No phones, no televisions, no distractions, and most importantly — no one to bother you. If this sounds like your idea of sheer bliss, then you’re not alone. Living off-the-grid isn’t new, and holidaying at off-grid sanctuaries to get a taste of that life will be a great way to dip your toes into it to see if it’s really for you.
If you’re interested in off-the-grid living, you should first know its basics. You’ll need to adopt a self-sufficient lifestyle, which requires skills, knowledge, and patience.
Fortunately, several courses offered by sanctuaries, like Azhen Sanctuary, specialise in off-the-grid living. Their courses teach you about self-reliance and sustainable living and cover topics like buying land, building shelters, raising animals and crops, and water management and purification.
By the end of a course, you’ll have a better idea of what being off-grid means for your lifestyle and environment. Here are some lessons and skills you’ll learn when staying at an off-grid sanctuary.
Learning about self-reliance
Self-reliance is a critical skill that can be learned in many ways. While some people may see this as an off-the-grid course, you should consider it an opportunity to experience self-reliance in its truest sense. If you’re still unsure what this means or how it might apply to your life, here are a few things to consider.
Self-reliance means being able to do things for yourself, solving your own problems, and fixing your things when they break down (or even before they break down) — especially when you are by yourself in the company of nature.
Being self-sufficient also means not having other people rely on you all the time—it’s important, because once people become dependent on others, they lose their power and independence.
Assessing land, buying land, and zoning
Before you buy land, it is essential to understand how zoning works in your area. Zoning laws dictate what can be built on your parcel of land. While staying in an off-grid sanctuary, you’ll learn about the land assessment process, purchasing options, and finding land that meets your requirements.
Different countries have their own laws, so it’s important to know what to look out for. You may be running away from technology, but you can’t run from the law!
The importance of permaculture
Permaculture is a sustainable design system that creates human habitats with an ethical and ecological framework. Permaculturists believe that people can live in harmony with the Earth by mimicking natural systems of biological diversity, recycling resources, and evolutionary adaptation.
During your stay, you will learn about permaculture and land regenerative design. You will also receive examples of permaculture plans and get ideas for effectively putting the theory to practice.
Setting up power infrastructure
The sanctuary’s course will teach you about planning infrastructure, including powerful ones like solar, wind, and micro-hydro energy generation. Solar panels generate significant amounts of electricity; you can use them to power your electronics and even charge an electric car.
Wind turbines are another option for off-grid living. These turbines don’t need moving parts, so they are easier to maintain than solar panels or hydro dams. Micro-hydropower is another popular renewable energy source for off-grid homes because it’s quieter than wind turbines and doesn’t require much space to work correctly.
Even if you do’t decide to fully live off-grid, installing alternative energy sources at home is a huge leap forward for the environment.
Wells and water management
Water is an essential and the needn’t be said. Sadly, access to clean water isn’t a given for everyone even though you need it for just about everything. Open your mind to learning about the various water sources, including wells, catchments, and earthworks during your stay at an off-grid sanctuary.
Even if you have never built a well before, the experts will introduce you to the process and assist you until you develop confidence. It is, after all, a life-saving skill.
Tools, equipment, and machinery
Learning how to use your tools properly and keep them in good condition is vital. A well-maintained device will last longer and be more effective when it comes time for you to use it.
There are some essential tools that every person should own, regardless of whether they live off-the-grid or not:
• An axe or hatchet (one with a sharp blade)
• A shovel, hoe, and rake (any combination of these tools can work)
• A hammer
Respecting indigenous culture
Many off-the-grid sanctuaries are indigenously owned, allowing you to interact with their elders and learn about their way of life. And especially about the respect they have for the environment. Take their lessons to heart, and you won’t just live — you’ll thrive. You will learn about indigenous teachings and how to live a modern lifestyle in alignment with nature.
There is much more to learn about off-the-grid living and self-reliance, which sanctuaries like Azhen Sanctuary can teach you. Once you know the basics and are confident about the essential skills required, you can start planning an alternative lifestyle in the company of nature.