Les and Jane Oke live in Ontario, Canada and have been off grid since 1994. They are often asked how they came to make this decision that literally changed the course of their life. Here is their story:
When I told my parents that I had quit my job they just stared at me. Three kids to feed, a wife, responsibilities and bills. But I had made my decision – I had to start doing what I dreamed about or I never would.
This process did not happen overnight, although one night I came close to losing my dreams forever, my kids, my wife, my life…
I was driving home from work on my Harley, and attempting to make a left turn I noticed a pickup truck behind me was not going to stop. I could either drive into oncoming traffic or try to speed up. He hit me from behind and all I could feel was myself flying through the air.
Then it all stopped as I crashed to the pavement in the middle of the road landing on my back. Self preservation kicked in and I quickly rolled over and crawled off the road. I laid down in the ditch and stared at the sky, slowly moving each part of my body to check for injuries. Then I started to hurt… bad. My helmet was twisted around on my head and I could only see out of one eye. The other eye was blocked by the helmet lining. I yanked the helmet from my head and just laid there.
They say that when people have a near death experience that their whole life flashes before their eyes. It was then that I started to think that my life did not add up to much at this point. Laying in the ditch, staring up at the good Lord above… there I was just a wondering… if I died today, would it really matter to anyone? As I lay there I thought about my wife Jane, my kids, my life.
Several people had stopped and were just staring down at me, questions like “How do you feel?” and “Are you alright?”. I told them I was fine, just kind of sore. They told me I had flown about 12 feet in the air and actually bounced off of a car doing 50 mph. The big gash in my left forearm told me where I had hit the car.
The ambulance took me to the hospital where the doctor who they dragged off the golf course checked me over and sewed up my arm.
Then Jane ran into the hospital room crying. She knew something was wrong even though no one called her. She drove directly to the scene of the crash. Somehow she knew. They told her where I was and she drove to the hospital.
The fear on her face told me what she was thinking.
That day my life changed.
The very next morning I decided it was time to live those dreams I had suppressed for so long – I would start living now. Jane smiled and agreed. She had been thinking the same thing.
You are probably wondering what this has to do with anything.
The truth is that in most people’s lives it takes a traumatic event to elicit change. Only rarely does the will power work to our advantage. We are normally ruled by our fears.
In my own case I realized that day that life is very short, or can be… our dream to have our own rural property and garden, and some animals and a home that we could call our own was more important than I realized.
I could barely walk the day after, but my finger dialed the phone and I quit my job.
That same finger dialed the phone again, and we gave notice on our apartment. We were moving and would never pay rent again, and never pay another electric bill either. That was April 1994.
I told Jane that we would spend the next month and find the property we wanted.
It took more than a month in fact but we did find a great 20 acres that we could afford and we made plans to move.
When we announced our intentions to our family they could not believe it… we were moving.
May 5, 1994 we pulled up to our property, parked our van and unloaded. We were home.
The kids were young and embraced the adventure like we could never have hoped for. They loved it, climbing trees, exploring and working right along side us to build our home.
I would dearly love to tell you that everything was roses for us, but it wasn’t. It was tough that first year. We didn’t have a lot of money, but we were happy knowing we were now in control of our life.
The great thing about our new property was the abundance of natural resources- trees for building, rocks for foundations, and land a plenty for gardens. We even had a beautiful stream running through the middle. It was paradise for us, a transition area between the wilderness all around us and our farm we always dreamed about. It has turned out to be the best of both. We worked hard to build our house with a chainsaw mill, local stone and sweat.
The kids pitched in and Jane too. ( I have never seen them so happy).
We lived this simple life until 2005 when Jane and I decided it was time to help others to achieve their dreams too.
We started a website with the intention of helping as many people as we could.
It turned out our experience was in great demand so we set out to write more about our adventure,
and how we had turned our dreams into reality.
The books we have written have been very well received and have helped over 5000 families to live their dream of owning their own property and eliminating their electric bill.
Our new found passion has also allowed us to work even more hours at helping people with their own rural dreams.
If you are interested in eliminating your electric bill, getting out of debt or learning Les and Jane’s Garden secrets check out their Living Off The Grid website here.
It is important for you to realize that your dreams are important too, and act on them now.
Dust them off and get busy before that pickup truck that is bearing down on you finally gets there.
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