Downshifting or Why People Decide to Live Off Grid / Part 1: Introduction

It is unbelievable how many people from around the world nowadays decide to live off the grid. Nevertheless it is no surprise that during last two decades more and more people made this hard decision as a result of a never ending urban stress, debt-full life and simply less chances of once starting a happy and healthy rest. As a social behavior, downshifting concentrates on finding and establishing a firm balance between work and personal life (i.e family, leisure, hobbies, etc), focusing on setting new goals rather than following a random economic growth scheme and thus entering the never ending rat race. 

Despite the fact that downshifting may be relative to simple living and minimalism, it has a rather different concept as it resembles a serious and well thought escape plan. Aside from this difference, downshifting can also sometimes be an involuntary step where minimalism is usually a voluntary thing. Factors as job loss, divorce, constant financial problems despite a decent monthly wage and etc, may be a motive for involuntary downshifting. In some rare cases, even financially successful people may one day get fed up with the earn-and-spend cycle and rebel against society and the greedy themselves. Slowing down the tempo of daily hectic and finding peace may become a new priority of just any millionaire. Thus, motives for downshifting may be divided into two parts:

a) finding internal peace; enjoying leisure and simple life free of wasteful spending; being around friends and family more often; living a healthier life.
b) running away from urban stress; constant financial difficulties; escaping the rat race.

The range of participation in downshifting process is not limited by anything. Downshifting can be implemented both by a single person or a family, and by a whole community or a business or just any other organization. Geographical aspect is also another side of this process. Whereas there is no such strict rule of moving to suburban areas, downshifting judging by the real-life examples can not be fully accomplished in urban areas because it conflicts with some key motives of the very process (such as getting closer to nature, eating your home grown food, drinking mountain water and living off the grid - i.e without government provided paid services like electricity, heating, sewerage, domestic natural gas usage and etc).

end of part 1.

PS: for an interesting video report before we move into part 2, search for "off grid cabin" and "off grid life" keywords in YouTube and you'll be amazed by how many people made this hard decision and how happy they are despite all obstacles.