Long time lurker, and I decided it’s finally time to interact! I love reading about everyone’s experiences and ideas, and I wonder if there is a likeminded group of permies in my neighborhood where I can actually witness the efforts and results, so I know what I’m getting into.
I am in the very beginning stages: I plan to find a piece of land, and build a little piece of paradise for myself. To be quite honest, I’m overwhelmed with the getting started part. While my goal is to eliminate (or at least severely reduce) bills, I wonder about the reality of self-suffiency: Will I need to entirely change my lifestyle to disclude internet?! How do you all incorporate your internet? Does your off grid electricity handle your device(s)?
I think your questions are common to most of us when we start out. And I think it helps to think of it as a journey; one that we all take step by step. Having a primary goal is a start, and from that a plan of steps and sub-goals has really helped me. One thing you'll need to decide, is how you personally define self-sufficiency. What does it mean to you? What do you want it to mean? I don't think there's a right-or-wrong answer to that. If we own land, we have to pay taxes. And very few of us can make our own salt. Internet? That's up to you. I know of a lot of off-gridders who are on the internet, and a lot of them are here on Permies!
I agree that it means lifestyle changes for sure. And that means re-learning not only how we do things, but also the way we think about things. I've encountered a lot of eye-openers along the way! I also agree that Permies is the place to find like-minded folks. Glad you joined!
I can only speak to my experience but I moved to an off-grid southern Oregon property from the SF Bay Area. I had made changed to my lifestyle prior to moving, grew a lot of food on my little suburban lot. Gathering skills prior to the move helped me but the amount of work to set up a new household is staggering. While our monthly bills are small, when systems go down repairs can be very expensive and you learn to do without, at least in the short term. Building your infrastructure (water systems, fencing, potential earthworks) is also very expensive. I am not looking at our property as a money making endeavor but renting out bits of land or other things can give you money for projects.
We have internet and a large solar system to handle electrical needs. There is very little cell phone service on our property, so our phone calls utilize wifi calling. In a pinch, we can climb to a high point if the power or internet is out, like during the fires. Cell phones and laptops don't use that much energy, and have internal batteries, making them a good choice for off grid. Other appliances and tools, it really depends on what you want, and how much you are willing to spend.