Living off the grid is a trendy idea these days. From a way to save money to just wanting to adopt a simpler lifestyle, the idea of leaving it all behind is very appealing.
But before entering this new way of life, there are some challenges to consider! If you’re considering making this change, I encourage you to read up on these barriers and learn how to overcome them in life off the grid!
Living off the grid: The seven toughest challenges and how to overcome them
If you’ve ever read the madness about living off the land and escaping modern life, you’ve probably come across the concept of living off the grid. Over 200,000 Americans have unplugged and opted to live more sustainably with an off-grid lifestyle.
Living off-grid can be a steep learning curve, so here are seven of the most difficult challenges of living off-grid and how to overcome them.
Find the Right Location:
Location isn’t just a top priority for city dwellers; it’s also essential for off-grid people. Many suburbs won’t allow you to live in a house without utilities, so you’ll need to find enough rural land to avoid these legal restrictions.
Consider how much land you need to support your lifestyle. If you plan to raise livestock, you will need enough land to store their feed, shelter them and let them graze. You also need access to a reliable water source and enough space to set up your garden and install a waste management system.
While you can live utterly off-grid without power having power does make living off-grid a little easier.
Most off-grid people choose a solar system because it is generally considered the best long-term investment. However, many alternative energy options are available depending on your budget, location, and energy needs. Check your current electricity bill to see how much energy you’re consuming, And use it as a benchmark for the type of energy setup you need.
Once you’ve built your power source, you may consume more energy than you have available. To help conserve energy, run only one device at a time and try to do so during the day to get the most out of the solar energy. Use wood stoves to heat and use gas to heat Stove instead of electricity.
Food storage and production
Producing your food is essential when living off-grid. Build a kitchen garden on your property that you can slowly expand so your production exceeds your needs and generates additional income to offset the homestead cost.
One of the biggest challenges at first may be finding enough variety to balance your diet. Not all homesteaders can raise livestock for the first few years, but with careful planning, you can produce enough vegetables that you can trade for things you can’t provide yourself.
Learning to cook and preserve food from scratch is also an essential homesteading skill you must learn to ensure you have enough food during the off-season when your garden is less productive.
Hunting is another skill that can prove helpful to those who live off the grid, like learning to use a tactical knife for a game of butchery.
A close and reliable water source is critical. Without water, there is no harvest, no livestock, and nothing to keep you alive. Of course, land on significant freshwater sources can be challenging to obtain, so most off-grid homesteads are managed by drilling holes and using hand pumps to Pump water as needed.
Tap water is one of the things newbies miss the most, but if you have a generator, you can get a limited amount of tap water as long as you don’t mind spending money on diesel.
A great way to recycle your water and ensure you have enough is to set up a grey water system that uses wastewater from your kitchen and laundry to irrigate your garden and flush toilets – if you don’t use automatic composting toilets.
The last thing you might want to consider about water is whether you have the right to use the water on your land. You can usually use your property for personal consumption if your property has a water source. However, consult a lawyer first if you need water for livestock or crops. Buy your land to ensure you have the legal right to use it.
The work you’ll put into your off-grid life is equivalent to multiple full-time jobs requiring specialized time management skills to ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible. Procrastination has no place in off-grid living; seeds need to be planted on time, Animals have to be fed and milked, and Shelters and fences need to be regularly arranged to keep out predators. Excess harvests need to be preserved for the colder months.
Finding enough time in the day means you have to be a morning person. To get the most out of your homestead, you must plan consistently for months (and sometimes years). Keep detailed records of weather conditions, harvests, and livestock birth rates for reference when planning.
A simpler life doesn’t necessarily mean a cheaper life. Off-grid living is often romanticized, and newcomers can forget the significant up-front investment and ongoing costs of raising livestock and growing crops.
Setting up the power supply is usually the highest cost you will incur. Depending on your land home’s size and energy needs, you may need 15 to 30 large solar panels to provide enough power to run your home and generators for backup power. This is okay to cost you tens of thousands of dollars.
If you can’t make a significant investment, small steps are the key to building an off-grid lifestyle while spreading the cost. Start growing and cooking food, reduce your carbon footprint through waste-free policies, and pay more attention to energy consumption. Taking small steps before committing to an utterly off-grid lifestyle can help you save money for your setup and help you adjust to an off-grid mindset.
The last and most overlooked challenge you may face is the lack of human interaction. Living off-grid may be a way to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, but homesteading is easier when you have a group of like-minded people sharing the workload. Off-grid life attracts interesting people to tight-knit small communities.
If you are not already part of the off-grid living community, there are many groups you can join online, and anyone interested in off-grid living is welcome. This is a great place to start finding people in your area with whom you can exchange products or services for something you can’t produce yourself. An experienced off-grid person can advise you on planting and harvest times, your local veterinarian for your livestock, and any off-grid legal issues you may have.
Complicated Challenges with a Great Reward
Living off-grid can be very rewarding but can be a difficult transition for newbies. By starting your research small and making minor changes to sustainability today, you can overcome many of the biggest challenges of living off-grid.