It's time to swap the hum of traffic for the gentle rustle of leaves, the flicker of screens for the glow of a campfire, and the confines of hotel rooms for the freedom of yurts, cabins, and eco-villages. Are you ready? If you've ever dreamed of disconnecting from the chaos and rediscovering the simple joys of life, then off-grid living is your ticket to a world of serenity and sustainability.
If those three words make you think of a tiny tent in the middle of nowhere, this post will prove there are so many other ways to experience off grid living. From a lighthouse on an island in Norway to a yacht in Montenegro, a cave house in Spain to a Hobbit home in New Zealand - with Workaway the off grid opportunities really are endless.
Let’s switch off from the chaos, switch on your curiosity and discover a new way of living where unplugging becomes the ultimate luxury. Once you’ve tried these ways of experiencing off grid living, you’ll never want to return to modern living again!
What is off grid living?
Generally, living “off the grid” means relying on your own sources of energy, water, and resources, often in remote or self-sustaining locations.
Through this empowering lifestyle, you reconnect with nature
through supplying your own power, water and even growing your own food. Overall, this way of life minimises negative impact on the planet
alongside providing you with freedom like no other.
The benefits of going off-grid
There are so many reasons to give off-grid living a chance
with Workaway and once you do – you’ll never look back! If you’re still not convinced, here are just a handful of reasons why it will prove a rewarding and worthwhile adventure:
Low Environmental impact: Not only will you produce more than you consume, but you learn how to be self-sufficient. From solar power to permaculture - anything you take from the environment you replace. You will also learn how to reuse or repair, ensuring that waste is minimised.
It’s Healthier: Life off grid promises more hiking, swimming, digging and vitamin D than you can ever imagine. Your diet will also likely consist of organic, fresh produce that you grow, helping you glow from the inside out. Not to mention the mental health benefits of being surrounded by nature which proves arguably safer than urban life and will result in a more calm and peaceful state of mind.
You’ll Spend Less: With the focus on consuming less, this naturally lends to spending less. No need for dining out, transport costs or accommodation fees when living off grid through Workaway. You rely on the land for survival - not your credit card!
A Chance to Reconnect with nature: Living off-grid strips away the stresses of modern living and allows you to return to nature. This means, you will never be bored again – there are always waterfalls to swim in, birds to watch, fires to build, trees to plant and fun to be found.
Challenges to consider
However, switching from modern living to off-grid life is no easy task. Quitting your job and hiking into the wilderness to live off the land may sound like a fairytale for some, but in reality, it can be a major culture shock. Without the right knowledge and mindset, you won’t last long before it’s back to the rat race and unfulfilling 9 to 5.
Here are a few challenges to consider before your off grid adventure can begin:
Location and climate:
Dealing with wildlife and weather can be tricky at times without the protection of modern heating, electricity or shelter. Make sure to ask your host
if there are any essentials you should bring (like waterproofs or insect repellent) but also be ready to embrace an adventure of a lifetime!
Patience: We are so used to having food delivered at the touch of a button, heating and electricity at the flick of a switch and entertainment in our pockets on screens. Not with off grid living. There is no instant gratification - everything you need or want takes time and effort. While this is challenging, it is also far more rewarding.
Off-grid technology: Expect to go cold turkey from home comforts like Wi-Fi and hot water on tap. Instead you’ll learn to adapt to a variation of these. For example using solar power, wind turbines, and water purification systems. It can take a while to adjust, but it lets you appreciate the simple things in life.
Isolating: Many off-grid properties are located in rural or remote areas. This physical isolation means fewer neighbours or nearby communities for social interaction. Some people may also find it emotionally challenging to live in a secluded environment without modern conveniences like high-speed internet, television or phone signal to connect with the “outside world.” Your host will be aware of this however and it won’t take long to find your groove and adapt to your home away from home.
Do not let these initial challenges put you off this meaningful and fulfilling way of living. As mentioned, the benefits of greater independence, reduced environmental impact, and a unique sense of freedom will outweigh these difficulties. If you’re prepared to escape your comfort zone and roll your sleeves up, off-grid living will prove a valuable and enriching experience.
