The Self-Sufficiency and Sustainable Living (South Africa) Facebook page is amazing. Nearly 30 000 people building a beautiful new existence for the world to appreciate and uplifting people. Someone recently asked if moving to a farm was worth it and what tips people had. We thought we’d share our top 10 tips for moving offgrid. We are total amateurs, never done any of this before, and we’ve only been here 4 months; but we figured it’s a good time to share that kind of thing while it’s still fresh in our minds. For the people reading who do not know our background, we bought 21ha of untouched land in the African bushveld; there was no water, electricity or any infrastructure of any kind. We both have full-time jobs. My boyfriend commutes and I run my own business from home. We are in the process of building an offgrid tiny(ish), timber frame house.
1) Understand Why You Are Doing This
What’s the dream? Document this in the finest detail you can because the Universe will give you exactly what you think about the most. This adventure needs planning, it’s not something you can just wing. If you are leaving the city to run away from your problems, they will simply follow you to the farm. If you really want to change your exterior world, you need to clean up your inner world. It’s an immutable natural law – as within, so without. Now is a very good time to ask yourself whether you think the world is a friendly or hostile place, because it will manifest tenfold out in the country.
2) Build Resilience
How do you react when you are knocked down by life? Do you stay down or get up stronger? If it’s the former, you absolutely need to learn the latter. Your inner emotional strength and belief in yourself to be okay no matter what will get you through anything you are about to go through. Moving to a farm is an assault on all your senses, you need the inner fortitude to see it through and not give up. It’s time to toughen up. If you have been going through endless drama and heartbreak in your life, it’s the Universe preparing you for this journey of resilience – and faith. It’s
3) Get Out of Debt
The banking system is a total fraud and we are nothing but debt slaves to them by design. Learn it and break free from it. You will have your hands full going from suddenly going from city life to farm life, this is one less headache to worry about. Ditch those clothing accounts, credit cards and loans. Cash is king! If you can’t afford it, save up then buy it. Do not play the “keeping up with the Joneses” game, the only winners are the banks!
4) Save Money and Don’t Quit Your Day Job
Money disappears faster than a government bailout. Make sure you have upwards of R150 000 to R200 000 cash ready. All manner of things suddenly need to be bought, moved, repaired, installed. I planned well in advance and scrimped and saved for a couple of years to ensure we had a hefty savings account for the big relocation. It saved us big time! We used the sale of our respective houses to fund the rest. We are dependent on our corporate salaries, it will be a while still before that changes. Don’t quit unless you’ve won the lotto.
5) Learn Skills
YouTube is your best friend right now. Fantastic if you do have degrees and things in the farming field, most people I know that have done this don’t, we don’t. But you can learn just about anything on YouTube. During lockdown last year, we watched thousands of videos on every subject offgrid to prepare ourselves for the move this year. You do have time, use the 4 or 5 hours you use scrolling on Facebook to teach yourself a skill that will be useful on a farm.
6) Buy a Wendy House
If you are going to be stuck between 2 worlds for a while with no infrastructure in place, just buy a Wendy house to live in while you build. We started in tents like most, but in hindsight, we should have just bought a Wendy house. It’s something you will always use on the farm, you can move it when you need to, it goes up in mere hours, you can lock things up in it and leave till your next visit. You can start moving stuff from the city so it’s not all chaos in the last month when your house sells.
7) Learn to Live with Dirt
Building from scratch in the middle of nowhere is going to push all your buttons. If you are a hygiene / clean freak, you are about to go insane. There is simply no way to get and stay clean. Your body and house are going to be a hot mess for months until you have full water, power and proper flooring with doors and windows that close. It took 8 months for us to get water and it’s still not even inside the house yet.
8) Save Seeds and Seed Swap
No matter where you are in the world, it has never been more important to start growing your own food. Even the smallest attempt counts right now. If you’re lucky enough to be heading to a farm, you’ll need loads of seeds. Save them, swap them, plant them!
9) Focus Your Attention
00dezz had such great advice – make sure you are self sufficient in food, water, shelter, energy and something to keep you sane. It’s easy to get side-tracked when you move because there are a million things that need attention, so do those first.
10) Have Fun and Love
Giggle. This is supposed to be fun, remember why you are doing this and learn to laugh at yourself and each other. Many things will test you on every level, lean on each other and just laugh every day. It will get you through more than you can imagine. Love your partner, love your farm, love yourself. And just have a little faith that everything is going to be 100% okay!