Monday, 23 March 2009


I've been reading How to Live Off-grid and have been absolutely fascinated. This book has had a lot of criticism and probably an equal amount of praise, but I found it interesting and inspiring. In it, the author treks around the UK in a cusomised camper van visiting off-grid families, individuals and communities and chats to them about how they manage their lifestyle, what works, what doesn't work, the problems and successes they've had. The main criticism of the book is that the author is a middle-class wannabe off-gridder rather than the real deal, but I don't really see this as a problem. He never pretends to be otherwise. He reiterates throughout the book that his main motivation for seeking this information is not for environmental reasons and that he could only ever be a part-timer in this lifestyle. These things do not make his research any the less valid in my opinion. The people he visits are pretty inspirational. Even in the instances where things have not worked out or where they would do things differently if they had to start over, they are trailblazers, unafraid to do things differently and outside the mainstream, and those of us in a firmly-entrenched on-grid life can still learn a few things and maybe make a few changes without having to buy a woodland in Wales.
I found the views expressed in the book by various experts and non-experts on the likelihood of grid break-down scary, eye-opening and interesting and it has given me quite a few starting places for a wish-list of items to install if we ever have any spare money (yeah, right!). It has also reassured me that in the case of a catastrophic break-down on on-grid power and water services, it is still possible to survive and thrive.
All in all, I found this a fascinating and informative read with lots of handy information and interesting glimpses into the lives of people who have dared to be different in a way I'm not sure I'd have the guts (or knowledge) to do. I'd highly recommend it.


Carolyn said...

I agree whole heartedly, Liz. A fabulous book that does not pretend to be anything other than what it is!!!! I find it quite a dangerous is usually followed by browsing at canal boats and pieces of very overpriced woodlands!
One day *sigh*

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.