any chance I get to learn a new skill, or do something myself I take it, because that’s what prepping is all about right? Learning to be more self-reliant.
Learn to Preserve Food: If you plan on living away from society, or staying away from the grocery store, you will need to store food to get through hard times. We all like to think about SHTF scenarios, but when your off grid, every winter is an SHTF scenario.
Learning how to can food, dehydrate food and store food is not only important on the homestead, it’s an important part of prepping regardless where you live.
Live Healthy, Work Hard: There’s a reason you never hear about homesteaders going to the gym, they don’t need to. Because of our automated, technological society, most people don’t get the exercise they used to.
Homesteaders basically work from sun up to sun down, and because they grow their own food they don’t need to take supplements or count their calories.
Is Living Off Grid Right for You?
Regardless of whether you get to live out your dreams of being a homesteader or not, just having the goal will help you become better prepared. This is why prepping, survivalisim and homesteading go hand in hand, the process itself teaches you how to be more self-reliant.