Could you go truly off the grid?

Discussion in 'General Camping Discussion Forum' started by skeetercampsintexas, Nov 16, 2015.

  1. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    I have thought and thought about this question many times. With recent events around the world I think about it more and more frequently. Am I a "prepper"? No, not at all. But I sit back and think about how our lives are controlled by the almighty big brother, between wage taxes, property taxes, state taxes, school taxes, you get the idea. I look at what we have become as a society, and having served much more than a fair share of time overseas in a war fighting for our freedom, I think ill of where we are and the direction we are headed. By no means would I like this discussion to become political, although many of my reasons of thinking of this subject are for that exactly.

    I sit down often and think to myself....I'm a successful hunter with a full freezer. I catch fish each year during spawn seasons that feed my family well. I can vegetables the old school way. However my thumb is far from green, this can be remedied. I own land with 2 wells, no electricity, and game aplenty, given proper management techniques of course. Why could I not grab my pup, lose the job, do odd jobs to make enough money to pay the property taxes each year, and just disappear?

    Something in the back of my mind keeps telling me, "It can't be legal to live that kind of lifestyle, you're just nuts!". But the more I think about it the more I see that I am fully capable of living an old world lifestyle, off the grid as we would say today, solar generation for electricity, outhouses, farm, fish, and hunt. Go to my land, slowly build a small house while the pup serves as temporary housing, and just survive.

    I so envy the animals in the wild in that they wake up and just take care of themselves, no worries aside from the basics of food, water, and shelter. I long to be anything other than a human being, forced to be civilized, forced to do this, forced to do that. Our freedom in one sense is far from freedom, and in other ways we have too much freedom. Why can we not just wake up, find our next meal, water ourselves, and enjoy the day amongst our pack? Why is it when someone wants to do so they're considered to be a law breaker who doesn't want to conform to society?

    I am none of these things, but all I want is to be with family, and good company and not have to worry about making money to pay someone else to do something for me that I am capable of doing myself.

    Sorry for the long winded explaination, but I pose a question. If needed, do you have the skills it takes to truly go "off the grid"? As well, does anyone know how someone could obtain this style of life without having to move to BF Alaska well north of the circle?
     
  2. R00

    R00 Active Member

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    I consider these questions, and more, every day. If I owned private land as you do, I'd have tried this long ago...
     
  3. fletcher4pa

    fletcher4pa Member

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    Years ago when I had a subscription to Mother Earth News I had thoughts about this. There was an ongoing article written by a family that had done just that ( I believe in Canada). It was interesting. At the time we were putting out a large garden, cannned and froze a lot of our food, husband hunted (and still does) in all seasons in 2 states. But there is still a ton of things I just couldn't live without. Now that the kids are grown and I'm a lot older there's no way I would want to.
    Kathy
     
  4. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    Living off grid doesn't always mean going without. It does mean alot of work to keep your family feed and worm. I believe that the hardiest part of going off grid is getting the money to do so. Than you still need to have some sort of cash flow for the stuff you cant grow or make yourself.
     
  5. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    I agree with this entirely. I recall as a kid the seasonal get together in town when everyone sold their cash crop. However these days I don't see why one couldn't barter for the few things you couldn't grow yourself such as coffee, sugar, etc. What I would like to know is if something like that is legally possible in today's society?

    Years ago you worked for your food, built your own home, and took care of your own kids. Now we have to go to work to pay someone else to do almost all of these things for us.
     
  6. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Well-Known Member

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    Could I do it, maybe. Would I ever attempt going fully off grid, no and for several reasons.

    My main reason would be to obtain replacement parts to repair systems that break down, namely the solar grid you were mentioning. If I lived somewhere up north where my family and I could get by without A/C easily, had enough land to produce enough dead wood to keep a small house warm (my FIL does this part already), and yet still enough land to farm enough for a full year's worth of crops even during the more severe droughts and weather events, then sure it would be possible, but I just don't see myself doing it. Also at some point you will have some kind of medical expenses. Yes our ancestors lived off the land more and didn't always rely on others as much as we do now, but they also had a higher rate of diseases. Ailments that would have been life threatening then and still would be if you didn't have access to a doctor's care, are now curable. If you're hunting and fishing, then unless you're making your own gear or stocking it all up before you go off grid, then you'll have to have to make some purchases to get by at some point.

