Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Living Off the Grid, Solar, Tiny Houses, Stealth Camping

A Small Lot in the Rurals, Off the Grid
Perhaps, not yet in Brownsville, but certainly out West, and even in the South in rural Arkansas and Tennessee, retirees, young families and single folk are gravitating away from what they designate to be "debt slavery."

It's not simply as we used to say, "getting away from the rat race." Nowadays, even the old standby "making a living" is under review. Proponents of this alternative lifestyle question spending 30-50 years on a job, working for someone else, when, with some foresight, skill and knowledge you can make provision for yourself and your family while doing whatever it is you really want to do.

The alternatives vary. Near San Francisco, where a crummy two-bedroom home rents for $4,200 per month and a tent is advertised on Craigslist for $899 per month, a young couple has created a small settlement of eleven dwellings built out of steel cargo containers.  They call their rental units "cargotopia."

Tiny House
A variation on the same theme is the tiny house, a domicile ranging from 120-400 square feet, containing smaller versions of the normal amenities, all riding on a work trailer chassis.  In some areas, these can be parked in someone's back yard, but certainly on some federal lands. Washington State and Montana, in particular, are open to applications from would-be settlers.  While tiny houses can hook up to traditional utilities, the so-called grid, many revert to solar panels, rainwater collection, chemical toilets and built-in generators making it possible to live practically anywhere.

More Elaborate Container House
Many have sold there existing homes, shedding the burden of the 30 year mortgage, high property taxes and utilities to go off the grid.  Others try to create an "off the grid" account, by foregoing cable TV and other non-necessities, while saving for their tract of land.  A senior citizen from New York sold his home, buying a forty acres spread in arid west Texas.  Even with only two inches rain this year, he says in a You Tube interview that he still has over 11,000 gallons of water collected.  The retiree has a majestic view, no close neighbors and no real bills.  

Stealth Camper
Dozens of You Tube channels feature the lifestyle of stealth campers, typically men living in a camper van that resembles a contractor's van.  Some are employed in construction or manufacturing, while others simply travel around the country, parking in industrial areas, side streets or parks for free.  The outside appearance of the vehicle and the low profile kept by the resident inside allows it to blend into its surroundings.


  1. Waiting for an explanation as to why PUB has been jacking up the rates while gas prices have been going down... My electric bill was over $200 and I was out of town for two weeks with everythig turned off. My friend on CPL paid $87 the same month, for a family of 4. These kids have the right idea. Stop indebting ourselves to greedy utility companies.

  2. Humans are being scissored between outdated zoning minimums and excessive plumbing and plumbing regulations. These small andor self sufficient dwellings are illegal and meet insurmountable government opposition. Time to repeal everything.

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