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July 1, 2007 at 9:47 pm #36297
I am 39 years old. I am an attorney. I am looking to leave this lifestyle and become self-sufficient somewhere remote. I am tired of the people around me and tired of the rat race. Unfortunately I do not have much for assets so will need to save and have a location in mind that I can aim for. any help or suggestions out there? ThanksJuly 17, 2007 at 7:13 pm #39985
rrsisu has launched a really interesting discussion here – he’s saying in effect, I want to get out, but I need some financial security to make the leap. I totally understand where he is coming from, but I’d remind him of a couple of things. First off, you really need remarkably little dough when you are living off grid. $1000 a month is plenty. Since he is an attorney, I venture to suggest he could try to make that much running a legal advice service online. But he could also pick herbs in the forest and sell them in the local farmers makret.
That still leaves open the question of where to get his grubstake, but again the answer may be that for a few thousand dollars he could have a cabin in a wood and a solar panel and a woodburning stove, and what else do you need? Exactly where would he do that? Suggestions please.September 12, 2007 at 2:38 am #40002
I started with a 20′ camper and 2 deep cell marine batteries. I carried the batteries in my work van during the day to get them charged. I had wiring from the vehicle battery to the back and connected to the marine batteries to charge them up while I drove around all day. I disconnected them when I arrived home, carried them inside and used then during the night to operate a small TV, light, and a car radio..
I did this for 5 years untill I saved enough money to purchase 196 watts of panel and a charge controller. Ahh.. The good ‘ol days..
~DonOctober 20, 2007 at 11:47 pm #40017
I recently came across and article that mentioned H.E.L.P. homes (“Housing Every Last Person”-www.helpishere.us) that can be used for emergency shelters, but I wasn’t able to locate a price. They are essentially an 8×12 box that sleeps 3 w/ a stove, fridge, eating space, composting toilet and gravity fed shower. It would seem to be a very inexpensive route to start.
My husband is in flooring and is a pretty friendly guy. IT IS GOOD TO KNOW CONSTRUCTION PEOPLE! A framer friend of his helped us build our little two room cottage. In your case, you may want to consider bartering legal services/advice for construction services/advice. My point is two heads are better than one…four hands better than two…
The first things we bought (in addition to a travel trailer for shelter) were a cisturn for water, a propane heater and a small solar 3 panel system that we still need to figure out how to add to (we came across a used 8 panel system for $1K). We started off with a lot of stuff from a sporting goods store including a solor shower(uses the sun to heat water for showers), a camping stove (after we got rid of the travel trailer) and a, hu-huum, toilet seat that fits over a 5 gallon bucket. (Did I really say that out loud???)
We’ve recently added a wood stove to our cottage to use instead of the propane heater. The stove works out well for us as we have lots of fallen trees that still need clearing…free heat! Plus, now that it’s cooler outside, we use the stove to heat our water in the evenings (still using the little solar shower-so little water, and yet so clean!).
Feel free to ask if you have any questions and best of luck to you!
AngelaNovember 24, 2007 at 9:49 pm #40060
Angela, no need to be bashful about the toilet seat over a 5 gallon bucket, depending on the way it is used of course. Simply collecting the contents and disposing of them is worse than not being off-grid as the waste is not handled properly. If the waste is collected in a conservative manner and “treated” in a truly off-grid manner it is not only a way to disconnect from the grid, but also a very ecologically sound way of producing top-notch fertilizer for your food needs. Visit here for additional information. You will be glad you did…December 8, 2007 at 5:57 pm #40067
Thanks so much for the link!! I haven’t finished the book yet, but did download it. Very good information!!
The amount of potable water used in “waste” removal in modern society is obscene, especially considering the value we bring to our environments by doing this a little differently.
We’ve prettied up our composte pile by recycling some old pallets (marked “free” behind the local hardware store in town) and have started implementing the suggestions in the book. Much appreciated!January 30, 2008 at 9:06 pm #40105
I’ve been dreaming of living off-grid for quite a while now. I recently made the first step by buying 5 acres of land in the desert of West Texas for about $2000 USD. Last week I bought a 1957 Vintage Travel trailer for $1100.. luckily my boyfriend is a carpenter so any minor work it needs he can do pretty easily. We’ll be taking the trailer out to my property at the end of March.
Im currently researching water catchment systems and Solar panels. I wont need much to start, but I also plan on getting a Yurt too, and maybe another trailer.
It will take a little longer than I would like since I’m not financing any of it.. just saving and saving and buying things piece by piece.
