In cyberspace its all the hype with no shortage of info, YouTube videos and the inevitable commercials.Four and a half months ago I uprooted myself and moved my two DIY container home units out of my urban environment to solitude and peace. This single previous sentence contains years of priming, planning and circumstances. There are a few common denominators that connect people like us. Independence, striving to live a more simple life or being closer to nature are but some of these. Essentially it is turning back to values that got left behind in our consumer, money driven society.
However, actually doing it is not so easy as we are lead to believe. My internet search to find off grid communities in South Africa showed very few results that would work for me. I finally moved to the family farm where I set up and started my permaculture venture. Probably the most important issue in South Africa is security, hence the advantage of living in a community. Going solo like I do now, requires keen awareness and a certain level of preparedness. In our greater farming community of which I am part now, exits an active community security group which is far more effective than the local police. This is the reality which looks a bit different from the utopia that is often painted in social media. Another pipe dream that will shatter very quickly is that you still need money! Unless you are content to live in an aardvark hole and eating marulas and mushrooms, off grid living is going to run up a bill. The initial layout for a solid solar system is not small change….and although people are doing it, self sustaining by permaculture takes time!
I was in the fortunate position to work abroad and earning dollars for a few years before going off grid. Constructing my off grid tiny home out of two 6 m containers was a process and quite expensive. Coming back to South Africa and finding employment locally proved to be almost impossible. Being on the other side of fifty is one of a few other disadvantage when applying for a job. Recently I was lucky enough to find a contract job that put a bit of money in my pocket but taking me away from my home. But you see, this is just another problem that needs to be overcome. If you still believe in a problem free lifestyle, you actually have a big problem!
Is it worth it, you might ask? YES! Definitely yes. Feeding my piggies or watering the garden or planning my aquaponics venture leaves me with a deep satisfaction. The hardest thing is leaving your comfort zone but it is worth it!
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