In this day and age of cell phones and the internet, this is more difficult than ever. How would you if you decided to, just walk away from society and the rat race that many Americans find themselves obsessed with living? Where would you go? How would you live?
Right now may be an opportune time to do it. A lot of people are losing everything they worked all their lives for. They are out of work, the bill collectors are hounding them night and day. The house may be in foreclosure. Living in a remote spot away from all this might sound pretty good. Where would be the place to go?
What kind of preparations should a person make before selling everything, buying a VW van, backpacking gear, learning how to shoot a rifle, and understanding what it takes to live in the great outdoors?
If you want to stay in the US, my suggestion would be to follow the advice given long ago. In "Go West young man" Horace Greeley famously said. Wyoming, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, etc, all have a lot of open space where you can live without having to live in a desert.
I would most likely pick a place away from everyone but near a smallish town like Jackson Hole, Wyoming. You could lay low, maybe start off working on someone's ranch to feed yourself. Then maybe after a while you get your own little piece of land in a remote spot. If you are one of thousands of unemployed construction workers, you should be able to build your own little cabin. You can do research and learn how the ultimate "off-the-gridders" do it. That would be the Amish of Pennsylvania. You can learn how to truly live off the land from those folks. You could learn how to feed yourself, clothe yourself, cure yourself and most importantly, how to live without any modern conveniences. That's probably how I would do it.
Of course a few modern conveniences would come in handy. Like a good pick up truck for hauling things, a good fishing pole, a good hunting rifle, a good knife and a good lighter, all of which increase your chances of survival. And a companion to go off the grid with you would be nice too. Let's call her Ayla.
Here are some things you want to avoid.
1. A mailbox. If the mailman can't find anywhere to put your mail, maybe he won't deliver it. In any case, at least make it difficult. You're walking away from society, right?
2. A cell phone. Those things are little tracking devices to some, and a life-line to the world for others. Cut the life-line. You're on your own now, bud.
3. Any credit or debit cards. Pay cash or work out a trade for whatever you need. Don't do anything that can ties you to modern society -- you're off the grid aren't you? When you fill up the pick up, go in and pay cash.
4. Old friends, relatives and acquaintances. You can't go off the grid if people know where to find you. Of course, show some love to your loved ones by dropping a letter in the mail from time to time -- it doesn't have to have a return address on it. Going off the grid doesn't necessarily mean turning your back on friends and family.
5. The internet. Unless you go online somewhere other than your home and never use your real name anywhere. Don't go to Facebook and tell everyone you live near Jackson Hole.
On the extreme end of things, if it's not living off the land you're going for, but instead simply want to completely disappear from the world and all it's evil, you can consider yourself as someone in the Witness Protection Program. You don't have any contact with anyone from your past. Perhaps there's just too much drama, too much drugs and alcohol in your family and social circle to want to have any contact with. Time to start over from scratch.
For many people today that may not be that difficult. If you get tempted to reconnect with your past, consider the risks. If your family finds you, the bill collectors, head hunters, etc may find you too. Different people have different reasons for wanting to go off the grid. If it's too run away from the responsibilities of life, you'll be running forever, and perhaps constantly looking over your shoulder.
If you're going to go off the grid -- do it right. Take care of any loose ends -- like warrants and subpoenas. Again, if you're trying to run away, you're going to keep on running, and never get anywhere. Perhaps the best way to drop off the grid is to simply want nothing to do with this capitalist world we live in, driven by power, money, politics and corruption. Maybe there's a new caling for you in life. Maybe it's joining the Peace Corps or Red Cross and traveling to a third world country to help a native people rebuild after a disaster.
Or maybe you've had a longing to adventure into the wilderness and make your living from the land, hunting, fishing and nature?
Only go this route if you are a loner type personality.
In the end though, if you are going to miss the people in your life, learn to put up with the rat race. Or perhaps compromise. Move to a mid size city where the cost of living may be a bit lower and the pace is a bit slower. Like Idaho or Wyoming. You may not make as much money as you did in the big city, but then again nobody really seems to be anymore.
Living off the grid looks more attractive as every week passes during this economic fiasco. You run around trying to find work and stay one step ahead of the bill collectors and at the end of the day there is all the stress only without the reward. See you in Wyoming.