September 25, 2013

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

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: Catherine Monkman

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Kalono Nov 1, 2015 3:03am

I love the off the grid article. I must remind you though…being "off the grid" means living in an environment that does not rely public utilities. You do NOT have to live in a tent or small cabin without all the modern comforts. I have lived "off the grid" for going on 3 years now, but my residence is quite stylish and comfortable. I do agree with you though, the serenity is priceless! Now don't get me wrong, if you want to live with the bare minimums, that is always the individual's choice…NOT A REQUIREMENT for living off the grid.

Kalono Nov 1, 2015 2:51am


Libin PK Oct 26, 2013 9:17am

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

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Gerry Ellen

Gerry Ellen is an author, freelance writer, and wellness consultant. She recently launched her own gig called *8 Paws Wellness with Gerry Ellen* which combines all of her passions (outdoors, yoga, strength, meditation, writing, dogs, fun!) 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, Tattooed Buddha and Rebelle Society, she also balances incredible friendships, heart-centered connections, and sharing her experiences of life and love. These are the things that matter to her most. Her second book A Big Piece of Driftwood, published in April 2014, is also available on Amazon.com.