It’s been awhile since I have done a blog post. We have been busy. A lot has happened that I can not disclose yet. Don’t worry, we are ok. Most of it is good.
Anyway, we had a friend on Facebook reach out to us asking us to do a blog or video on the emotions, stresses and what it takes to go off grid. I had already been thinking of doing this and now that we have been off grid for a year, I believe we have some valuable insight. If you want to get to know us, and laugh a little then please watch the videos.
First, let me start by asking you this question. What does off grid mean to you? I have heard numerous people say that it is the simple life. Not sure what they mean by that, but it’s not simple. Far from it. Being off grid is hard work and if you’re afraid of hard work, change, unable to go with the flow, unable to change gears at the drop of a dime, or get upset when Murphy’s Law is ALWAYS there, then this is not the life for you. For us, it means breaking free from the mundane life that society says is normal, hence our name. Living by our rules, where our successes and failures depends on how hard we work. We work for ourselves and our homestead.
So let’s get into the questions our friend asked:
- What emotions/stresses are involved in the beginning?
Ask yourself the following question as the answer will help you determine if you can make the leap to off grid. Be truthful, take your time and do some soul searching.
How do you manage stress individually and with your spouse?
Now I know everyone’s stress level is going to vary depending on your situation. Stuart and I have always been able to handle stress very well. You need to have patience with each other. I’m not saying we’re perfect, we have our moments and break to the pressure. Being able to really go with the flow helps tons for times like this.
I experienced a roller coaster of emotions in the beginning. I have never moved out of state before, so the idea was kind of daunting. I went from total excitement one day to being terrified the next.
Once we made the decision to pack up and leave our home, we had to kick ourselves into overdrive to get the house ready to sell. There was a lot to do and we had to sell fast before we lost any more equity on the house. We had to prioritize what we needed and get rid of the rest. We were going from a house that was over 2,000 square feet to 288 square feet. Haha, that’s a lot of downsizing. We had to paint, install new carpet, install a new septic system and landscape the entire front yard. If you haven’t seen our video on that please subscribe to our Youtube channel, the front yard transformation was amazing!
House was on the market one day and we got an offer. With some negotiating it was a done deal.
We are actually doing this! What now? We had nowhere to go. Yup, in 30 days we would be officially homeless. What? Nowhere to go? We had decided that we had to be in Idaho to look for property in person. Trying to find property online is hard and it wasn’t like we could just take a weekend here and there to make the trip. We still had the mortgage, dogs, cats, birds and jobs to worry about.
We have always done everything ourselves, never asking for help. We now had the task of loading the truck. There was a lot to load and most of it was heavy items. We had downsized a lot of the household items like the couch, coffee table, end tables and bedroom set. But, we kept almost all the garage stuff. Our thinking was, if we are going off grid we will need as many tools as possible. Plus, we have the items we have already purchased just for off grid, like the generator.
Now, here we are, on the last day. We were suppose to leave first thing in the morning, but we still had some loading to do. Even though we planned, and planned, and planned some more and thought we had enough room, we were running out of room. We scrambled in the 100 degree heat of Northern Nevada, and it was brutal. We had to leave a bunch of stuff for the new homeowner, sorry Alex or you’re welcome. While we were scrambling, our oldest cat “Luke” (jerk) decided to go for a jaunt around the neighborhood. So, we had to wait for him to return so we could leave. While we waited for Luke (jerk), we had an argument. I don’t even remember what it was about. We were extremely tired, hot, hungry, anxious and just cranky. Today was suppose to be a happy day, we were starting our journey. Starting our life over, again, for the last time. By the time Luke (jerk) came home, a couple hours later, we were over it.
Then the next phase of emotions hit me as we walked out the front door from the house, that we lived in for 10 years for the last time. Tears were flowing, we were actually doing this, leaving what I considered my dream home behind. Which leads us to the next question.
- How do you deal with leaving family, friends and society?
Leaving society was not hard. We were done with society and keeping up with the “Jones” mentality. Leaving our family and friends is different story.
We have a lot of memories, good and bad, and of our boys in this house that we are leaving. Even though they are grown and on their own now, we could still see them once in a awhile. Now, we were moving farther away, increasing the chance of not seeing them very often at all.
The rest of our family and close friends understood why we were making this life change. They were all sad of course, but also excited for us as they knew how hard we have worked to get to this point.
- What is the reality of what it’s like in the beginning of your journey?
