If this blog ever hits any number of readers I think one of the first questions people would ask us would be why on earth we have decided to do such a drastic lifestyle change. Here are our reasons.
1) Getting out of Debt a.k.a Living Within our Means - this is the main reason and top priority for us going off grid. Being independent financially is a) the responsible thing to do, and b) it's the real solution to America's issues on a minuscule scale. Apparantly many people have justified and explained away their debt. People started doing this so much that at some point getting into debt even over 100k became the norm that was not frowned upon at all. After the research and figuring we have done we've decided this trend of thought is completely appalling and irrational.
You may say "but you have to wait it out. In "X" number of years the value will go up and you'll get your money back eventually." The most common one we heard was "A home is an investment." Let me explain why this advice was not productive for us. Last year we considered refinancing (which we could not do because we didn't own 10% of the home). After doing some math we found we would eventually pay extremely more, almost double, than the actual value of the home. If we completed our mortgage schedule as planned we would be spending over $250,000 over the 30 year life of the mortgage. A home valued at $136,000 in 2007 is not going to reach more than $250,000 in 30 years, especially not in this economy. There are times that I have truly felt had. Not by the bank, but by the common idea spread throughout our society that "living above your means is not wrong".
This point was long, but it is our main motivation and reason to be different and go off the beaten path, not to prove a point, but to do what we think is right for our family's long term goals.
2) The Healthful Lifestyle - There are many ways in which this simple life/self sustaining life is good for a person. I think most people would agree when I say that going off grid could be morally beneficial to anyone. In our journey we do wish to garden, have a few farm animals, and become somewhat self sustaining with food. This, to me is really the most exciting part of going off the grid. The other day I got excited when I saw a cheese vat on sale on craigslist. I became a giddy school girl with all the possibilities of my homemade goat cheese and having my own chicken eggs. Also the hard work that goes into being "eco-friendly" is good for a person. Working hard builds character and gets you off your rear end to make yourself beneficial to your family and the community.
3) The Joy and Learning of living in Nature - If you can stand to live a little out of the way from family and friends you can usually find some good priced pieces of land. We are excited to look for a wooded lot around 5 acres to live, garden, tend to, and play. Jake grew up on 11 acres of wooded land. He has many fond childhood memories of being in the woods and wouldn't trade it for anything. As we see our family growing it is something we desire to see our kids have. There are many opportunities to teach our children about life and living.
4) Be a Fountain, Not a Well - I heard this saying a while ago in the car and it hit me like a ton of bricks. It really is the ultimate selfless motivation for becoming self-sufficient. Being "self-sufficient" does not have to mean never asking for help or never letting anyone in your life. It means taking care of yourself so you can help others. If we constantly take take take and never give of our abundance what good will that ever do for anyone? Jesus said "It is better to give than to receive." This is really the spiritual foundation of the top three reasons." You could also say it is better to serve than to be served. Helping others is rewarding, is it not? So we as Americans need to stop saying "I need help" and start saying "I can do it, you can to, and we can help each other."
There is our vision in a nutshell. We look forward to sharing our journey with whoever is interested in this "off the grid" lifestyle.