The Dream vs. The Reality
There are many people that dream of a simple life living offgrid in a “little cabin” in the woods or mountains somewhere. I see and hear every day people making comments and posts about it on Facebook and other Social Media.
They will post a picture of a small offgrid cabin in a mountain meadow or other idealistic setting and make comments like “ I had much rather live here than in a city”. They visualize leaving all their problems behind in the city and living a carefree existence free from responsibility in a beautiful and tranquil setting.
The reality of the situation can be quite different than most people visualize. When you relocate from the city you are leaving many of your city problems behind, that’s true. What does not occur to most people though, is that you acquire an entirely different set of problems that you did not have in the city.
Cities have many undesirable things such as crowds, constant noise, crime, vandalism, gangs, drugs, high cost for housing, and more. Any time you have a concentration of people you are going to have to deal with these things.
Cities also offer many conveniences that you are not going to find in a rural environment. Stores where you can purchase almost anything, employment, entertainment, culture, medical care, schools, emergency services, and many other things are always nearby.
People that are accustomed to city life may be poorly prepared for the problems of living offgrid in the mountains and the transition can be difficult.
In the rural environment you still have some of the less desirable things, you just have less of them because there are fewer people.
We have to travel miles to the nearest store and a trip to town usually takes all day. If we want something out of the ordinary we have to order it and wait. Then you have to make another trip to town to pick it up.
Living offgrid means that you will have no electricity or you will have to make your own with solar, wind, or a generator of some sort. You will have to plan your electricity usage so you don’t exceed your ability to produce it. You will no longer have access to the unlimited source of electricity which the national grid provides.
You make your own living here or travel to a job in a town and the pay scale is usually less than you would like. While the cost of some things is less than in the city (such as land), the cost of others is higher due to having to be transported from their source (such as groceries and fuel).
The only emergency services you’ll find here are the Rural Fire Department, the Life Flight helicopter, and the Sheriff’s Department. All of which will take so long to get there that you had better be prepared to deal with emergencies yourself at least until they can get to you.
Living offgrid in the woods or mountains has many benefits; the scenery, the wildlife, and peacefulness, the feeling of independence and freedom is not the least of these.
For those of us that have already made the move, the knowledge that we are not dependent upon public services for our welfare, and the beauty and tranquility as well as the privacy of our daily environment more than compensate for any convenience we may have left behind in the city.
The dreamers will continue to dream of living offgrid but most will never make the move. Living offgrid is not for everyone. Going from a city lifestyle with all the conveniences of a city to an offgrid rural lifestyle is an extreme change. It takes a level of motivation and commitment that most will never have.