I have always been fascinated by people that can live completely off the grid. It’s not an easy pursuit. Especially when they choose a hardy area like the desert or far away from any modern conveniences. Often though the stories are about people that choose to live off the grid in an extreme way. Now as much as Christopher McCandless, who decided to wander into the vast land of Alaska and never made it out, intrigues me I’m more interested in those that are able to find a balance between the two very different worlds.
The other day I came across a “living off the grid” story. It was about a husband and wife that had figured out how to live off the grid but were balancing it with modern life of Skype, internet and blogging. They share their story and knowledge on their website. They are a great example of balancing the two worlds.
They are only working 5-10 hours a week because that’s all they need to in order to pay for necessities. Are they giving up things in order to that? Most would say yes. But what are they really giving up? They gave up the rat race and the “get it now” lifestyle. They gave up being slave to a job so they can pay a mortgage. They gave up a fancy car. They gave up things that doesn’t always enhance our lives but complicate them and keeps us in the rat race.
What did they gain? Time, knowledge and how to be innovative. Think they can survive in the harshest of environment should a disaster happen? You bet. They have learned skills our modern society doesn’t teach us or forces us to learn.
Can we leave the rat race without joining the “off the grid” lifestyle? Of course, but most of us didn’t make smart choices saving enough money to retire early. Most of us need to work in order to pay our bills.
But what we can do is to decide what is more important to us. The rat race or giving up things that keeps us in the rat race.
So if you are craving a simpler life, want to get off the hamster wheel, want to leave the rat race behind then you have to pick and choose what’s most important to you. A big, nice house with a mortgage or a smaller, less expensive place. A nice car or a paid for beater. It’s not always easy but when you cut your expenses down you can choose to work less or work differently like pursuing your dream. Just like this couple that choose to live differently and work less so that they can enjoy life more.
Would you be willing to give up some of the modern amenities and a fancy house in order to gain 30 hours of free time a week?