    As for your legality question, yes it is perfectly legal, so long as you follow certain rules. Rules like paying property taxes, income taxes, and if you have children you'd have to be able to provide the items that if you otherwise didn't CPS would get involved. You'd also need to make sure you're following all of the game rules surrounding hunting and fishing. If you plan to keep a vehicle, then you'll have to follow the yearly inspections, registration, and maintenance. I would think that if you were going to go off the grid though, that you would get rid of any vehicles as they cost money to operate, no way around it.

    Yes, I did mention income taxes. Even though you would be bartering for things, I believe the IRS has rules set up for such a circumstance. If you don't "make" enough though, you'd just be filing to say that you didn't make enough.

    What you're talking about basically sounds like going Amish, with the exception of living in a community of others that are like minded and without the religious implications. I'm sure if you wanted to find a community like that, that there are some around. There are enough people wanting to do something like this out there.
     
  7. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    To answer your basic question, no, I don't believe I could live successfully isolated off grid.

    The way of life we live developed (evolved) over many years of struggle. Mankind discovered they could live more comfortably and have longer lives by living as a community.

    Why should I have to know how to do and produce everything necessary to survive? Bob is efficient at this, Joe is efficient at that, and Mary is efficient at the other thing. By us all working together and trading or bartering services we can all live a better life.

    Keep in mind that cultures that lived self sufficiently in the past and the cultures that still do so now usually live in poverty. They work from sun up until after sun down just to barely survive and also typically have much shorter life spans.

    Although the concept of self sufficiency is a very romantic notion, life as a community is much more comfortable.
     
  8. ccptbo

    ccptbo Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Skeeter, for posing such an interesting question, and with it, some great responses.
    Unfortunately, my response won't be as elaborate.
    Yes, I'd love to attempt to live off the grid. Such as in Little House on the Prairie days! I just don't think it's feasible for me or many others in this day in age. If I was younger....maybe age makes no difference... Too many responsibilities now....but would there be more living off the grid? Probably.
    I'd like to try it. I would probably fail miserably but at least I could say I tried it.
     
  9. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    I can agree with you adrian, as well as you customer. Money is indeed a necessary evil in today's world. Vehicles, fuel, repairs, etc. Now let me somewhat correct my statement of being off the grid by mainly saying my ideal lifestyle in such would be to live to work, not work to live. Quality of life in our society sucks. Each day I get up, take my kid to school, come home make myself breakfast, go to work, come home from work, eat din din, then go to sleep only to do the same thing the next day. The days I have off I always have something needing to be done that takes up my time, doesn't really make well for a decent day off. I'm a normal citizen, I pay my taxes, I work, I contribute to our society, I aid my neighbors when they need something I can do.

    What I would like to do is move to my land, which is taxed as a farm at a whopping $160 a year. Now building a residence would change the tax of course to an amount I'm unsure of. But the idea revolves around not working, but rather being able to spend more time with my family. I'm fully capable of providing the basics needed for survival. Now I see the initial investment would be great having a very energy efficient and small home that is easily heated or cooled, run by solar or wind generation. Something where the home is mostly self sufficient. Everyone always brings up AC. Now I love my AC in texas, don't get me wrong. However AC is a reletively new concept when you think about it, and human beings are quite old when compared. How did we make it without it? The answer is obvious, we just did. Onto the up keep and maintenance of batteries, etc. There's an added expense. I know I would need money for SOME thins, but not nearly what we require, or think we require, in today's society. I don't NEED a phone, I don't NEED tv, if I'm working my own spread I don't NEED a car, if I had a home that I've built I won't be paying rent/mortgage, I don't NEED these things, they are luxuries and in my eyes a waste of money.

    68 acres is plenty of space to provide crops needed for a family of 3, stockpiling and canning those goods in a cool room underground. Speaking of underground, a house built there will heat and cool itself quite well.

