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Home Forums General Discussion New to off-grid living, want to live on an island

This topic contains 12 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  Cahow 4 years, 4 months ago.

Viewing 13 posts - 1 through 13 (of 13 total)
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  • #37149

    Leaving Society
    Participant

    Hello, everyone. Let me first start by saying that my idea of living off the grid is probably a little crazier than most, and that I honestly have no idea what I’m doing — yet! Basically, I’ve always wanted to live on a desert island with a few decent people. I love the look of islands — not the stereotypical ones in travel brochures, but more like what you see in Cast Away, or other films like The Beach. Robinson Crusoe was one of my favorite novels when I was younger (I’m still in my mid-twenties).

    I guess there’s just something about the feeling of being so remote, with a body of water separating you from the rest of humanity, that makes me feel a lot more secure than a place out in the woods somewhere would. Don’t get me wrong; Henry David Thoreau is fascinating to read, but I’ll take Daniel Defoe over him any day.

    Another component to all of this is that I’m not a fan of our capitalist societal structure. I have no interest in corporatism, traffic jams, office cubicles, bars, clubs, or what have you. Modern life is a little too face-paced for me, not to mention full of narcissism and other social problems that I can’t imagine our politicians fixing in the near future. So I figured I’d just leave instead of waste an entire life putting up with all of it.

    I know that it’s incredibly naive to think that I can actually pull it off, and I’d never just run off to squat illegally somewhere without telling the people I know in my life. That would be irresponsible, not to mention dangerous. I’d much rather learn and do all of this the right way — if it’s even possible to begin with.

    I never really thought that it was, actually, until I found privateislandsonline.com, a site with a bunch of private islands for sale, some as low as US$500,000.00. This site initially got me really excited, but then I realized that I’d have to gather quite a group of people or get rich before I could realistically do it without having to work.

    So, I have two questions for you all:

    1. Is purchasing, say, a private island in the range of $500,000.00 – $1,000,000.00 in a warm, tropical climate doable for a group of people who aren’t rich? Where could I go to find people who’d be interested?

    2. I currently don’t have any survival skills or knowledge of living off the grid. What would I have to know to live on an island? I would bring lots of supplies beforehand, because this would all be funded, but it’s obviously still quite different from living in civilization. Am I screwed, or are there valuable things to learn about island life that could actually work?

    I hope to stick around and learn, but I don’t hold out too much hope for my plan, and there really isn’t anywhere around here where I could practice survival skills or the like for now. Any advice at all, even if it’s telling me to give up and forget about it, would definitely be appreciated.

    I’ve started a blog about all of this that you can check out below if interested:

    http://leavingsocietybehind.blogspot.com

    #42894

    erFiodena
    Participant

    Hi,

    I think your “vision” of living off the grid on an island is a bit unrealistic.

    First thing that comes into my mind: you buy land, how do you pay taxes on it without working?Or the land that you buy has no taxes on it?Just askinq.

    In the end we need money one way or another to survive.

    To gain survival skills you can do a lot of things, go camping in the wild with just the basic survival needs for a few days and see how it goes. Go and volunteering on farms (wwoofing is called).Travel in solitary places and try to live off the grid. You will find that being totally disconnected from the world as you know it is not always as easy and as pleasant as we may imagine.

    This is to encourage you go and explore,learn & get experience, who knows, maybe one day you will make you dream come true.

    #42895

    WrethaOffGrid
    Keymaster

    Hello,

    You have quite an ambitious dream, nothing wrong with dreaming big… After reading your blog, the biggest obstacle I see, besides the money thing, is the fact you are wanting to do with with a group of people, especially the fact that it will likely be a group you don’t know. First problem is whose name will this island/land be in? Yours? I don’t know if you can legally put it in that many peoples’ names.

    Second, if you could even find that many people interested in what you are doing, who have a chunk of money to invest in this venture, not all of you are going to share the same values and interests in how you want to live. Sounds like you are looking for a utopia, something that doesn’t exist, people are people and there will be frictions, with that number of people, they will form cliques or factions and that is never good for the whole. Think of this, if you had the money to do this 100% yourself, would you still want to bring in a group of unknown people to do this with? I am assuming your answer would be “no”, well that’s pretty much what any other person with that amount of spending cash would think, so trying to find someone who could bankroll this will be very hard.

    What do you have to offer? A dream? That is nice, but it’s not going to fill the pots with food or light the darkness at night… are you a natural leader? Someone who could keep a group together? Do you have any other skills to offer?

    Here are the questions you asked, my replies come after each question:

    1. Is purchasing, say, a private island in the range of $500,000.00 – $1,000,000.00 in a warm, tropical climate doable for a group of people who aren’t rich? Where could I go to find people who’d be interested?

