Six years is a very long time and this is a very long blog! In the next six years, for my life especially, my oldest son will be 14 years of age. Giovanni will be 12 years old and the baby…well, he wont be a baby anymore at 9. The age of my children is a big part of the plan. I do not expect my kids to embrace the wilderness like I do. They seem excited about it today but I have to consider what I would be asking them to leave behind in the future. Maybe they will love their school and have many friends they don’t want to leave. Maybe they love their electronics too much and would never commit to uprooting our lives.
I hope that through this time period of adjusting small things in our life, one at a time, they will begin to see their path for themselves. I hope that I can nurture a love for nature in their hearts over the next six years that they are excited to go. I am well aware that there is a big possibility that my children will be reluctant to go. I will cross that bridge when I get there. However, I will be stepping closer and closer and living a more fulfilled lifestyle leading up to that moment.
The other big factor that supports a six year plan is the loan on my home. My house will be paid off in 6 years and this is very important to me. That will be an accomplishment that I wont sacrifice. Will I sell the house then to help with the off grid living? Will I keep the house and rent it out for means of income while living off grid? Will I keep it unoccupied and visit society once in awhile? These are still to be determined and probably not decided upon until much later.
I developed a detailed plan for the next six years and I strongly suggest that you do the same. Here is an overview to wrap your head around.
Year One: Dream
Really consider what off-grid living means to you. Ask yourself those stupid questions the skeptics will ask. Things like, how will you eat? What will you use for power? How will you cook? Will you eat meat? Do you know where your human waste goes now? How will you deal with that in the off-grid life? Will you have internet? This first year is really about soul searching and really outlining exactly how “simple” you want life to be. I quote simple only because the more “simple” you are trying to live, the more complicated planning becomes.
Once you determine how you want to live, now you need to brainstorm the skills needed. I have a long list of required skills that I need to learn to live the life I want.
Spend the entire first year learning these skills. Take classes. Read books. Ask questions of people who are already do this. I encourage you to search youtube for off-grid peeps who are living similar to your vision and follow them. If nothing else, you will gain more questions to ask yourself. For instance, I follow this amazing couple that has been off-grid for the last 10 years. They give you a list of the top 10 things they wish they had known. However, one of the first videos talked about the choice of living structure. They chose to live in a yurt. A yurt is a tent house. I then started to think…what would be my choice? I was not a fan of the yurt, so I started to research the best ideas to support off-grid living. I made my choice to build with cob. I will talk about the blueprint plans I have for the cob house much later. Like I said in previous blog about your mind set, I had been dreaming for the last 7 years. You will spend a lot of time doing this and your year one may turn into a few more than expected. That’s ok.
Make a goal for this year. I will share my goal for 2016. By the end of 2016, I want to be able to say that I have completely converted to zero-waste living. I will need to learn skills to make my own products at home like toothpaste, deodorant, shampoos and soaps. I will have to learn canning and only buy fresh foods. I will have to learn the best way to compost. No more bagged veggies or prepackaged meat. I will learn to shop package free and eliminate all waste. In 2017, I want to go the entire year not using a trash can in my home.
You really have to ask yourself what you are willing to sacrifice in year one. Set the expectation for yourself…no one else is going to.
Year Two: Pick Land and Accumulate Tools
Once you determine how it is you want to live, you then have to pick land. This may seem easy, but it will be almost as difficult as year one. You have already started taking baby steps to alter your life as it is now. Now, you will have to closely examine all of your work in year one and find land that truly supports that way of living. If you choose to live off septic and well…don’t you think it’s important to have land where water is not difficult to pump? Or land with soil the supports a drain field compliant with EPA? I know I just mentioned a government agency and considered their opinion. Here’s why. I don’t want to hear that something is just illegal. I want the science behind it and I also would not want to poison my crops with poor waste management because I chose to be ignorant.
You won’t be buying any land in year two, but you will have outlined what you need from it based upon year one’s reflection and planning. You will make a list of things your land must have to support you easily.
There will still be skills to be acquired and this year you must continue to support the learning habits you initiated the first year. This keeps you passionate and interested. This will keep you from falling into your 9 to 5 without working towards your goals. This means you will start investing in tools. For me, I will have some different expenses than before. Once I master canning, I may invest in the pressure cooker and tons of supplies to continue this skill. As I go package free, I may need to purchase reusable packages. Plastic egg crates, canvas totes, glass wear and more. These are all one-time expenses to change my forever.
Year Three: Now Let’s get Serious About Land
This would be an appropriate time to jump. You have spent 2 or more years thinking and researching, now you need to jump. You have made up your mind about the life you want to live and you’ve researched the land needed to support this. Start looking for land that meets all the requirements. If you are financially ready, BUY!
Year Four: Start Something…Anything
You have your land. Do something! You have this property that is perfect for you. You searched all year and found the right place at the right price. By now, you have considered the waste management and water situation. Make something happen. For me, I will start construction by digging. Get the septic system in place and well completed. Makes sense to me to start from the bottom, under ground. Do you plan to build your home yourself? Do you have the time to do this? Will you have someone help you? These are all questions you will have your own answers to. However, I will be building my cob home myself with the help of people who want to help and those who want to learn. This means that I need to make time in year four. I need to determine how much time is needed and get it going! Start something!
Year Five: Cut Ties
Again, this means something different to everyone. If I plan to sell my home, maybe I put it on the market. If I keep my home, maybe it means I try to get it paid off a little sooner. This will be the year that I spend ending this chapter of my life. Maybe I take extra time off to visit family and take the year off of social media and stick to blogging off-grid style. This year will be a turning point. You have really shaped your ideas and implemented some serious life changes. You have already been living a new life style over the past 5 years and have truly mastered several skills. Your confidence in yourself will be enough to push you through. Cutting ties may be the hardest thing, but it will also be the most liberating.
Year Six: Bye Felicia
You had to know my humor would come out eventually.
Moral of the story…this will take time. Over the next six years, I will share my personal journey. This blog is to help others kick start their imagination. The results are open ended and room was left for you to insert your dreams to the text. This is my general sketch of a plan, but is not the guide. Follow along my journey and learn something new. 🙂