    I reload ammunition, 50 bullets can last me 7-8 years. Broadheads for my bows can be sharpened, although arrows and bolts break, it happens, and they need to be replaced.

    To every question there is always an answer. But I still sit back and wonder if it's possible. If you report no income to the IRS then how did you manage to pay your property taxes? These are the questions I don't know how to answer.
     
  10. adrianpglover

    adrianpglover Well-Known Member

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    The IRS doesn't tax you on stockpiled money. So that's one way to take care of that question. The other way is that since you have dependents and other deductions, if you make a small enough amount of money throughout the year, you actually don't have to pay into taxes, although it's still a good idea to file.

    You are correct that if you have a properly built home, AC is not completely necessary, even in Texas. The temperature of your environment does make in regards to how well your body heals from illnesses, especially in little ones, but as you say, it's not a necessity. I just think it would be easier to live off the land in an area that doesn't get as hot.

    It sounds like you are wanting some kind of lifestyle change that allows you to spend more time with your family. First I have to ask, what kind of hours do you spend at your job and how much time do you spend commuting daily? Would your work allow you to shift your schedule either earlier or later in the day so you could commute in off peak hours? I was able to do this recently and it helped out a great deal in the amount of time I get with my family. Another option would be to find a job that allows you to work from home. This would cut out commuting altogether. As for the weekends being full of doing things around the house, there's always the option of paying someone else to do it so you can spend time with family. Not saying that any of these suggestions are options for you, just saying it sounds like you long for a different lifestyle.
     
  11. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    I have to wholeheartedly disagree. Life in our society is the best life that mankind has ever had. Rather than working 18 hours a day like our ancestors just to barely survive, for most of us all of our basic needs are met working only 20 hours per week.

    Think about it, eliminate the car, the camper, the nice furniture, central heating and air conditioning, how much of your workday is for the basics of survival?

    Our ancestors worked from dawn to well past dusk just to have food to eat and a roof over their head. They sat on logs or rocks, not nice upholstered furniture. They felled trees and chopped wood for heat and were still cold more than they were warm. After all this hard work they then died at the ripe old age of 45.

    I am veering off from your original subject because it seems you seek a simpler life, not necessarily an off grid life.

    Don't like your current situation? Change it! How much do you spend on entertainment, internet, television, cable, satellite, movies, Netflix, and whatever else? None of it is important or necessary.

    Get out of debt, stop being a slave to the lender! Examine every aspect of where your money goes and how you spend your life. Cut the frills. You don't need to go full hermit mode to find happiness and balance.

    I work full time by choice but over half of my pay goes into savings. We own two homes, two RVs, and live a very comfortable (but simple) life. We have been debt free for many years. It is all because we examine every decision and every expenditure. We weigh the cost versus the reward.

    The bottom line of a happy balanced life comes from making many tiny decisions correctly. The sum of all those decisions is happiness if done correctly. Nearly all misery I have experienced has been a result of my own mistakes.
     
  12. JT105

    JT105 Member

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    Many people live the simple lifestyle today. There is a lot of manual labor involved (as mentioned in previous posts). I think it would be neat to have a getaway to visit, but I do like the luxury of my home in the suburbs.

    I saw an article about living in a remote location versus living in a small apartment or house. Things are more expensive in the boonies: travel, food, entertainment, human fellowship, land improvements and repairs. The author added all these expenses and determined that it was cheaper for him to live in a nice place in the city than to pay all those extra expenses. He got a place on the bus line and only had to pay rent and utilities. Everything he needed was on the bus line or within walking distance. Simple lifestyle.

    Different strokes for different folks, I guess.
     
