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My Escape From Wall Street To Life off the Grid

t all began a few years ago. My name is Sarah. My spouse is named Dean. The two of us were tired of being tired. I worked 12–15-hour workdays. I was forever exhausted and it seemed all I did was work.

Life off the grid
my life off the grid

Wall Street made me a lot of money. I could drive a BMW, live in a highrise and I had money but no time, or no quality time I should say. What it didn’t do was make me happy. I was forever chasing after something and not sure I was going to find it. What seems to be a great thing in real life was a source of tremendous stress in my life. I would go to work and all I could think was how little I wanted to be there. This went on hour after hour, day after day, week after week for far too long.

My Name Is Sarah

Time to Make a Change

One day I woke up and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted to find a place with no traffic where I could wake up and hear the birds instead of my shrill alarm clock. I wanted to be in a place where we have a spring for water instead of the bottled kind. I wanted to be in a place where we cut our own firewood, grow our own garden vegetables and live not to exist anymore. Of course, there are some things we shop for like, cleaning products and personal hygiene, flour, corn mean, dried beans and a few more staples. Dean hunts for our food to bring variety and use the resources all around us. I was tired of sitting at a desk for hours at a time each day and being in a place that made me think of a prison sentence.

our humble home

Dean & Sarah’s Grid Home

Creating a Plan

As I started to dream of a place with no neighbors and no traffic, I thought about how I would make it all happen. We would move back to the Kentucky of my youth. There, we’d built a 200 square foot log cabin and enjoy life. I would be surrounded by light and air instead of city dirt and the grit from overcrowded, airless high rise boxes. The dream started to come to me. It would be a place where we have our own cow and chickens, we shop for flour, we cut our own firewood, and we self educate our two boys ages 5 and 8. All I had to do was begin to plan.

What we used to model our little grid home from – best one we could possibly find that was within grid living.

Returning to My Roots

Many people share the same idea. I wanted ours to come true. To that end, I spend a lot of time doing my homework. I thought about where we would live, what we’d eat and how we could power our home. As I started that process, I thought about what I already knew in life. As a young girl, I’d moved to the hills of Kentucky with family. I’d loved growing up there. The fresh air means we lived as much outdoors as much as indoors. I had all I needed back then. My family taught me a lot of skills from hunting and fishing to how to make the most wonderful beans and cornmeal. When we moved away, I thought I’d be happy. I thought heading for Wall Street would make all my dreams come true. Instead, all it did was to make it clear my dreams lay not in times when I worked 12–15-hour workdays with nothing to show for it but some money. My dreams lay in returning to my roots, living off the land and rekindling the joy that had been mine as a child.

finally free to breathe again

Talking to My Spouse

One of the best things about speaking about my plans is realizing just how much my spouse shared them. He wanted to be in a space where he could say we cut our own firewood, we built a 200 square foot cabin and we have our own cow and chickens to make meals in tune with the bounty of the land. Together, we started to think about life in front of us and why it simply wasn’t working for us anymore. It was then that I knew I’d found the right partner for my life and the life I wanted so much for our children. Talking to him about how I had this dream where we built a log cabin in the woods 15 miles from the nearest road and then we self educate our two boys ages 5 and 8 made us both so very happy.

The Freedom to Do As I wanted

After our conversation, we started to think about ways that we make our ideas come to life. I realized my savings would go a long way if I moved to the hills of Kentucky. I looked at our finances. The reality of being able to create a home in a safe and secure place was actually a lot cheaper than our present life. If we were no longer tied to a place where I had to spend a lot of money just for a life I didn’t like, we could free ourselves from the shackles that were holding us back. While we would lose a little bit of income, we’d make up for it with freedom and the quality of life I knew I wanted.

Searching For a Place

Once my husband and I were ready, it was time to act as soon as possible. I went back to Kentucky for a vacation. When I was there, I said to people my name is Sarah and my spouse is named Dean. We want a place where we can build a 200 square foot log cabin, where Dean hunts for our food and we have a spring for water. I want to live with clean air, the marvelous sunshine and the rhythms of the seasons. One of the best things about returning to my roots was the chance to speak with my people. They understood me completely. I didn’t have to explain my dearest dreams and why I wanted them. These are people who understand the real value of things. They know there’s a lot more to life than simply chasing after money over and over again until you pass away.

Saving money

Some people think it’s so hard doing what I do. They couldn’t be more wrong. It was all about getting the details in place. City living was so expensive. Even a small lot without a house will cost you a lot of money. You spend money on food that isn’t healthy, sending your kids for someone else to watch each day. You don’t get to know who you really because you are so caught up in just existing and paying your bills. The move to Kentucky was not only easier, but it was also a lot less expensive.

The Big and Wonderful Picture

When we built a log cabin in the woods 15 miles from the nearest road with no neighbors for miles around, we gained so much more than I ever dared dream. It was no longer rushing around each day just to get somewhere we didn’t really want to be in life. We left behind a hard life that wasn’t really working for us for one that was actually a lot easier. Now, we have control over our food. There are no added chemicals we don’t need. We hunt and fish and grow our own food. We educate our boys. Most of all, we live our life as it was intended, free from modern stress. We have a happy, easy and deeply satisfying life off the grid.

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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