Ways to Experience Living Off Grid
Now you’re aware of (and hopefully persuaded by) the benefits, let’s dive into the many ways to experience off grid living. Thankfully, Workaway
provides the perfect opportunity to ease you in gently and test drive this rewarding lifestyle. There are many off-grid communities around the world looking for people just like you.
They are happy to help kick start your off-grid journey in exchange for your enthusiasm for the great outdoors. An off-grid experience through Workaway avoids the drastic decision to go it alone and will equip you with a better understanding of what this way of life entails.
There are various ways to experience living off grid, each with its own unique characteristics and challenges. For example:
This is a homestay
with a difference! Homesteading typically means owning a home as well as some land surrounding it. Many homesteaders choose to live off the land through permaculture
and growing their food, as well as using alternative energy sources like solar panels or wind turbines. They may raise livestock and build their homes from natural materials.
Volunteering on a homestead will usually involve cultivating crops, raising animals, and utilising renewable energy sources for day-to-day life. Sound like your sort of off grid project? Check out these hosts:
2. Tiny House Living
As the name describes, tiny houses are small, compact dwellings designed to minimise resource consumption. They can be equipped with off-grid technologies like composting toilets, rainwater harvesting systems, and solar power.
This minimalist lifestyle is growing in popularity as many people learn to be happy living with less as well as reap the benefits of reconnecting with nature and off grid life. Here are a few hosts who embrace this way of life:
3. Off-Grid Communities & Eco-villages
If you’re nervous about off grid life feeling potentially isolating, this experience could be ideal for you. Some people choose to live off grid in intentional communities or villages, where a group of individuals or families work together to create a self-sustainable and eco-friendly environment. These communities often share resources and responsibilities.
If you want to experience off grid living in this way, here are a few hosts to check out:
4. Van Life and RV Living
Many people don’t consider living in a van as a form of off-grid living but it certainly can be! Many van lifers and RV dwellers equip their vehicles with solar panels, composting toilets, and water filtration systems to reduce their reliance on traditional infrastructure. This nomadic lifestyle also provides an epic sense of freedom as well as the opportunity to experience a minimalist lifestyle.
Have your own van? Many off grid communities and Workaway hosts accept travellers in their own campervans. When searching for a host
simply tick the box for “accepts campervans” under the Accommodation Info filter.
No van? No problem. Sample off grid living with these van life veterans:
5. Sailboat or Houseboat Living
Switch life on the road for life on the water instead by living on a sailboat or houseboat. While some modern boats are equipped with state of the art navigation systems, Wifi and more, others rely on renewable energy sources like wind or solar power to generate electricity and rely on water desalination systems for freshwater.
6. Remote Yurts or Tents
When most people imagine “off-grid” living, a tent is the first kind of accommodation that springs to mind. However, our hosts don’t just offer your typical tents. We have yurts, bell tents, Teepees and so many more. These structures are usually equipped with basic off-grid systems, and sometimes rely on wood-burning stoves for heating and cooking. It is one of the best ways to experience off grid living as you only have a thin layer of canvas separating you from nature.
7. Care Living or Earthship Homes
Some off-grid enthusiasts choose to live in underground homes or caves to take advantage of natural insulation and reduce their environmental impact. Others also use the earth to build eco-friendly, self-sustaining homes called “earthships” - like this off grid Earth ship in Turkey.
They incorporate passive solar heating, rainwater collection, and natural ventilation systems. Not only is this a bucket list experience, but many of these hosts will turn you into a pro when it comes to eco-building or biomaterials.
Whether you're drawn to the whispering winds of a tipi, the romantic charm of a cosy cabin, or the eco-friendly ethos of a sustainable village, with Workaway anyone can unplug, unwind, and savour the simplicity of life off grid.
Hopefully this post has helped you realise that in order to embrace this way of life you don’t need to be a fearless explorer yearning for a remote yurt in the heart of the wilderness. Instead you can experience off grid living in a family home, a campervan or a cave. There is an option to suit all levels of adventure and comfort zones. Regardless of the roof above your head, you’ll be promised a refreshing perspective that will ignite your sense of wonder.
Let’s leave behind the modern world's distractions, and discover a way of living where the stars are your only nightlight, birdsong your only noise pollution and your biggest stress of the day is which delicious fruit to pick and eat first. Your off-grid escape awaits!