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Ever wanted to run off to an island or some other beautiful remote place? No more horrible envelopes with the little windows and no more slogging away at a job you don't enjoy or that's just plain stressful. Freedom!

That dream is closer than you think. You don't necessarily have to run away to the middle of nowhere, but you could do that too if you'd like. Living off the grid is becoming more and more popular. Electricity from the grid alone is so expensive, never mind general living costs.

Going off the grid partially or fully is a great way to ease some of that pressure, but it can take a lot of getting used to and if roughing it isn't your dream life, you will likely need to invest quite a bit of money to get to living close to the way you are living now.

Still, making these changes are well worth it. Not sure where to start or what living off the grid even is? Let's get into those nitty-gritty details.

  1. What is Going Off the Grid?

When you are off the grid, you are essentially off the city's power grid. You can take it further by making use of a well or a tank to catch water and using a septic tank to take care of your sewerage too. This will mean that you are fully off the grid.

Some people do it the other way around by getting a septic tank and using a well, but still staying on the electricity grid. Some people also produce their own electricity selling the excess to the city or switching to the city's electricity grid when their self-produced power runs out.

You can rough it which is really like prolonged basic camping, but you can also convert your home or buy some land and set your homestead up there. You can even grow your own food. It all depends on your preferences and the law.


2. Electricity Options

Going off-grid can seem scary, but depending on your budget, there are a range of options:

  • Solar power

  • Batteries

  • Generators

You could also go the wind power or water power route, but this depends on what you can afford and if the area you live in is suitable for these options. Off-the-gridders find that a combination of the top three power supplies works best as depending on the size and number of solar panels, the system can get overwhelmed when using appliances with elements at the same time.

If you have the option of staying connected to the grid but installing solar panels, surplus energy can be sold to the city. Despite the initial cost of buying the solar panels and having them installed, you will ultimately save. It's also cheaper than connecting to the grid if you are buying land to build on.


3. The Deal with Water and Sewerage

  • Septic Tanks

Septic tanks can degrade pretty easily if you don't take care of them. Should you get one installed, take care of it by never using harsh chemicals in it and keeping foreign objects and anything other than toilet paper from getting in there. Installing a septic system also depends on the area as there should be no cars that drive over the pipes and the tanks should be far away from buildings and water sources.

  • Water

You can get a well or borehole installed, provided the area is suitable and you can also install a solar, wind or hand pump. It can be expensive, but so is being hooked up to the city's water. So if you are buying land to build on, keep that in mind. You can also catch rain and use it for flushing the toilet or if you get a filtration system to purify the water, you may be able to use it as drinking water too.


4. Grow Your Own Food

You can easily grow veggies in your garden. Even in a small space, the use of hydroponics or growing smaller veggies or spices in a crate can work.


5. Some More Things to Bear in Mind

It can take some time getting used to doing things in a new way. You will likely need to learn patience, and if you are away from the city, adjusting to the peace and quiet might take some time. But who couldn’t do with a little more peace?!
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As long as you consider all your options, you may find that it's one of the best decisions you've ever made regarding your living situation. Independence, sustainable green living, lower living costs and a more peaceful way of life… if that's what you want, living off the grid could be your best decision yet!

Author: Cheanné Lombard

Author: Cheanné Lombard