14 May 2012

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Getting off the grid

A minimalist lifestyle is the most effective and easy way to free yourself of debt and the trap of material possession, but people have different strategies to live lives that are less dependent on materialism. One lifestyle is referred to as getting off the grid. This means adopting a lifestyle where you are not in contact with society and you are self-sustaining when it comes to three major factors: waste disposal, electricity and water.

The “grid” refers to the way in which our houses are usually set up: on a power grid where we (who can afford it) receive water and electricity without a second thought of where it comes from. From above, suburbia also looks like a grid and many people feel that this lifestyle that is separated from nature and contributes to the detriment of the ecology is not for them. The simple truth is that living on the grid is not contributing to a sustainable future for the planet as waste disposal, generating power (if done with fossil fuels, like most power is generated at the moment) and food production are the major contributors to environmental destruction.

Of course, people have very different reasons for deciding that they want to live such a lifestyle and there are just as many ways to go about it. On off-grid.net one can find information about all the difference aspects of off-grid living. It also allows for people to connect with each other so they don’t have to go at it alone. Anyone who has seen Into the Wild and other movies where people take themselves away from the hustle and bustle in favour of nature will realize that there are dangers to going at it alone.

Some who live off the grid don’t separate themselves from society as much as someone who decides to travel to Alaska, for example. It simply means living in such a way that you are not dependent on the water, electricity, waste disposal and housing of suburban society. Some even stay in mobile homes, which as you don’t have to buy your own land and you can simply pick up and move in a heartbeat, but those who settle with a home can have other advantages such as growing their own food, settling into one place, sharing their lives with animals and living more comfortably as they are pretty much set once they have organized ways to tend to their needs.

Some will save to start their lives off the grid and others sell all their possessions they will no longer be needing off the grid to start over. Living off the grid is often associated with frugal living as people either have simpler jobs, jobs they can do over the internet or only work on improving their surroundings and making the most of what they have. There is no drive for better material possessions as few people will see your house and the most important things would be to have it sturdy and functioning. When you have to create your own power and water sources you are also far less likely to waste power on things like a TV and other gadgets and will save it for cooking, hot water and lights.

Image of a van promoting off-grid living, by axmai
People find that this way of life gets them in touch with what really matters: their families, enjoying their time and working towards a better future instead of contributing to the destruction. Some have found a simpler yet more purpose-driven life living close to nature and not spending hours every day in a work environment that they hate to come home to a house that does not satisfy their need for relaxation and the things that are truly important (and aren’t “things” at all). 

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