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Dropping out of the grid to live a simple life – being wholly responsible for oneself – appeals to the pioneer spirit in many people. Men and women have left the noise and stress of a modern urban existence to seek the romanticized peace and beauty of raw nature, sometimes with a tragic result.
Proponents of dropping out claim a variety of advantages for those who successfully make the transition.
Disconnecting from the grid is neither easy nor cheap unless you are prepared to give up some or all of the conveniences of modern life, including light, heat, and instant communications. While reducing electricity consumption is relatively easy with the availability of solar panels and windmills, securing potable water and disposing of human waste is just as important and more complicated.
The term “living off the grid” appeared in the mid-1990s and is credited to environmentalist Nick Rosen, founder of Off-Grid.net. Some define off-grid as being independent of electrical utilities and having a smaller carbon footprint (“going green”). Some claim it to be a self-imposed exile from the modern world and its conveniences (“dropping out”), while others define it as being anonymous (“being untraceable”). Andrew McKay, a journalist with Survival Mastery, calls it “living without any dependence on the government, society, and its products.
Smaller Environmental Footprint. Residents living off the grid typically live in smaller houses, consume less power even if they use renewable energy, produce less waste, and recycle regularly.
Greater Personal Satisfaction. Being able to make do and solve your problems is psychologically empowering. Working in the soil, making things with your own hands, and learning new skills like carpentry, food canning, and meat curing is satisfying and intellectually invigorating. Many people discover a new level of creativity and better focus.
Lower Stress and Anxiety. Living simply costs less, from the expense of utilities, to the costs of food and transportation.
Better Health. People who move to the wilderness usually trade hours of sitting at a desk in an office and watching television night after night for a more active lifestyle. Walking replaces riding in an automobile, and fast food is nonexistent. As a consequence, these folks are less likely to develop cardiovascular disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some types of cancer (colon, prostate, and breast), according to clinic studies..