  13. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    Money is not necessarily the issue in my case. I don't enjoy giving it away, but that's a topic for a different time and place other than here on the portal. I would rather be broke and happy than rich and sad any day. I see time spent with your family, whether working or playing as the best times you can have. We all are slaves to work. You work to make money to pay your rent, you work to make money to buy your groceries, etc. Now I realize I'm far from the norm, but why work to buy groceries when I could grow or hunt on my own? Why work to pay the rent when I could build a house from milled lumber on my land. Again there are obvious things that someone needs money for in the beginning and in the long term. With the way our society is growing I just want to get away, be with my family, and live my life not worrying about who shot who, what color they were, what religion they might have been and so on. I look back at my time in the war and think to myself "what was the point of that when none of us can get along amongst ourselves anyways, let alone with other countries". We have become a country full of greed, racism, and spite for our fellow man, and I agree with absolutely none of it. I'm tired of the hussle of daily life that we call our "freedom" and "the American dream". If our dream is to be what we are today, then maybe we need to check our sleep schedule, because something is pretty jacked up.
     
  14. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    For myself it is because I can make $25 an hour at my job rather than the equivalent of $5 an hour gardening. I enjoy a little gardening as a hobby but the big farms are far more efficient than I. On the other hand I can use my skill set to earn a pay check and then buy the food.

    I am a prepper, but don't have any delusions about my ability to be self sufficient long term. My preps are to get us over a temporary hump until systems get back in place.
     
  15. Customer

    Customer Well-Known Member

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    You come across sounding rather sad at this time.

    Whether we are happy or unhappy with our circumstances is more of an internal thing than external. To a large extent, what shapes our life isn't the things that happen to us or surround us, it is how we react to them and our attitude.

    You should do what makes you happy providing you don't trample anyone else rights on your way.

    Our ancestors had survival and self sufficiency skills taught to them from birth. I have not had that teaching so I fear that I will starve if left to my own devices.
     
  16. WingShot

    WingShot New Member

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    "Quality of life in our society sucks." Not for me.

    "We have become a country full of greed, racism, and spite for our fellow man." Not me. I'm not greedy, racist, or spiteful. You?

    "We all are slaves to work." Again, not me. Make a change.

    "None of us can get along amongst ourselves." Not true in my experience. We "get along" much more then we don't.

    My life gets better with every year I live it! I make it so.
     
  17. Txbum

    Txbum Pop up, Pop Top, Chill....Ahhhh

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    skeeter, you could build teardrops to have an income [:D]
     
  18. jnc

    jnc Welcome from New Hampshire

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    If you live in the camper you wont raise the taxes.
     
  19. skeetercampsintexas

    skeetercampsintexas Active Member

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    So let me pose another question or 2 to you folks. How many of you would rather be at work than with your family? How many out there enjoy working hard to make money to spend it on redundant things?

    As far as your comments wingshot, we all here (mostly [LOL]) get along. Yet we are like minded individuals here for a common ground. But a look at the majority, not all, of our country and we stand divided over one thing or another at all times. Granted that's the beauty of democracy, but I'm just so tired of people that I'd like to get far away from almost all of them. I am sad, customer. It sickens me to look at what the general public has turned into in our country. It breaks my heart to see the way we are. Now admittedly there are still good people out there, there are good people everywhere, no matter what country you may be in. You couldn't pay me enough money to willingly bring another child into this world to be raised around such madness.
     
  20. WingShot

    WingShot New Member

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    I understand what you're saying Skeeter, and really don't disagree with much of it. You mention raising children. Similar sentiments played a big part in our decision not to have kids. And that was over twenty years ago!

    Of course I would rather spend more time with my family and friends, but I also realize that the j-o-b provides a means for the time we do have to be more enjoyable. The camper, the truck, the big and small vacations, hunting, fishing...and all that those entail. That's quality of life to me.

    As to getting along, I really don't like most people. I am far more conservative then most of my friends and all of my family. But even with the most liberal (almost), we agree on more things then that with which we disagree.

    My overall point is that we have a choice. One weighs the things that are important to him and his family, factors in the cost of achieving those things, and chooses which ones to fulfill. Make the best choice at the time, and move on.

    Edited to add:

    Just want to reiterate a point in my first reply: Each year of my life, almost 50 of them, has been better then the previous one! I see no reason why that should change in the immediate future. Just the fact that you own 60+ acres of "recreational" property indicates that your beating me at life. Cheers!
     

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