What does “off-grid” mean to us?

Ahh, off-grid. What a confusing term. The last time I told a lady “we’re going off grid,” she gave me a bright blank stare, proceeding to try puzzling out what “grid” we could possibly be talking about.

Another guy got really defensive. He thought I was talking undue trash about modern-day life. I guess he has experienced city or suburban living quite differently than me. Maybe my cacophony is his symphony.

Obviously, off-grid means something different to everyone, and to my great surprise, can even offend the rare, yet strident and oddly standoffish, individual. Because of this, I think it would be helpful to clarify exactly what Amanda and I mean by off-grid in this blog.

Hundreds of birds for hours chorus the rising of the sun.

Off-grid means animals of all types, in great and glorious abundance. The environment we develop and nurture supports exactly the collection of lively beings needed for its greatest health. We do everything we can to bring and maintain balance.

Silence, soft as a fawn’s tail tip, renews.

Sounds that nature has spent millennia refining waft about us. Sirens, ceaseless chatter, and squalling tires fade and fall away. We sigh with pleasure (beautiful bird chirping, squirrel rooting, leaves rustling) more than wince with pain (train whistle blaring, angry drunken break-up 10 feet from our window, million motorcycles revving).

Nature–so often prodded, forced, cracked, and beaten–is nurtured.

We spend deeply present days tending to the plant life all around us. By intentionally restoring native habitat, we surround ourselves with flora and fauna that most fluently speak the native earth language of the Ozarks.

Night, alive with natural calls and wind, feels pure and slow.

The cosmos no longer fails to press through an artificial globe of light. Stars and webs of galaxial color, awash in Milky Way, paint the skies.

Off-grid holds a gentle, passionate place within us. All of the great positive emotions that humans can feel—love, hope, joy—arise for us more easily and cleanly in a purely natural setting.

For us, it is not a life choice, but an inevitable destination. Years of focus, study, and research later (the fruits and trials of which you can follow in this blog), we hope to stand on the threshold of our rounded cottage and look upon a portion of the world finally restored.

Please tell me in the comments, what does off-grid mean to you?


Notify of

newest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Shelley Buonaiuto

We had friends who lived off-grid on a mesa in NM…they had solar panels that powered their computer, lit lamps at night, lived in a round house with musical notations all over the walls, had crystal bowls to play the notations with, occasionally greeted the bear on the way to the outhouse, and sometimes stayed in the outhouse a long time since greeting the bear once was enough. We lived off grid in 1971 when we house-camped in a friend’s tent for a month…we brought in water in 5 gallon containers to water their garden, got up in the fog… Read more »


Hey Shelley, amazing story! I hope we’ll have similarly unique and meaningful experiences. That crystal bowls concept sounds really fascinating; how does that work, do you know?

And about the garden, I know Amanda has been trying to decide if she’d rather have food or tons of wildlife around… I’m pretty sure the food will win in the end. 🙂



Ryan – it looks like you’re talking about “off-grid” not only in terms of not being hooked to municipal utilities, but in a much more far-reaching way!! I’m excited and a little envious. Please post lots of detail as Lisa and I are approaching a point in our lives where we may be able to take similar steps!!! You may recall we moved back to a small home we own in Crawford County that’s out on some acreage, and we will soon retire the debt on that property. Once the mortgage is gone, we’re in a position to start taking… Read more »


Hi Derek! In almost any other context this is really odd to say, but I’m so glad you’ll be shamelessly stealing ideas! This stuff is just too complex to hoard details; everyone should steal and steal alike! Er… share and share alike. 🙂 Your journey sounds really wonderful! Once you get to your starting point, feel free to post comments or anything else here with questions or excitements about your experience. I’m planning for my next post to discuss house designs (we’ve looked into a whole lot of ’em), and we’ll continue to explore deeper details related to all the… Read more »


So you haven’t done the house yet? Do you have land? Are you camping?


We’ve done a whole lot of research, and gathered tons of information, but we’re still in the beginning stages! Part of the journey we’ll be chronicling involves getting land, as well. In a way, we’re self-educated starters. 🙂

We do plan to camp on the land we eventually settle on (or even land we’re unsure about) because it’s very much recommended to do so for a huge number of reasons. I’m sure that’ll be a post of its own at some point, though.


Your “off-grid” sounds like a place, a very nice place. When I think of going “off-grid” I think of two things:

1) of having my own place that is self-reliant in that it is not attached to or dependent upon the public electrical/water/sewer grids.

2) of going off-grid culturally, not being part of the rat-race unsustainable culture that is full of unsustainable products and practices. Back to nature basically and away from the reminders or influences of that other culture.



That’s a beautiful, succinct way of stating off-grid. I agree completely! We’re gonna get into the “how-to,” so to speak, of all of this with many of our posts. I’m pretty excited to share this stuff and learn more from everyone.


Would love your thoughts, please comment.x