We hear the phrase “off the grid” a lot these days. If you ask five different people what that means you’re likely to get five different answers. The purpose of this article is to supply the most common definition of going “off the grid,” and address the bigger question: Is it really possible to live off the grid entirely?
To live off the grid means to completely remove yourself from all power and utility support provided by the government. Let’s be clear–that doesn’t mean packing the kids into an RV with more square footage than most New York City apartments and heading out to the local state park for a weekend, slathering yourself in bug spray and cooking prime cut rib eyes on the stainless steel grill you drug along, while the kids stay glued to their iPads and don’t miss a beat on Facebook.
We’re talking about long term, total self-sustention here. Just a few of the things that indicate a true off-the-grid lifestyle are:
- Disconnecting from the electronic and communication grid completely
- Maintaining a self-sufficient water supply
- Self-contained waste and sewage disposal
- Heating and cooling solutions
- Working with local zoning laws and various other potential legal concerns
So, is it possible to live completely off the grid?
Of course it is. Humans did it for almost 200,000 years without going extinct. Advances in technology are wonderful, and for the most part have made our modern lives far easier and more comfortable. But what we don’t realize when we buy that new computer, smartphone or 4K television is that we also purchase an invisible tether. We become so chained and dependent on tech, (which usually runs on government provide power) that we lose our primitive instincts to survive and thrive using only the resources that our planet provides naturally.
If you’re reading this article, though, I’m guessing the question that’s really going through your mind right now is “can I actually live off the grid?” I believe you could, but why not find out for yourself?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not suggesting you go all Jeremiah Johnson right off the bat and buy a thousand acres out west, build a log cabin by hand, make your own clothes, smoke your own meat and pan for gold.
Start small. Stay off of social media for 24 hours (it’s harder than you think!). Next, try not to use any power for a whole weekend. Make it an adventure for the family! Read a book (the next episode of the Walking Dead will still be there when you get back). Try to cook all weekend using only natural fire or propane.
Humans have an uncanny knack for making the most of any situation, and severing oneself from the comfort of government provided resources isn’t the worst thing in the world. It can actually be a great way to save money, develop useful skills and discover things about yourself you never knew.
Go ahead, flip the switch and give it a try.