    Good luck, people have had dreams of creating and living a utopian life and I don’t know of any that worked…


    2. I currently don’t have any survival skills or knowledge of living off the grid. What would I have to know to live on an island? I would bring lots of supplies beforehand, because this would all be funded, but it’s obviously still quite different from living in civilization. Am I screwed, or are there valuable things to learn about island life that could actually work?

    Before wanting to do any of this, you need to learn survival skills, it’s one thing to WANT to do it, it’s quite another to actually DO IT. The supplies, you have repeatedly said you don’t have the money to do this, as I mentioned before, if you had the money to completely fund such a venture, would you still want to bring in a group of people to share in this? I think the answer would probably be “no”, so finding someone else to fund such a venture, especially when you have virtually nothing to offer except a dream is going to be next to impossible…


    I hope to stick around and learn, but I don’t hold out too much hope for my plan, and there really isn’t anywhere around here where I could practice survival skills or the like for now. Any advice at all, even if it’s telling me to give up and forget about it, would definitely be appreciated.

    This is step one (or at least a beginning step) for you, if you have a dream that you REALLY REALLY want to do, then let NOTHING get between you and your goal, work toward it with everything you have. I did that and as a result I am living my dream.


    Now with all the negatives out of the way, if you really want to work toward this lofty goal, then you need to have smaller goals to reach the larger goal. You need to have something to offer, some skills if not money. There are lots of places you can go to learn survival skills, weekend or week long retreats specializing in this sort of thing. Once you have some training under your belt, you will need to practice these skills, going out on your own, or with a small group to see how far you get, how long you can live “off the land” sort of thing. Not sure where you live, but if you have access to people who have homestead type farms (NOT big commercial farms), perhaps you could volunteer some of your time in exchange for learning some farming skills, things like growing your own food, animal husbandry (growing, keeping and butchering), learn first aid, that is so important, you need to be able to take care of yourself for illnesses and injuries. Do you have any Amish or other cultures like that? Again, you could volunteer your time in exchange for learning skills.

    In the mean time, you could be researching more reasonable properties to purchase, not saying you could never have an island, but from what you have said, it’s probably not a likely scenario. I’d say go ahead and look for and buy something you can afford and make your off grid life there, and in the future, if you have an opportunity to get the island of your dreams, you could always sell your current off grid property, and just think of all the skills and experience you would have to take to your dream island… :)

    Wretha

    #42896

    Anonymous

    A book that anyone interested in living on an island should read is “Pitcairn’s Island” by Nordhoff & Hall. This of course is the story of what happened to the characters of the mutiny on the Bounty after they found an island. All of the possible questions are experienced in this adventure, from social structure, various sources of friction, economy, etc. Some 200 years later their descendants still live there.

    http://www.government.pn/Pitcairnshistory.htm

    #42897

    WrethaOffGrid
    Keymaster

    Interesting site dunewalker, I haven’t had a chance to read it in detail, but the initial scan looks quite interesting. :)

    Wretha

    #42898

    Dustoffer
    Participant

    Thanks Dunewalker! Great read. I remember Errol Flynn’s first movie was about the initial settling of the island. Dreams of a paradise island are intoxication, but the reality is almost everywhere is inhabited. At least the reasonably good places. I think of how in the Atlantic, the tsunami of La Palma due, epic storms, and in the Pacific, the Cascadia tsunami due, and more epic storms, the rising sea level……

    All the troubles of Pitcairn and Easter Island, the collapse of oceanic fisheries due by mid-century. 6 huge oceanic trash gyres and the Med with plastic all over, too. There is no place to escape atmospheric pollution and its effects. Some places may be more out of the fallout path and free from seismic or volcanic dangers. Is there any island not already overpopulated, that is liveable for the long term??

    #42899

    Leaving Society
    Participant

    Thanks for all of the replies so far. I definitely think the idea is unrealistic. Taxes are probably the biggest hurdle, actually. I don’t think permanently living on a nicely sized tropical island after paying off all of your debts is something feasible.

    I guess there are more realistic options, like wwoofing temporarily or buying a $60,000.00 island and then working nearby or waiting until retirement. I’m still thinking about those, too. I would definitely like to buy something affordable and practice off-grid living there, but I’d still need a stable supply of income from somewhere, so I’d have to do it where decent jobs were nearby, and that seems to be the hardest part.

    I do find it sad, though, that with seven billion of us, a small handful of semi-affluent retired people couldn’t just come together, build a community, and invite whomever to join them. It really is too bad.

    I should also say that I wouldn’t go too far out of my way to idealize an island lifestyle, and would probably welcome even the harder challenges as being fulfilling. I think I go through a lot of pretty nasty things already, so having to deal with something difficult that actually has rewards at the end definitely sounds like a better path to me.

    dunewalker, thanks for the link. I’ll check that out.

    #42905

    countrygurl
    Participant

    Dear island girl….I think you need a vacation spot. Think logically and realistically.

