We are lucky that life in the 21st century is easier than it has ever been, right? But convenience also has its price, and many people now want to go back to basics. But what are the basic needs for self-sufficient living? Food and shelter is the most obvious answer, but we are also looking for a good quality of life, and for that we need comfortable shelter, quality food and a good amount of enjoyment.
Live the dream
Most people have a dream where their life is very different from what it is now. There are so many things we would like to do, but time and/or money are often the biggest hurdles. You are tied to your job and so it is partly the problem but also partly the solution. The question is, should we live to work or work to live?
Practising your hobby and being able to sustain yourself with it, who wouldn’t want that? And if you were to continue doing it even if you were not paid for it? However, the vast majority of us have not yet found a way to realise this dream. But what stops them?
In our modern world, it is tempting to put convenience before quality. You just go to the shop, pick up new clothes because you feel like a new outfit. Your fridge is full of products that are far from fresh and a small compartment with fruit and vegetables that have travelled more kilometres than you drive in a whole year in your car.
Fresh, quality products, whether they are food or other items needed in a self-sufficient lifestyle are closer than you think. It is a matter of starting to form this lifestyle and, little by little, becoming self-sufficient. This includes, for example, buying or swapping quality food or other products in your neighbourhood, the community and local small farms and craft shops.
Discover local produce
Modern transport systems keep the supermarket stocked with a huge range of products, from long-life to fresh. It is easy to forget what is still seasonal and what is available locally at a farm shop.
The convenience of the supermarket serves mankind. A packet of muesli, a shelf full of variations, flavours and colours. Is this what we as consumers really want? This abundance of choices, but also the price we pay for them. Who actually asked for this? We the consumer or did the supermarket take the lead and do we now allow ourselves to be (mis)led by numerous offers, cheap and undefinable food?
It now seems so normal that food travels halfway around the world and is then stored and distributed in supermarkets before we finally buy and eat it. But with the same ease, you can buy fresh local seasonal, organic produce from your local farmer or baker.
Our homes come in many shapes and sizes, but what exactly is the definition of “comfort”? We have been ” eco-shaping ” our homes for years, with or without coercion from governments and ” sustainable ” companies. As long as your aim is to create an environment that suits you, there is nothing wrong with that. And if you also have a low energy bill as a result, that’s a good thing. But how far do we ‘have’ to go in this, and how far does our shelter ‘have’ to comply with rules?
In a self-sufficient life, it is important to know that you discover what comfort means to you. A comfort in which you are controlled by the rules a house must satisfy? Or do you make it your own place, where you can be independent from utilities such as gas, water and electricity?
There are plenty of ways to save energy and convert it into heat, or to store it. This is also possible without subsidies or other forms of support. The power lies in making your own shelter where you can eventually be self-sufficient. Of course it is not bad to have a gas connection and other utilities. But it is also important to ensure comfort if these services are lost or if you simply have to pay too much for them. And it shouldn’t become an obligation; you should be able to choose what you do or don’t do.
The pleasure principle
The final requirement for a good quality of life is enjoyment. We are all different and we find happiness, peace, harmony (or whatever you want to call it) in our own way. We are easily put in a box (whether we want to be or not, whether we are aware of it or not) and we may lose sight of the essence of enjoyment in life. You can only discover your joy by trying these things.
It is also important to remember that you don’t have to wait until you find your ideal home to start living a more self-sufficient lifestyle. You can start right now! The experiences you gain and the fun you have can be the catalyst you need to realise your dream of a more self-sufficient life.