The big question is: How far off-the-grid do you want to go when exploring a simpler life? As I outline in my best-selling book “Going Off The Grid” living without the convenience of public utilities has great rewards, but also many challenges, and I have found most people don’t want to go to this extreme. Living off-the-grid also means different things to different people. There is no official definition of the term, and many variations of off-grid living prevail. Here are three different ways you can enjoy the off-the-grid lifestyle:
Living “off-the-grid”, as I define it, means creating a home that is autonomous and does not rely on public utility connections, such as electricity, water, waste management, sewers, gas lines, and telecommunication and internet services delivered via cables. Most off-grid homes are in rural areas, but not all of them. As you will discover in this book, living off-the-grid doesn’t mean living like a caveman or Tibetan monk. You can be off-the-grid and still have a phone, internet connection, modern toilet and shower, and appliances. You can still live in a comfortable, warm, up-to-date home. It just takes the proper planning. In other words, living off-the-grid is more about living away from the clutter, noise, and the drama of “The Grid”.
Living “semi-off-the-grid”, means the use of one or several public utilities, but not all of them. Some rural homes are semi-off-the-grid out of necessity. For example, many houses in remote locations have public electrical services but also a self-contained (off-grid) well and/or septic system. This is the type of living I experienced while growing up. A semi-off-the-grid approach works well for people who need a guaranteed utility service to survive, such as someone using medical devices that require a reliable source of electricity but who still want to be as independent of regular utility services as possible.
Living “grid-tied” but more rural, is the sweet spot that many people are looking for today. This type of lifestyle means you have access and are utilizing all the comforts of the grid, but live outside the city, usually on a larger piece of land than the typical home in a subdivision. Most people living this lifestyle may also be using off-grid systems such as; water catchment, solar panels, and maybe even a small wind turbine. The rules are more relaxed when it comes to what is allowed on your property, so the above are options people want when looking to make this move outside of typical city life.
Whether your goal is to go completely or partially off-the-grid, my books “Going Off The Grid” and “Living Off The Grid” will show you the way. I feel these books are a great resource for anyone who wants to transition to a modern and comfortable yet fully or partially off-the-grid lifestyle. I wrote them primarily for people who prefer to hire contractors to help them build, rather than those who want to eke out an existence using only what the land provides. So, if you want to live autonomously but still enjoy modern creature comforts and telecommunications, these books will be an excellent resource and, I hope, help you avoid many costly and frustrating mistakes during your off-grid adventure.
And for those looking to take it up a notch, I created The Simple Life Online A to Z course on how to get started living off the grid today.