One query Dan and I frequently get from friends, family members, even strangers, is why we live off grid. Why live off the grid and put ourselves through the stress of hauling wood, pumping lake water, and dealing with generators that won’t start? Why not live in a town with all the comforts? Then we wouldn’t have to worry about generating off grid electricity, heat, or water.
Are you thinking about living off the grid? While your reasons for doing so may be different from ours, here are just a few of the things that pop into my mind when people ask why we live off grid.
To Be More Self-Sufficient
The opportunity to rely on ourselves as much as possible is one reason why we live off grid. That’s probably what led me to leave the banking world and start my own freelance writing business. I wanted to be responsible for my ability to earn money.
We live off the grid partly because we’re concerned about what the future holds. This way we feel like we have a little more security looking after our own energy needs. That said, we’re nowhere near where we want to be in terms of homesteading and decreasing our dependence on propane and diesel.
Independence From the Energy Grid
When living the city life back east in the early 2000s, we experienced multiple power outages. I became increasingly uneasy at the thought of how my family would survive a prolonged power outage in the city. Especially in the sometimes-harsh Canadian winters.
Truth time – the idea of learning how to generate our own electricity, and providing our own heat and water was a little scary for me. Electrical charges? Energy? Batteries? And what the heck are battery banks?
These terms made think of Grade 11 physics – hands down my worst grade ever. Thankfully Dan’s a lot smarter in these areas than I am.
Why We Live Off Grid in a REALLY Cold Place
So we live in Canada’s Northwest Territories, just over 30 kilometers from the nearest town. If there was a road heading north, we could say we live about a three-hour drive south of the Arctic Circle. Yes, the town is pretty close, but it feels remote. It’s a ROUGH – though spectacular – drive around lakes and up and over bedrock formations. And the last few kilometers are basically a dirt track.
We live here because five years ago Dan took a job based in the town, and we fell in love with the area. We knew we wanted to live “in the country.” However, around here, the options are pretty scarce unless you’re ready and willing to consider an off the grid home. There simply aren’t many (any?) country homes that ARE on the grid in this region. So there’s another reason why we’re living off the grid – we have to in order to live where we want to.
Most of our readers live in more hospitable climates than we do. Yet living off the grid is really the only way to achieve the lifestyle we wanted in the region we love.
Why We Live Off The Grid Instead Of In Town
Living in Canada’s far north is expensive because all the building supplies get shipped up from “down south.” So you’ll pay a pretty penny to live in a smallish house (quite possibly a double-wide trailer) with neighbours close by. When we were looking for a home here, we found that if we were willing to consider a home that wasn’t tied to the power grid and town water, our dollar could go a lot further.
It Suits Our Lifestyle and Personalities
As parents of seven kids (five grown and flown), living off the grid but still within an hour’s drive of town suits us. There’s an airport, so our big kids, extended family and friends can come out to visit us.
There’s a hospital and vet in town, a library, and a hospital and good medical services for our daughter who lives with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. I can get yarn for knitting, fat quarters for quilting, and any groceries we can’t produce ourselves. (Okay, all we produce at the moment is rhubarb, raspberries, tomatoes and herbs but I have high hopes, friends.)
As I run my business from home, try my hand at homesteading and homeschool our two youngest children, living off grid yet close to city amenities fits our family lifestyle. Plus we absolutely LOVE our home. The view over the lake is spectacular. We swim, fish, splash, boat, and the lake provides all the water we need for our off grid water system.
Why Are You Interested in Living Off The Grid?
If you’re thinking about moving to a home that’s off the grid, ask yourself why. Some common reasons we hear include:
- to be off the energy grid
- more self-sufficient
- to save money
- to feel more connected with nature
- to get away from people
- the challenge
Also, think about just how energy- independent you want to be.
Make your answers as specific as possible. Remember, no two off-grid lifestyles are necessarily the same. For example, some people want to get away from others. Yet we have neighbours within shouting distance and we like it. In fact, one of our dearest friends lives right next door on his own beautiful acreage.
Being honest with yourself about why you want to live off the grid. This will help you choose a location, house style, energy source, and acreage that best suits you and your family. And the better it suits you, the more likely you are to succeed in this incredibly fulfilling lifestyle.
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This post is part of the Farm Fresh Tuesday Blog Hop!