Drifting Away: How to Go Off the Grid and Disappear
Want to disappear? The idea crosses the minds of many fed up with the overbearing drudgery of technology and modernity. But it's a huge decision and something that can't be done flippantly.
If done right, it's possible to disappear entirely. And the most successful out there do such a good job that sometimes they emerge completely unaware of global events like the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you've been looking to learn how to disappear off grid, then keep reading. We'll clue you into some secrets.
What is Disappearing Off the Grid?
Going off the grid entails a complete disconnection from public utilities, such as electricity, water, sewerage, and possibly the Internet. Some choose to live off-grid for sustainability reasons or to win independence from the burdensome relationship with utility companies. Yet, not everyone going off-grid is trying to escape society — just some of its built-in systems.
Figuring out how to drop off the grid and disappear entirely are very different things.
Disappearing includes everything going off the grid does, but adds an extra step — it requires you to erase your traceable footprint physically and digitally. To succeed at this, you need additional planning and an understanding of the legal ramifications of slipping into obscurity.
How to Disappear in 5 Steps
After giving it proper thought, perhaps it's clear that now is the time to disappear. Remember: it can't be a snap decision. Anyone wondering how to stay off the grid must work out a plan beforehand.
In essence, there are two main parts to disappearing. The first is figuring out how and where to disappear, and the second is minimizing traceability, like your paper and digital trails.
Do you have what it takes to figure out how to fall off the grid successfully? The steps below offer a basic guide to disappearing from civilization for good.
1. Understand the Off Grid Laws
The largest mistake people make when figuring out how to fall off the grid is assuming they are escaping into a lawless lifestyle. Sorry to break it to you, Jesse James, but that's just not how it works.
While disappearing off-grid is completely legal, those who choose to do so must understand the laws around it. There are federal, state, and local laws around building codes, water and sanitation requirements, environmental regulations, and zoning laws. These laws vary depending on the area you're disappearing into, so it's crucial to research these before getting started. This way, you avoid headaches and legal strife later on.
2. Find Land to Go Off Grid
After figuring out any area-specific laws, look into finding land. Certain states make finding land for off-grid living easier and more affordable. For example, Arizona, New Mexico, and Wyoming have a lot of forest and desert land available to purchase cheaply, as well as looser laws. These states offer acres of land for as low as $1,500. Comparatively, land in states like New Jersey and Rhode Island is often as expensive as $150,000 per acre.
Looking for land in a desolate area with few visitors is key. However, you want to ensure your land is inhabitable and offers enough natural resources to live off of. It's also essential to consider an area that can easily generate power, like harvesting solar or wind energy.
3. Construct an Off Grid Home
Once you've got your land, building shelter comes next. Those looking to disappear don't want to build a flashy mega-mansion, so consider what kind of domicile best blends into the surroundings. Tiny homes are a great, affordable way to procure shelter with off-grid functionality. These homes can be constructed for anywhere from $30,000-$60,000 on average.
4. Erase the Fingerprints: How to Go Off the Grid Online
Next to figuring out how to go off the grid and disappear is eliminating an online footprint. The best place to start is by cutting up all credit cards and forms of online payment.
From there, delete all social media accounts and online profiles, email addresses, and forms of digital communication. Normally, this requires cutting all phone lines. But if you want to know how to get your phone off the grid, you can invest in a satellite phone. These are useful in case of an emergency, yet they could compromise your location.
Some take things even more seriously and change their identity. Then some cut off all ties to friends and loved ones. But remember, the IRS still needs to connect identities to social security numbers, so always be compliant and don't give false information. This will help avoid headaches or accusations of tax fraud in the long run.
5. Harvesting Off Grid Resources
Disappearing successfully requires not having to rely on vendors or companies for resources. But before disappearing, envision what will be done to consistently acquire food, build out utilities, and safely eliminate waste.
It's smart to develop skills and a plan for hunting, gardening, fishing, and harvesting before disappearing, reducing the chances of relying on the outside world for help.
Lastly, secure water and electricity. Many dig a well or collect rainwater through a gutter and basin system. Yet, electricity depends largely on location. For places with lots of sun, solar energy is an excellent option for off-grid electricity. And the best way to do this is to purchase an off grid solar kit that meets your capacity needs.
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