What Does it Mean to “Live Off the Grid?”

Via on Sep 24, 2013
Photo: Amanda Empey-Cooper on Pinterest.
Photo: Amanda Empey-Cooper on Pinterest.

“Living off the grid” is not that easy to do in regular old America, but it is possible, and very attractive.

At first you might think about just sleeping in your car and camping for a bit. I think it goes much deeper than that.

Living off the grid is an ultimate change in consciousness. It is the desire to only have what you need, not take from the land, and thrive in conditions that are about as raw as eating straight from your garden.

And, you have to tend a garden.

This whole idea of self-sufficiency in alignment with Mother Earth could have significant benefits besides saving you a great deal of money. It requires a willingness and compassion for plants, animals and all of life.

I have had friends in Hawaii who lived off the grid for a spell. It seems much more conducive to island living than conventional America. But, being on an island, another remote country or perhaps even some rural areas in the south, and living off the grid has become quite attractive to many eco-conscious individuals.

What is living off the grid?

The key is to totally unplug.

That alone is quite difficult for some, especially in this day and age. The Apple Store would completely freak out if the majority chose to live off the grid. Yet, crossing streets without gazing at a phone, driving without texting, and totally being present for each other would be a great place to start.

I’m not entirely there, but the simplicity of it seems so appealing. No technology, no “Grey’s Anatomy” (that’s a tough one), no downloading onto your iPod, no car, no A/C or heat, no electricity, no nothing.

I believe the payoff is a complete surrender to nature, silence, and serenity.

Can it be done in a healthful manner? I think so. It is also extremely mindful. It just needs planning and patience.
I had to inquire more closely on the meaning behind this idea of off-grid living, and why, more than ever, people are choosing that lifestyle.

I can attest to not having a T.V., not being wired for surround anything in my apartment, driving an environmentally-friendly car (whenever I’m not walking all over the place), rarely turning on my A/C or heat, which is quite a task at times in the middle of summer, and the dead of winter, or flushing the toilet without a substantial reason.

I guess that can equate to some pretty simple living.

Living off the grid requires you to basically live in a tree house or some other environmentally friendly structure. You build a place with materials straight from the earth, your toilet is the woods, you grow and eat your own food and you walk or ride a bike to all destinations.

You don’t own anything that plugs into a wall because you don’t really have walls or outlets and you look skinny, follow a vegan diet with great amounts of hemp products and still call your Mom once a week to say you are okay.

The people I know who live off the grid still follow everything related to the Grateful Dead. I don’t really have an actual vision of this, but I do know that eco-conscious organic living is a good place to start.

Being a minimalist is truly the essence of living off the grid.

To be able to downsize to only the bare necessities and the simplest form of living—that is quite admirable.

Every time I take a trip to Goodwill, get rid of chips and dairy from my diet, and subside on radio music for entertainment, that’s about as close to living off the grid as I can currently muster.

I enjoy visualizing and daydreaming about those who are in communes, nudist camps, retreat centers for healing—these people have lifestyles that truly cater to the “less is more” motto.

Our country could use a few more bazillion of these people. Then, our highways would feel less congested, the corporate structure would evolve into a quality workplace, everyone would engage in real-time conversation with eye-to-eye contact, and the environment wouldn’t be such an ongoing issue.

Grow your own food, eat only what you need to balance the movement in your day, walk as much as possible, ride a commuter bike for transportation, read more and if you have a wanderlust traveling spirit, allow it to take you to places that nourish your easy lifestyle.

Oh, and you might want to purchase a calling card to keep family informed that you are quite okay, happy, content, and looking forward to the upcoming holiday visit.

Yes, it seems like backwards living, but oh how refreshing it can be!

 

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Ed: Cat Beekmans

About Gerry Ellen

Gerry Ellen is an author, freelance writer, and wellness advocate. Besides being a curious soul of all things, she is currently finding new meaning in her second half of life. Her first novel Ripple Effects was published in March 2012. As a regular contributor to elephant journal, Be You Media Group, Light Workers World, Meet Mindful, and Rebelle Society, she also balances her passion for animals (especially a kinship with wolves), healthy living, incredible friendships, heart-centered connections, and sharing her experiences of life and love. Daily rituals and simplicity are her ingredients for a meaningful life. Her latest book A Big Piece of Driftwood, published in April 2014, is also available on Amazon.com.

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4 Responses to “What Does it Mean to “Live Off the Grid?””

  1. Pam says:

    Interesting article. It seems to be pointing to the extreme of being off-grid and tells nothing of different opinions and choices that people who live off-grid make to do what works for them. Might scare some people off of the idea. I am off-grid but not unplugged from everything and never will.

  2. Gerry Ellen Gerry Ellen says:

    Thanks for your comment, Pam. I think my perspective was more from the simple nature of not having so much stuff, not being so invested in material ways of living, eating as clean as possible, and keeping it real. I have huge respect for those who manage to accomplish off-grid living; something I aspire to as best I can. I appreciate your thoughts.

  3. Libin PK says:

    Off the grid. The idea stuck in my head ever since I heard it in the movie, Terminator. Nice article, loved reading.

    • Gerry Ellen Gerry Ellen says:

      Thank you, Libin. I don't recall that phrase from the "Terminator", but I do appreciate those who can sell it all, and be as minimal as possible.

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