Throughout the last few decades, there has been a trend of living off of the land that comes and goes. During the 1960s the hippie movement was very big on dropping out of society and going off grid in communes. The trend is coming back again in a big way but not so much for commune living but as a way to be self sustainable.
With the pandemic showing how fragile supply chains are, a lot of people realize that they should try to be less dependent on the grid. The failure of the grid in Texas during the frigid temperatures was a big wake up call to many that it is much better to produce your own energy as well.
There is a huge advantage to going off grid these days as it has never been easier to learn the ins and outs as well as having many of the same comforts we are used to. In this article, we will go over the reasons that off grid living has gotten popular as well as what you need to know.
Solar power improvements
Back just a few decades ago, going off grid meant having no electricity. It meant having to read by candlelight and doing everything by hand. These days you can go off grid and still have a TV and internet. This is thanks to massive improvements in solar panels and the technology behind it.
As long as you have a place that has some direct sun for at least part of the day you will be able to produce enough electricity for most needs. The panels are now so good that even somewhat cloudy days will give you enough energy.
Batteries are also better than ever. Lithium ion batteries are able to be stacked up and save a lot of power to get through the times when the sun isn’t shining much. These batteries can power a house with a washing machine, TV, computers and other devices for up to a few days if there is no sun at all.
There are also solar water heaters that provide almost boiling hot water for showers and domestic needs without using any power at all. It is just heated from the sun and pumps itself due to the pressure in the pipes.
Downsizing is in
When the suburbs started flourishing in the years after World War 2, they seemed like the ideal living system. These days, it is apparent that it is a very poor way to structure a society as it promotes a lot of wasted resources and low quality of life. Suburbs means commuting for hours to work, being stuck in the car even for simple errands and heating and cooling a big house.
This way of life is being turned on its head as families start downsizing by getting rid of a lot of stuff and rejecting the wasteful consumer culture attached to it. The ability to live off grid without giving up too many creature comforts allows people to drop out to the level they are comfortable with.
Often, people still want to get to work, have electricity and hot water and live a normal life. What they don’t want is to be dependent on complex supply chains and join the consumer rat race that promotes mindless spending. They prefer to grow their own vegetables and fruit and raise chickens for eggs and meat to not be part of a system that uses too many resources to maintain.
Having less clutter is better for mental health. Living in a house that is the right size and doesn’t have a lot of needless stuff is conducive to a more settled and calm mind.
It is much healthier
The health benefits don’t stop with a clearer mind due to less clutter. The entire lifestyle promotes much better health overall from mental to physical.
Living off grid is a much more physical lifestyle. It is not a sedentary lifestyle at all since it is up to you to provide most of what you need. For instance, many people off grid are looking not just to detach from the energy grid, but also the food system, the car grid or the supply chain.
This means that they are generally going to be looking to commute or do a lot of their daily travel by using a bike. This burns calories and keeps your muscles fit. There is no exercise that burns more calories than chopping wood. Getting ready for winter is a great way to stay in shape.
Growing a garden and raising chickens and other farm animals takes work. It involves getting up early to feed the animals and maintaining a garden is physical as well. Not only are you more physically fit when you grow a garden, but you are also eating in a much healthier way. Fresh fruits and vegetables have far more vitamins and nutrients than those that were picked months ago and shipped halfway across the world.
It’s still comfortable
Not many people are looking to go to the bathroom in an outhouse and cook over a wood fire these days. With so many modern conveniences available to the off grid enthusiast, there is hardly any sacrifice required to live this way. Keeping a house warm is very easy by using wood fireplaces and stoves. And natural building material is a good insulator so it stays warm.
In the summer, there are plenty of passive cooling techniques to keep the house comfortable like using trees for shade and building the house in a way that promotes cross breezes.
The idea is not to go without. The idea is to reduce your carbon footprint and be more self reliant. There are not many people who forgo modern comforts that go for roughing it off grid. Instead, you often find people that are just tired of living hand to mouth and want more control over their lives.