Living off the grid is the goal of many people in today's day and age. However, there are also a lot of "so-called" reasons not to attempt living off the grid.
Here are 7 of the most common misconceptions about life off the grid. Learn the truth behind the myth and decide is homesteading off the grid is really the life for you!
7 Common Misconceptions About Life Off the Grid
Living off the grid brings a great sense of independence and capability to those who choose this challenging lifestyle.
Essentially, living off the grid means choosing to supply your own electricity and water so you won’t be dependent on connections to local infrastructure.
This can mean anything from devising your own high-tech solutions to opting for a simpler, more rustic approach.
If pursuing a self-sufficient life is something you are considering, be aware that there are some unrealistic notions about what living off the grid actually entails.
In the age of the internet, a lot of myths have sprung up that are mainly based on outdated ideas concerning off-the-grid living or on the opinions of those who have no direct experience with the lifestyle.
From great farming expectations to lunacy-inducing isolation myths, overly-dramatic misconceptions about off-the-grid living have become so prevalent that separating fact from fiction can be a chore in itself. We’ve debunked a few common myths with the truth about going off grid.
MYTH 1: You must be totally self-sufficient.
There is no rule book where living off the grid is concerned, and you can do as much or as little as you like when it comes to producing your own food. You may be content with growing a selection of kitchen herbs, vegetables and fruit, then making a weekly run to a nearby supermarket to get the bulk of your groceries.
Remember that bartering with your neighbors and exchanging any excess produce is another good way to provide for yourself and get to know those around you at the same time.
For example, if you end up with more zucchini from your garden than you know what to do with and your neighbor has an abundance of potatoes, a simple swap is an excellent solution to keeping both parties content and well-fed.
MYTH 2: You have to be an experienced farmer.
While there are countless success stories online from those who have swapped life in the city for a life off the grid, it is best to initially focus on trying out the things you enjoy rather than expending energy on what you think you should enjoy as a homesteader.
You can expand your homesteading skills at whatever speed you choose.
Maybe the idea of having a go at keeping chickens for eggs or meat sounds more appealing to you than raising squash. Perhaps you want to take on a new challenge and try your hand at keeping livestock once you have mastered the art of vegetable growing.
Agricultural pursuits are rewarding, for sure, but there is no one way to do it. Start with the activities that interest you and expand from there. The range of what you do on your homestead is for you to design and develop at whatever pace suits you.
MYTH 3: You need to own a huge piece of land.
This one is simply not true. Off-grid living has no size limit, and while a larger land area may expand your output possibilities, you can choose self-sustained living on even the smallest parcel of land.
There is also no obligation to become a landowner. All kinds of lending and leasing options for unused land exist for you to explore.
Perhaps a good friend or family member has a piece of land that is being neglected, and they might appreciate some help with caring for it. This way, you can hone your skills and learn about this way of living without the pressure of ownership.
NOTE FROM VICTORIA: We started "homesteading" while we lived in the city by scratch cooking, canning bulk produce we got on sale at the grocery store, and making all of our gifts by hand.
MYTH 4: Land shares and intentional communities are tight-knit clans.
As an alternative to buying or renting a piece of land on your own, you might want to consider group ownership, land shares and intentional communities.
Despite the misconception of these communities consisting of hippies with less than reputable living standards, these options offer the possibility of sharing resources and keeping company with like-minded, hard-working individuals.
Sharing the responsibilities and pooling a wider range of skills can open up all kinds of enjoyable possibilities and having a community to fall back on can help you overcome any financial limitations you might experience.
MYTH 5: You are going to be isolated and in danger.
Despite commonly circulated isolation myths, many homesteads have neighbors within walking distance. It really comes down to your preference and the level of quiet you are trying to achieve.
You get to decide how remote you want to be, and depending on where you choose to settle down, emergency personnel may only be a few miles away.
So long as you maintain a sensible approach to your living situation, there is no real reason to be at increased risk while living off the grid. Mitigate your risks by taking your phone or two-way radio with you when you work any distance from your house.
However, it is always good to be prepared for any situation. Ensure you have what is needed to defend yourself and your family and maintain a good collection of essential items, such as high-quality survival knives, hand tools, candles and batteries.
Being prepared for minor accidents is wise and making sure someone in your family has basic first aid skills is of great benefit no matter where you choose to live.
MYTH 6: Earning a living is going to be impossible.
Nowadays, there are various possibilities for working online and living off the grid does not mean you are tied to any particular pattern of work. You may even choose to take a part-time job in a nearby town.
Making your homestead into a money-making venture is another option that allows you to transition at your own suitable pace into this way of operating.
Additionally, it is worth remembering that life in the countryside is typically significantly cheaper than living in a town or city. When you get away from the trappings of gym memberships and endless trips to the local coffee shop, you will find there are far fewer things to waste your money on. If you end up producing your own food and all your own power, your monthly costs will drop dramatically.
NOTE FROM VICTORIA: We make $8,000 a month from our homestead by blogging our journey!
MYTH 7: You’ll be bored in the countryside.
This is the most misleading myth of them all!
There are always so many new skills to discover when it comes to homesteading. Will you be providing your own timber for firewood? Have you tried your hand at all the tasty food storage options like canning and fermenting?
What about making hand-knitted sweaters for the whole family? Knitting is a great past-time for homesteaders!
Learning about the flora and fauna in your local area is also a rich source of interest for those who appreciate being in nature. Take your survival knife with you and go foraging for edible plants or collect wild herbs to dry when you get home or try your hand at some basic wood carving.
While off-the-grid living might not be the mythical experience that it’s cracked up to be, it also shouldn’t be taken lightly. Washing clothes by hand and animal care are not for the faint-hearted.
If the off-the-grid living lifestyle interests you, do your research and reach out to homesteading communities to get the best idea of what this rewarding lifestyle really entails.
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About the Author:
Ross Burgess is the business operations manager for eKnives as well as being an avid survivalist and outdoorsman. When he’s not working or writing, you can find him spending his free time hunting, hiking the trails, or simply spending time outdoors with his wife Amy, and
their dog Rory.