Few people in this world have the courage to leave the trodden course to try a different way of living. It can be a tough proposition, indeed, causing you to feel insecure. But if youâ€™ve managed to fight your insecurities and finally decided to join this small but growing clan of people, youâ€™d have to begin from the start. That is to say, youâ€™d have to unlearn all youâ€™ve been taught all these years about living in society and learn a whole lot of new things related to living on your own, without the societal support youâ€™ve gotten used to. And that, mind you, can be quite difficult, requiring a whole lot of courage.
No, youâ€™re not expected to go off into the wild to live like an animal, but youâ€™re definitely going to have to get pretty much off the beaten path to living as youâ€™ve never done before. Itâ€™s like going on a permanent vacation, but before you start getting any fancy, romantic ideas, itâ€™s not as easy as that. Nor, incidentally, is it tantamount to living like a hermit. You can think of it as a combination of both these situations, giving you the best of both worlds.
Attractive as it may sound, however, going away to live off the grid requires a certain amount of preparation and knowledge which youâ€™re not likely to get from traditional sources. Here are the top 10 things to know when you live off the grid, on your own.
Understand what it entails
Now that, naturally, is the first step to taking the plunge. Before you set out to act upon your plan to go off the grid, youâ€™d do well to understand what it really means and would involve. Itâ€™s basically about living with nature, without depending on any of the usual support systems such as the government or society and the related paraphernalia. It involves being truly independent, without having to work for a living and making do with whatever resources are naturally available to you. Or even if youâ€™ve got to earn a living, you do it in natural ways, without having to spend the day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. reporting to someone else. From a literal perspective, the term comes from living off the government-run power grid that provides electricity.
Give up your job
That, of course, is a natural corollary of the above. As mentioned above, if youâ€™re going to be totally independent of the government and the various public systems and services it provides, youâ€™d have to stop doing a regular job. So no more the mundane routine of the 5-day a week job till you retire. Instead, you do your own stuff, the way you want to, and at your own pace because youâ€™re no longer accountable to anyone other than yourself.
Save enough money
But before you decide to give up your well-paying job, remember to save enough money to see you through the initial period of getting into a new way of living. Thatâ€™s the time youâ€™d definitely need some money to get things in place before completely moving into your new lifestyle. Youâ€™ll need some basic stuff to start with, and also some time learning to fulfill your own needs, without external help.
Sell any old stuff
Before moving into your new place of living, make a list of all the extra things youâ€™ve been hoarding all these years, be it furniture or kitchenware, and sell it off. Not only will that give you some extra money, it will reduce the burden youâ€™ll be carrying while getting off the grid.
Build your own house
Once you step off the grid, the next step is to build your own house, literally and figuratively. You need to virtually construct a house from the scratch, and make it totally independent of all public services like water, food, clothes, electricity and even gas. That means youâ€™ve to ensure your own regular sources of these things, which would necessitate a lot of hard work, and may even take years to set up.
Make sufficient money for emergencies
While you may like to be totally independent while living off the grid, you may still occasionally need to take recourse to external help, particularly in an emergency. Maybe you fall seriously ill, or someone in your family does. In such a case, the natural health treatments youâ€™ve adopted while living alone may not necessarily work and you may need to avail yourself of hospital services. So you need to build an emergency kitty so that you can avoid taking financial help from others in such a situation.
Barter where possible
Though itâ€™s a good idea to earn some money now and then, one way of becoming truly independent, yet complete, in terms of the basic necessities of life is to opt for a barter system with others living like you.
Avoid any kind of wastage
Since living off the grid virtually means living off nature, and natural resources, which we all know are limited, itâ€™s important to avoid any kind of wastage when youâ€™re living in the wild. So whether itâ€™s food or money, water or fuel, excessive use and wastage is a big no-no.
Mind you, living off the grid just doesnâ€™t mean that you should give up all your responsibilities, especially to your family. You still need to be responsible for their needs and welfare, and itâ€™s not something you can wriggle out of simply because youâ€™ve decided to move out of the main circuit of living.
Learn a new skill
It could be gardening, growing your own vegetables, doing some skilled construction work. Any or all of these would help keep you busy, and also work as an alternative source of living while being off the grid.