They founded Aztext Press (http://www.aztext.com/) in 2003. Cam, already a working in publishing, was disappointed to find a lack of books providing information about living off-the-grid with renewable energy. At about the same time he was introduced to Bill Kemp, an expert in small to mid scale renewables, and from this partnership “The Renewable Energy Handbook for Homeowners” was born.
Written by Bill and published by Cam it has been updated and republished. In the years since, Aztext Press has published 6 more books all focused on issues around living off-grid. Now they have taken this further by writing books as well. One of which, ‘Little House Off The Grid’, details their journey to self sufficiency. Two others distill some of the wisdom they have gained from living off grid, and are called ‘The All You Can Eat Gardening Handbook’ and ‘Thriving During Challenging Times: The Energy, Food and Financial Independence Handbook” which could be useful for many seeking a financial blueprint.
Not only do the pair live off-grid but the business itself is run off solar and wind power, making Cam and Michelle inspiring examples to those of us interested in sustainability. Michelle says “It is definitely our passion and we are thrilled to receive emails and letters from our readers, telling us that we have inspired them in some way to living more sustainably”. However, despite a seemingly successful business, their biggest challenge is trying to earn a living, saying “we didn’t move to the country with the idea of taking on a one-hour commute to the nearest city for good-paying jobs, so instead we cobble together an income here at home”. Luckily they have been able to overcome the obstacles and give up their long distance business clients, whom they provided with desktop publishing services, and focus on their books. The money they earn from Aztext Press is supplemented by selling some of their organically grown fruit and veg.
The Aztext website hosts a blog, written by Cam and edited by Michelle, which details the trials and tribulations in their day to day life, as well as the occasional, well articulated, rant. Reading through it you can get a good feel for what it’s like to live off-grid (if you don’t already) but their biggest tip is, rather unsurprisingly, “to educate yourself. Read as many books and magazine articles and attend a workshop or tour at an off-grid home so that you can see the system in action. It can be done and it only makes sense to learn from the folks who are living this way already, so that you can avoid the mistakes that we have all made.”
They enjoy the experience and “the sense of independence and self-sufficiency” that comes with it. Not only that, but everything they do, in both their work and home life, reflects their drive to make the world greener and to enable others to go off-grid like themselves. This pair certainly have made the personal political.
Buy our book - OFF THE GRID - a tour of American off-grid places and people written by Nick Rosen, editor of the off-grid.net web site
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