Have you ever wanted to give it all up? The stresses of city life, the pollution, the people? Just get your family, hop in the car, and go build your off-the-grid home somewhere away from it all?
If so, you aren’t alone. There’s even a show for people like us called “Building Off the Grid” on the DIY Network. The series follows Americans as they build an off-the-grid dwelling. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny home, container homes yurt, or log cabin. The entire construction process is filmed from start to finish and each episode is an hour long. They’re almost like mini-documentaries. Each one is its own story and filled with experiences unique to the build. All in all, it’s pretty informative. Yes, you gain inspiration for building your own off-the-grid home but, it’s also peppered with insights that, if you pay attention, can help you change your life. Five life lessons that I learned from the show include:
1. Walk your talk
One of the episodes features James McGrath, the owner of Tiny Homes of Hilton Head. His goal was to move to Daufuskie Island and into a tiny home that he built for him and his girlfriend.
McGrath’s connection to the Tiny Homes movement made him an excellent fit for the show. His experience building these houses and now living in one shows a level of integrity that is quite admirable. Unfortunately, that character trait is sorely lacking in this modern, cynical world.
2. Big risks yield big rewards
Another episode featured Mark and Erica Lighthiser. The couple’s goal was to build their own off-the-grid house in 6 months. They planned to do so while living with their three small children in a wall tent. As you can imagine, this build was filled with many emotional, mental, and physical challenges. One, the time the windy nights nearly destroyed their wall tent and the family had to move into their new garage. But, the rewards were great as well. At the end of the build, they had a drop-dead gorgeous, two story, 1,500 square foot, 4 bedroom, solar-powered house.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
On top of the challenges mentioned above, the Lighthisers also had to speed up their building schedule to reach the deadline set by the show. This was no easy task and the husband and wife team found themselves working from sunup to sundown every single day to complete their house. To ease some of their burdens, the Lighthisers reaches out to their friends and family. They responded positively and would donate their weekends, some whole weeks, to help the family reach their goals. It taught the family that they were more loved than they thought. It also restored some of their faith in humanity.
4. Where there’s a will, there’s a way
During the Bottle Island episode, we are introduced to Richart Sowa, a man with a passion for building unique and environmentally friendly structures. For this particular build, he wanted to use recycled plastic bottles to build a floating island home. Richard and his son, Eden aimed to create a completely self- sustaining floating island. They also wanted it to have amenities like a wave-powered air conditioner and a solar-powered oven. As you might imagine, building a home like this requires creative problem-solving. But, the resulting build was something truly wonderful to behold.
5. Perseverance is the key to success
During the Alaska episode, we met Ana White and her family. There were a lot of challenges on the build that had nothing to do with the construction. Some of these were limited time, waist deep snow, and active toddler (Grace) running around. But, through it all, the young family supported each other and they hit their deadlines time after time. Together with the help of Ana’s sister (she babysat the baby) and other loved ones, they were able to build a family home where little Grace will have plenty of room to run around in.
The Bottom Line
Building off the Grid is more than a show about self-reliant people building their own, environmentally friendly homes. It tells insightful stories that inspire us to live out our dreams. To us, that’s definitely worth a watch.