~AnnaFebruary 1, 2008 at 4:40 pm #40107
I live in the great Republic of Texas and want to welcome you. This is a great state to live in. No state income tax and a lot of wide open space. You might want to check into building a wind turbine. West Texas in the summer can be brutal unless you want to roast in your trailer you will need an ac. We have about 9 months of heat. May, June, July, August, September and the start of October are really hot. Just have enough money to go buy a window unit when you can’t stand it anymore. I live on the Gulf coast and I have had sucess with gardens and growing my own food here. What part of west Texas? This a huge state, with a hell of alot to see and do. Most of us are friendly even if we talk funny. We are also helpful and if you stay away from the big cities down home country folks. If you are willing to hunt there is plenty of game and fishing in our state, you will have to buy a permit for both.February 7, 2008 at 9:38 pm #40109
I currently live in Austin, Tx.. my property is in Terlingua, down by Big Bend national park. I fell in love with the area after my first visit about a year ago. Im still researching the A/C cooling options.. there’s lots of work to do!
After we bring the trailer out, we’ll start on building a covering that will serve as part of our water catchment system as well as shading for the trailer and outdoor kitchen. Im familiar with the heat of the desert sun so that will be first priority!
~AnnaFebruary 17, 2008 at 11:43 am #40126
Wow if my main problem was where to lose heat I would be a happier man. When you have humped logs all day with Pleurisy nagging at your ribcage and everything is damp and mouldy then your minor cooling dilemma will seem so insignificant.
If you get an old gas fridge and adapt it to a solar heating panel to do the work of a the electric element/gas flame, you should have ice for free. I keep thinking about trying it but it is pointless here as there isn’t enough heat in the average day and for seven months I don’t need a fridge to keep things cold I need it to stop them from freezing.
Good luck with your new venture. I am somewhat jealous, though I am excluded from the USA as an undesirable alien (a few weed plants years ago) so I shall never get to enjoy the benefits of your vast country.February 18, 2008 at 7:51 pm #40130
Here in Cochise County Arizona is where I chose my Off Grid home for many of the same reasons you are looking to change your life. I lived in Rhode Island and worked in the Boston area. It got so that I didn’t leave home at certain times because of the insane traffic. My somewhat rural home was overrun with noises from neighbors new power tools. My son had gone off to college and I’d been looking the world over to see where I might want to go. Cochise county has more rural land than any other county I know. The county is pretty much as large as Rhode Island. I watched the weather for a couple of months and the climate has turned out to be really compatible.. I have 40 acres of land…….took out cash on my home and purchased new land and put my home up for sale. It didn’t go that easy, I almost got into foreclosure because of the market drop, but I did it and own my land free and clear. I also put some of that money into a well and septic. At the time I didn’t understand the composting toilet gig, but after seeing and using a neighbors, I totally get it.
Anyway, the story is that there are about 6 families living off grid in a 10 to 12 mile radius. We certainly look out for each other, but don’t tend to get too much in each other’s business. It was not a community developed as such, it is simply a really lovely area that we have chosen to live in. I read and researched about alternative energy. It really gets you to thinking about what your power usage is and asking “what do I really need?” I am buying my solar panels as I can afford them. I also have a back up generator for when it is required to pull some serious juice…..like when using power tools lol.
I don’t have a house yet, but I do have a travel trailer and an enclosed porch off of it. I love where I live.
Mary AnnMarch 12, 2008 at 2:27 pm #40147
I ended up in very quiet off-grid location by chance. I have never regretted it. I could not bear to live in a town again. It’s a lot of work, but I enjoy my quality of life. I lost a well paid job just over a year ago because I was not prepared to sacrifice my health any further for the job. No regret about that. I feel much better for it!
I wish you all the best. It would be a mistake to think you can be self-sufficient though.
Self-reliant as much as possible, but not totally self-sufficient – that would take up an enormous amount of tiem and effort. However, I do hope you will follow your heart. You’d probably regret it later if you didn’t have a go.
I see that other contributors have given you some good advice to start with so I won’t add any more thoughts for now.March 20, 2008 at 5:50 pm #40153
I left the rat race 15 years ago and never looked back! I was a high school teacher and I burned out after 10 year of teaching in private treatment centers. I had an acre on my parents old homestead so I moved there and lived in a small RV while I built my homestead.
Now I live in a solar cabin I designed and built for under $2000. I use a solar composting toilet I designed, a solar water heater, solar oven, and more. I raise chickens, rabbits, and a garden. I have no house payments and no monthly bills and I only work 9 months out of the year running a small business. Life is good!
You can see my website for free ideas and even listen to some free folk music I wrote:
LaMarMarch 28, 2008 at 6:50 pm #40162
There is a growing movement in the USA to foster hybrid homesites, which allow you to generate your own solar and wind energy, sell the excess to the grid and rely on the grid as a back up power supply. One example is Freedom Farms in Texas. See our classified ad at this site.
Does anyone know of other similar communities where one can purchase a hybrid homesite?
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