The Off-Grid Dream, by J.S.L.

I have endeavored to set my own off-grid plan into place. This is easier said than done. A machinist by trade, unemployed by government design, it is becoming more difficult to find the capital to go off-grid. Since late 2007 the job market in my area has collapsed. The only way to find employment is through a “temp” agency and the two jobs I have been lucky enough to get only lasted a few months each. What is worse is the fact that many employers are now engaging in discrimination against those of us that are unemployed, i.e. “unemployed need not apply”.

 As of May 2010 I am embarrassed to admit that I must now use food stamps in order to be able to continue paying the mortgage. As a single 45-yea- old owner of a home that I can’t sell now due to the housing market collapse, almost all of my finances go to trying to simply hold on to my home. Unfortunately this  trend is not sustainable for much longer since my unemployment has completely dried up. The time is upon me to exercise a motto from my childhood, “be prepared”. I never hunted before, but as of 2009 I have started to learn hunting as both a survival skill and a sustainable off-grid skill in both archery and rifle. Having had success in my first deer season I have gained some confidence that I can feed myself when the grocery stores disappear.  I have also begun gardening with non-GMO seeds. I have been very fortunate to put back a few months of storable food from Ready Reserve and e-Foods direct. I have also found some inexpensive tree covered property (5 acres) that is remote, about 23 miles to the nearest town (in Arizona) which is about 2,100 miles away from my home in Pennsylvania. Access to water will be a major issue (about $10,000 to drill a well with no guarantee of hitting water, or put a storage tank on the property and either haul or delivery.)
T here is also the issue of a permanent shelter. The best option I found in my research would be an insulated steel building kit. These kits can be assembled over a week-end with simple hand tools, but they are about $4,000 for one 20 x 30 x 12 kit from American Outback Buildings. This kit is the most complete of all I have researched. With four of these kits and a 25 x 25 gazebo you end up with about 2,100 sq. ft. cross shaped, open floor plan structure. After all that you still need to think about the interior–partitioning rooms, the inside plumbing, septic system, wiring for electric and a power source.

I feel a combination of wind, solar and a back-up propane generator would be the best system. Solar is expensive though, $6,000 to $12,000 for a strong system that would include a hybrid inverter (pure sine wave is not cheap) that will accommodate both solar and wind. Wind turbines are a bit easier on the wallet. From my research the turbine price tag will be around $3,000. Don’t forget that both systems will require batteries,. This brings into focus the voltage and total amp hours you will need. Alternative power systems are typically built with 12 volt, 24 volt, 36 volt, or 48 volt battery banks. I feel a 24v system would work out fine for my needs as long as I use propane for the stove. As you can see none of these steps are cheap, (you get what you pay for) but in order to be truly off the grid you must continue to move forward every chance you get.
Baby steps are all I can muster at present so I have also picked up an old, (1981) cheap motor home (code name “plan B”). Just in case my plan doesn’t reach completion before my home in Pennsylvania is taken away from me. Although I continue to hope for the best  (a new job at the hourly rate to thrive) I must be prepared for the worst (foreclosure), but the more baby steps taken now makes “the worst” less of an impact and easier to accumulate to further down the road.
I realize this off-grid topic is scary for anyone that seriously considers escape, but “we the people” have been under constant assault since 9-11. Now there is something new almost daily designed to instill fear into the populace of America such as 2012, extremists, Russian spies, the Gulf oil spill, Iran, North Korea, the list is endless. The question before each citizen is “how much are you willing to take before you act?” Remember… the level of tyranny you will live under is exactly the amount you are willing to accept.

I believe that getting off-grid, though scary can be achieved as long as you take a small piece at a time (baby steps). That has been my philosophy these past three years, I may not have achieved my dream yet, I may never see it complete but I endeavor daily and have reached a plateau. If everything else fails right now and I must vacate I have a piece of property, a way to get there and the survival skills to make a go of it. Not that life would get easier should this scenario transpire. Point of fact, life would get much rougher. I can only hope the world will step back from the brink. This criminal government will relent from killing our “God given” rights, corruption will stop and all the people of this world will join hands and sing “we are the world”. I can hope. I do not believe that to be the case though. It seems the situation is only getting worse and the bottom is nowhere in sight.

Survival preparation seems to be the only prudent move even if all that threatens us dissolves.   This is simply a compilation of my plans. I am sure that curve balls will be thrown that I have not thought of in my wildest dreams. But I am also sure that I will not allow myself to end up in some “tent city”. At an early age I was homeless, I have been that far down that my next meal came from a dumpster, and I carried all my worldly possessions in my backpack. I will not allow a repetition of that at this juncture in my life. I am not an expert in any field, I know a lot about a little, a little about a lot, but I don’t know everything about anything. I have not thought of every obstacle I will encounter, though I have tried to account for every contingency. I am prepared to address new challenges as they present themselves. Put together what you can, while you can.