For some thinking of going off the grid or working toward energy independence, you are likely already happily settled where ever you are. There are others who may see going off the grid as part of an overall lifestyle change, or part of settling down in a new place.
We were of the later kind. About five years ago, our interest in environmentalism and our desire to live sustainably as much as possible led to a clear picture: we wanted to find a piece of land in a place we believed we’d love and make an off-the-grid home.
When we began the search, we didn’t have much to go on, so, as it seems is always my natural tendency, I ended up being the one who did a lot of research – and enjoyed every bit of it! Here are a few of the resources we found most valuable along the way:
- The single most valuable book for us (and we read a lot of them) was Finding & Buying Your Place in Country. This guide gives a comprehensive view into the things to look for and watch out for,with (clearly) a specific focus on country homes
- Online tools to help you identify places or areas where you would be happy were great for getting a general idea of places to check out, although they generally are not all-inclusive (i.e. don’t cover small towns) and obviously don’t factor in things like where Aunt Elma lives. Still a great resource to check out especially if you’re not yet sure of the area you want to be in is:
- Find Your Spot, (free) which lets you enter in information about the kind of location you’ve always dreamed of, and matches your desires to it’s database of information on cities and towns across the U.S.
- Sperling’s Find Your Best Place is also a fun, helpful (and also free!) place to take a quiz about your dream land and comes up with specific places that match your needs
- In addition to the online generalized quizzes that match you using data like how much houses cost and what their population is, we found coming up with indicators that we thought would be important signs of communities we would love was equally important for us. In our case, the one that worked best was a list of places that had co-ops – we knew that we believed in local food and community, and since co-ops can be good indicators of both. Two great places we found to look were Local Harvest and Google Maps (Just do a search for Food Co-ops) Of course, you can apply this same principle and choose any kind of organization that you think would indicate a community you would like to live in