Do you watch those programmes where people buy a plot of land to build the house of their dreams on, or re-purpose an old building to their own new specification? What about the recent series with Ben Fogle where he visited some folk who live way out in the middle of nowhere, without all the stuff the rest of us deem essential?
We flirted a while ago with the whole idea of off-grid living, and I must say it really does appeal. Living way away from anywhere, with only the basics and necessities of life, no TV and only limited contact with the outside world sounds quite blissful to me. In fact, the Amish way of life sometimes has its appeal too! But would I only be enthralled in it for so long, is it a fantasy idea which would sit better as an occasional break or holiday from everyday life, rather than an everyday reality?
The truth is probably yes, but that's not to say that we can't adopt some elements of that idyll in our everyday life. I might still like my little coffee shop visits, and even the odd shopping trip (down to just a couple of times a year these days!), but we can still try to live as green as possible in the semi-urban environs we find ourselves in, we can switch off electricity as much as possible, cook proper food using organic ingredients, spend lots of time in nature etc. And maybe, by incorporating those aspects of the off-grid life which appeal so much, we can make some move towards it.
Steve and I already find ourselves rather removed from most Western people's lifestyles, opinions and ideas after all, through our belief in natural living, health and parenting. Throw an almost total distrust of conventional medicine; deep, deep suspicion of such alleged advances as WiFi, microwave ovens and Smart Meters into the mix and that 'hippy' off-grid escape is looking more and more likely!
However, I think I would still have to draw the line at compost toilets and climbing vertiginous heights in a rainstorm to repair rainwater pipes as I saw one New Zealand woman do recently! Plus we do like our telly, how shallow an admission is that?! But in the interests of trying to 'off-grid' a little, I recently decided to sell my phone, another trapping of modern life we really didn't need, and of course I don't miss it at all.
We spend more time outside than in, and live as close to nature as possible in many ways, but I'm not sure the full off the map is for us just yet. So in the mean time, we'll stick with our semi-Luddite ways with an old-fashioned attached to the cable telephone, a 12 year old car and no TV packages, but may fit in the odd coffee shop trip or lovely new bath oil too! What about you, could you live off-grid?