OH CRAP! WE DID IT! NOW WHAT?
We arrived in Idaho and stayed on a friends property that we had met through Facebook. They were kind enough to let us park our travel trailer on their property until we found our property. We immediately started our search for our little piece of heaven. We looked for about a week and half and our frustration grew. It seemed like nothing we saw was good enough. So, while sitting in our truck office, in the Safeway parking lot with a Starbucks inside (we have are vises too) we decided to look at this property that we had seen online. Stuart had been watching this property for almost a year and it really intrigued him. It was above our price range, but it had been on the market for 303 days, so we knew we possibly had some leverage in offering a price that fit our budget if we liked it.
We fell in love as soon as we walked up the driveway. It was beautiful. We felt at peace just sitting on a homemade bench watching the dogs frolic, while talking about it. This was the one! We made a cash offer and negotiated with the seller so everyone was happy. 2 weeks later we were proud owners of our new homestead in Idaho.
Our plan was to live in the travel trailer while we converted a 12×28 shed into a little cabin. Well, that didn’t go as planned. Always expect the unexpected. Learning to adapt, overcome and sacrifice is a huge benefit to this lifestyle. Our first lesson was, there is no perfect property. There is always going to be a negative. How you adapt and overcome will make you or break you. What are you willing to sacrifice?
In the process of pulling our travel trailer up the driveway, it got stuck, burned up a transmission seal in our pick up. If you have seen our videos you understand how steep this driveway is. Our new neighbor brought his mud truck over and tried to help. It got stuck! He then brought his dozer down. Now we had the dozer hooked to the mud truck, the mud truck hooked to the travel trailer, and all 3 were stuck on the driveway. The reason the dozer got stuck was the 6″ of non compacted rock on the drive. UGH! We can laugh about it now. It was pretty comical. It all stayed there for 5 days, our driveway was blocked.
The first night we slept in the truck at the bottom of the driveway. When I say slept, it was closing our eyes and hoping to sleep. The property came with a cabin, which has been named the “scary cabin” by yours truly. We cleaned the scary cabin the best that we could, to make it safe for our little four legged family members. There were signs of mice and whatever else that had decided to make their home inside. There was empty boxes of rodent poison along with bottles of ant and gopher poison everywhere. We were concerned that our pets could get into something.
Once we deemed it safe, we moved into the scary cabin. It had a wood stove, propane fridge and propane stove. The property also had a 1,000 gallon propane tank that was about 90% full. It made sense to live in the scary cabin since we could stay warm by the wood stove, and we had a way to cook and store food. We would have spent more money buying propane for the travel trailer if we had lived in it. Adapting and overcoming the driveway disaster ended up being a blessing in disguise.
We didn’t have as much as time as we wanted to prepare for winter it was the end of August early September. Here we are, on a property on the side of a mountain that is prone to lots of snow. We had to make sure we had enough firewood, and start canning food so we could be prepared in case we are snowed in. We hauled in water until the snow started falling. Then we melted snow and ran the water through our berkey filter. The snow water was the best tasting water to me.
Depending on your area, you will need to be prepared. Are you ready for the expected and unexpected? Are you in an area with lots of snow? Are you in an area prone to drought? What is your environment like? What are you willing to sacrifice? These are just some of the things to ask yourself when looking for or buying your property.
- What do you need and how do you find the things you need for off grid?
We had really no idea as to what we might need, just some speculation. Food, shelter, water is what you need to survive. But we don’t want to just survive but, thrive.We started buying some of the things we thought we would need before we moved and while we were both still working. Knowing that our income was going from a 2 person income to 1 person income, we knew financially it would be harder to acquire big ticket items.
Here is a list of some of the things that we bought before we moved:
- Berkey filters
- Some tools
- Canning jars
- Another canner
- First aid supplies
- Cast Iron cookware
- Not to mention stuff that we have been rat holing like fencing, hog panels, wooden and T fence posts. The list is long. Stuart is a bit of a collector of stuff.
- Oops! Forgot the travel trailer
Doesn’t sound like a whole lot, but every little bit helps. You do what you can, when you can, to set yourself up for success.
There are more questions that some of our followers on Facebook had asked. We will be doing a part 2 in hopes of answering everyone’s questions. If you’re considering going off grid please do your research and make sure you ask yourself “can I/we do this”? Be honest with yourself and your spouse. If your just following us because your living vicariously through us, then please enjoy the ride.
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