What Compels Me to Live This Way?
15 reasons why going off grid might be right for you
On the remote land at Wild Mountain where I camped for 10 days last week in southwest Colorado, there is a small hogan-shaped cabin. It is a long way from the road and down the slope of the hill, not particularly accessible. They currently use it as a small meeting area and storage space beside the outdoor kitchen. I learned on this recent visit that this was the first structure built on the property. It was inhabited by Linda. Linda lived and died in that cabin alone for 30 years without plumbing and with only a small battery system for electricity. Wild Mountain is adjacent to the San Isabel National Forest at 9,500 feet where the storms come in fast and harsh and frequently.
Thirty years! She lived there in wild solitude away from modernity and the usual comforts of the world without television, phone or internet. Nada. It’s crazy!
And I was totally jealous.
I am a hermit at heart, a recluse, drawn to the wild places, the minimal, the core essence of existence. If you follow the occult, my moon is in the earthy sign of Taurus. I am also a nine, The Hermit in the major arcana. And this archetype suits me well. Like the little old witch that lives at the edge of the forest, I long to need nothing but the company of trees, ravens, and lizards, mixing my medicinal plants into powerful potions and communing with the ancestors.
Does astrology and numerology explain my desire to live on the outskirts, one foot in and one foot out of society? Was I born this way? Why do I have this innate desire to live like this?
In the seventies, my parents bought an old house in the pastoral suburbs of the lower Hudson Valley outside New York City. They fixed up the house, built a deck, grew a large garden, raised rabbits, fixed up a red VW bug, sewed their own clothes, read Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening magazines, canned vegetables, heated the house with wood they gathered themselves and other such homesteading activities.
When I asked my mother what drew them-- two people of the Silent Generation, a cop from Yonkers and an artist from Brooklyn-- to this path, my mother replied, “I was always creative. Always weird.” My mother (also a Taurean moon) was ahead of her time. She didn’t get ideas to DIY homestead from anywhere other than her own creative unconventional thinking. She felt like an outsider in the world, always a little different, and so perhaps outside was where she felt most comfortable. I can relate.
This time of my life was also before the divorce, before my brother left for the army and when I was still engulfed with the joys of young childhood. Is my desire to return to the land a desire to return to the happy memories of childhood? Is this passion something I subconsciously inherited from my mother?
When I asked if any of our ancestors worked the land, she vehemently doubted it. Jews were prohibited from owning land in the old country. “Maybe Israel,” she said.
In my junior year of college, longing to connect to my roots, I journeyed to Israel to live on a Kibbutz and labor in the fields picking cherries and apricots. Is my passion for the land connected to my ancestors?
Upon graduation, I immediately made my way west to try urban life in the “small” city of Seattle, but my journey north to Alaska was inevitable. When I learned that everyone lived off the grid in Alaska, I knew I had to go. The pull toward feral isolation was strong in me.
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