Working Online & Living Off the Grid
September 12, 2011|Posted in: Notes & Musings
Almost sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it?
It’s true though. We live out in the desert with no connection to regular utilities. We aren’t connected to the electrical main, we have no land line telephone and we aren’t hooked up to a municipal water source. We also don’t have DSL, cable or satellite service of any kind.
But I do work online. From home.
I have a Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone with tethering… and that is my Internet service. I use it to text my kids too, and on the rare occasion I even use it to make telephone calls. :)
Up until about 2 months ago I used that and a cheap netbook as my combination work tools. I now use a Fujitsu Q550 Stylistic tablet PC and I’m oh so much happier!
I have worked online full time since 1995. I started my own business in 1997 and began working from home. Other than a short stint or two helping other companies launch, I’ve worked at home most of the last 13 years. I did my rounds of the dotcom boom, executive level positions in tech companies, well paid consultant, built more websites than I can remember and busted my butt with 15 plus hour days.
Several years ago I decided I was done. So we went camping for almost a year then bought land.
Unfortunately I didn’t stockpile money when we were flush, so I still work mostly full time.
I keep it simple now days though. I sell stock photography, provide freelance writing services for clients, and write informational-style books and guides. This simplicity allows me to minimize the amount of time I spend online while still earning enough income to keep the bills paid.
The lifestyle we live though, demands power frugality. Our sole source of electricity is through our 60 watt solar panel setup and one deep cycle battery. For those of you that aren’t familiar with solar panels: that’s very little. We cant power a fridge, freezer, furnace or air conditioner. We do a heck of a lot more with it than most people can imagine though. :)
We make it work by being extremely frugal with electricity. Our tv uses about 12-18 watts, we use cell phones and a Kindle, and my new computer has a 43 watt hour battery that lasts 6-8hours on a full charge.
The point of the moment however is this: You will notice this website has mobile and technology information sprinkled in with gardening and canning. At first blush it might seem to be a really weird combination. In reality though, it makes complete sense. We’re constantly tweaking the power and work setup because it is how we get paid. Without the tech tools and gadgets that let me work online with a mere 60 watts of power, we wouldn’t be able to eat…. or enjoy our chosen lifestyle.