Is It Time To Go Off-Grid?
What is ‘going off-grid’ I hear you say. Well, I’m pretty certain it’s exactly what you think it is. I
suppose you could muster your own definition much the same, but fundamentally it’s switching-off from the
chaotic life we so willingly partake in. This leads me to my experience (albeit a tamer version), essentially, it
wasn’t initially our intention to go off-grid, but it just seemed easier that way. In September this year, we took a
trip up to Scotland to visit family and I fell wholly in love with the pine-scented paradise in the north, full of
stunning lochs, mountain passes and spectacular views of nature.
On our first day I felt as though we’d woken up in some far away country, not one thats a 25 minute plane
ride away. What probably contributed to this was the fact the family we were staying with live surrounded
by mountains and nature reserves. The first noticeable difference was the climate, it was discernibly colder
and fresher than London, once we’d eaten some breakfast (probably 2 pastries-too-many for me, as always) we set
off to our first destination. Driving through the winding, hilly roads I was in awe of the scenery and atmosphere,
it was so calm, collected and natural. Driving round the bend with a backing track of about 30 camera shots
per second, we came across our first loch – I know, Scotland has as many lochs as London does pubs (not a
comparison we should be proud of) but it was still special seeing our first one. The final thing that resonated
with me was the pace of life there – at one point we pulled into the local Sainsburys (by local I mean 20 minute
drive away) and it was clearly the main superstore for that entire area, yet everyone was relaxed, in no rush
and just taking their time seemingly untouched by the stresses of the ‘weekly shop’.
Subsequently, I hear you asking ‘why bother? why not just take a holiday?’ Well, for us, the urge for simpleness
and clarity stands as a response against the difficulty and culpability that often go with 21st-century life,
unfortunately. But if that isn’t enough for you, there’re four key motivating factors. a) Economy – it’s dead cheap.
b) Ecology – it’s sustainable and responsible, plus renewable technology makes it achievable (which is why towns
like Tyalgum, 300 people strong, in New South Wales, Australia are now attempting it). c) Existential – gaining
survival skills like collecting rainwater or cooking over a fire is more prudent than, say, majoring in English lit, and
d) Exhaustion – step away from common society and reconnect with things such as nature and fireside sing-alongs.
“As much as humans incline towards laziness, we also like a little difficulty in our lives. No sooner do we make
food abundant with modern agriculture and refrigeration, we invent complicated diets and intolerances to make
eating hard again. No sooner do we eliminate most manual jobs, we invent gyms to perform as leisure the sort
of manual work we were once paid for. And no sooner do we bring electricity and sanitation to the masses, we make
not having them an aspirational lifestyle choice” – Richard Godwin