    I think you should find a small but, secluded spot of RAW land somewhere and work on it over the weekends, etc….(along with lots of reading about survival skills, etc…). This way you will learn if you truly want this type of life. I mean, it sounds to me like you have never had to actually live without indoor plumbing, go to the bathroom out in the woods in cold rainy weather, skinned and gutted a deer, or eaten food that you made from scratch without the convenience of a sink, good lighting or warmth. I’m not saying that OTG island living would be misery, but you must love it sooo much that you actually KNOW in your bones you can live without alot of modern conveniences and STILL think its’ worth it. I don’t know how you can actually sustain your plan and live it, if you really haven’t even experienced anything remotely like it…ongoing. Do you know what I mean?

    When my kids were little (they’re grown and gone now), I used to take them camping in the woods and after the glorious week or wknd was over, I would be sooooo pissed and soooo crabby and soooo sad to have to come home to our house. We would pull up in the driveway and I would look at the front door like,…there it is….hell….I would want to just throw something on it and spit on all the keep up with the jones’ type neighbors, or light it on fire and back the car out and drive straight back to the country!! I mean, I would be exhausted, maybe poison ivy ridden, sunburnt, whatever and STILLLL want to go straight back and live there in that beautiful little camping spot.

    Anyway, to summarize I say start small and think ‘vacation’ spot….THEN if you come to LOVE it so much at your ‘vacation’ spot that you never want to leave it and going back ‘home’ feels like pain in your very fiber……..THEN, maybe you should seriously look into putting an ad on Craigslist or something for like-minded people who are willing to invest with you. ORRR…..OR….you could start sending fan letters to Johnny Depp who has his own enormous island!! AHAHAH Or…..beg Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt to adopt you…to take pity on you….or just loan you a mere mill or two to buy your own private island. Believe me I’ve thought of ALL those things!! HAHAHHAHA Anyway, I wish you much luck in your plans! A private island sounds heavenly to me too!! But I like the woods more though! :)

    #44991

    JoeP
    Participant

    How’s your search going?

    #44995

    gordo
    Participant

    i think all of the thoughts/suggestions you’ve been offered are right on track.  to sum it up. learn skills, start small.

    of them all wwoofer would be a good spot.  most of the wwoofer’s the work on my farm make a summer of it, some make a life of it.  but all in all each farm is going to be different from the the tools they use, the crop’s / animals the raise, climate, ect.  each farmer/homesteader will also have a unique background from which they created their little piece of heaven.  philosophy’s, rules of thumb, problem solving.  in general EXPERIENCE (s).

    wretha is right on by mentioning first aid. i would suggest looking for a wilderness first responder (wfr) or emergency medical tech (emt) class.  there not expensive and no matter what you do in life will come in handy.

    other good sources of skills would by multi day river trip’s or sailing expeditions.  both of these environments will teach you about maintaining your tools for survival.  including group dynamics.

    both of these environments make great seasonal job’s.  so you will actually make a little money. you can also get a job in a nursery.

     

    baby steps

    peace g

     

     

     

    #45475

    Cahow
    Participant

    Leaving Society wrote: “I currently don’t have any survival skills or knowledge of living off the grid. I do find it sad that a small handful of semi-affluent retired people couldn’t just come together, build a community, and invite whomever to join them. It really is too bad.”

    Seriously? WHY in the world would semi-affluent retired people who have worked within the GRID their entire lives and are now in their 50-70’s want to invite ANYONE to “join them” on an island they chose to retire to? And do you honestly believe that these affluent retired folks would live in an Earthship or Yurt????? Sounds more like you want a Daddy Warbucks or Sugar Daddy to take care of you while you frolick in the sand, drinking Pina Colada’s from a coconut. :(

    I’m sorry; the other posters have spent a good amount of their time responding to you and that was exceedingly kind and generous of them. But it sounds more like you really need to get the DVD boxed set of LOST, make some popcorn, and kick back and enjoy your dream via Hollywood.

    #45903

    beast
    Participant

    basic survival skills are a must for island survival, then you also need to know how to use raw native materials to build with and create a life from, things like extracting the fiber from yucka and weaving it into cloth, making palm fronds into watertight roofing an walls, how to lash bamboo together into a rigid structure that will withstand wind and rain, using seashells or coral mixed with sand to make a sort of concrete for bowls and water containers or even a building. like the others have said, you have a lot to learn before you try this, go out in some local woods and start by camping for the weekend without tents and supplies, go on a nice rainy day and see how you handle being drenched and cold, learn to build a fire without matches or a lighter, learn what your local flora provides as edible food. all these things are too important to not learn
    i too wouldnt mind living on a nice tropical island, but i do have many years of experience at hard core survival

    #45905

    Cahow
    Participant

    beast: you should visit her blog. It’s serene photos of tropical paradise that she has linked up to music. Honestly, I think she just needs a vacay in Hawaii.  ‘Nuff said.

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