If saving money isn't independence enough, try off-the-grid living
While Roscoe Bartlett served as GOP congressman from Maryland for 20 years he constantly reminded people to be prepared for what seemed to be the least likely situations.
“He latched onto a particularly apocalyptic issue, one almost no one else ever seemed to talk about: America’s dangerously vulnerable power grid,” reported Politico. “In a late-night speech on the House floor, Bartlett hectored the nearly empty chamber: If the United States doesn’t do something to protect the grid, and soon, a terrorist or an act of nature will put an end to life as we know it.”
When Bartlett was voted out of office, Bartlett took his concerns to heart and began living off the grid in a remote area of West Virginia.
“The lakeside retreat made up of five solar-powered cabins — with a sixth under construction — is nestled in a wooded area on a 4,000-foot elevation four hours from Washington, D.C.," reported the Daily Mail.
Like many other survivalists, Bartlett makes his food, collects his water and lives independently from the power grid.
If the tiny-house movement Deseret News National reported on last June is the vegetarianism in the world of financial independence then the off-the-grid movement is raw-food veganism of that same world.
Most people who live off the grid, however, do not live on large compounds like Bartlett. CBC reported on David and Sally Cox who went off the grid and the struggles they went through: "It was not boring from the get-go," David Cox said.
A minidocumentary about their lives is available on Youtube where they talk about the physical stresses involved in off-the-grid living as well as how unprepared they were at first to make the transition:
“I had to build a house,” said Sally Cox. “Somehow I had no preconceived notion of what that entailed. It entailed carrying a lot of nails and carrying a lot of materials and wearing out steel-toed work boots, which I had bought thinking they would be kind of cute for the photo-ops. So it totally turned my mind inside out.”
"For me, the pleasure of the off-grid cabin had to do with walking, chopping wood and stoking the fire,” said Reanna Alder in an article she wrote for BoingBoing. “In other words, a more direct, physical engagement with the world. My family, normally distracted from each other by our screens, instead sat close, cooked together, walked in the snow, played games and fell asleep in the flickering red shadow of the stove. It was a luxurious retreat, and when there was a chance to stay a second night I didn’t have to think twice.”
According to Alder, there are many types of off-the-grid lifestyles from preppers who prepare for emergency situations to environmentalists who want to lower their global footprint to hedonists who enjoy the struggle of living a difficult life. She says one can choose what level of off-the-grid living one wants to participate in and, therefore, choose one’s level of independence.
Here is a recent fabulous video of what living off the grid could be like: