One thing we have learned since beginning our off grid homesteading adventure is that a lot of people don’t have an accurate idea of what we are doing. We are constantly faced with “well meaning critics“. When people think of “going off the grid” they think of big, dirty mountain men living in the middle of nowhere, completely detached from society and wearing nothing but camo! We want to share with you what it’s actually like to be off grid as a female, how it differs slightly from being a man, and some tips to make the lifestyle a little more comfortable for a woman.
Cleanliness: Off grid doesn’t mean dirty.
The first thing we want to address is the topic of cleanliness. We think the idea that going off grid needs to be dirty and gross is a complete misconception. In most cases, you don’t have to sacrifice all the comforts of home to go off grid, you just have to provide for them in a slightly different way.
Actually, we think a lot of people who live ON GRID are way more disgusting than us off-griders. Let’s be clear: off grid living does not make you a pig.
For me, (probably most people) getting clean is very important. I’m perfectly fine getting dirty all day working, but when the day ends I want to be able to shower. Even living in a travel trailer, our lifestyle can provide that. This is what we’re doing to bring in more than enough water for us both to shower daily.
Because you’re curious… women, periods, and off grid living.
When we asked other woman what concerns them about going off grid, a lot of them mentioned staying sanitary during their periods.
MEN… if even reading about this topic seems like too much information for you, you might need to rethink the off grid lifestyle. If you truly want to start homesteading or living off grid, periods are the least of all your worries and if they freak you out, you won’t be able to handle the other things that this lifestyle will throw your way.
Our experience has shown that there is a lot of misinformation out there about how homesteaders can take care of their periods, especially if they want to have fewer products in their lives.
One great option is a menstrual cup, a medical grade silicone cup that can be worn in the body like a tampon.
One of the brands I use is a Lily Cup. It’s small, fits in a cute little travel case, can be put into your body before you get your period, and unlike tampons, carries no risk of toxic shock syndrome. The best part is that menstrual cups cost around $40 can last for around ten years. When you think about all the sanitary products you won’t have to buy, that’s a major savings!
Most cups come in two sizes, one for women that haven’t given birth (or have given birth via c-section), and one for those that have.
The Lily Cup Compact is great if you want something extremely discrete but is ideal for light / medium flows, and I would recommend the Diva Cup for something less discrete, but it is a little sturdier which can make insertion easier, and it’s also great for heavy flows as well.
When I first heart of menstrual cups, I thought it sounded gross, but it’s really not. Whether you live on or off grid, if you haven’t yet tried these out, you should sometime! Every woman I know that has tried them loves them and say they will never go back to using pads or tampons (myself included).
Staying comfortable, especially as a woman.
We won’t lie to you – off grid living isn’t always sexy (especially times like this when your temporary home is almost obliterated by a windstorm). We made that pretty obvious when we bought a 19′ trailer to live in.
Everything in our lives has changed in one way or another since moving to our land. We have less space to live and work in and everyday tasks take more effort. Projects like getting propane, gas, running water, or even curling my hair all take some careful planning to make them work. We have to dress warmer in winter. However (and this is important) we work hard to make sure we don’t live in TOO much discomfort.
If you want your relationship to not have friction you can only deal with so much discomfort on a given day. In fact, too much discomfort is likely to make someone want to quit the off grid journey altogether. So off grid men, take note: if you want a female partner to enjoy living off grid with you, keeping the house clean will make a big difference!
Work expectations from women (especially when it requires large amounts of muscle).
While many men and women are capable of doing the same things, it’s important to realize that women may struggle with some of the physically demanding tasks of living off grid. Obviously, Jesse is bigger and stronger than me and therefor, can do many tasks with less effort. I have to work a little bit harder to drag and lift big things around.
For us, Jesse works hard to adapt some tasks around the property so that I can manage on my own if necessary. These kind of precautions are absolutely necessary because working outside all day can be dangerous and accidents do happen. I pull my own weight around the property and know enough to be self sufficient if necessary.
For example, we bought a generator that I can lift, I can fetch and fill up our water supply, I can carry and refill our propane tanks, and I know how to use just about everything in our homesteading tool kit, many of the things which exist so that we don’t have to expend so much physical energy.
Don’t be afraid to have reasonable expectations and try new things.
Our final advice to you all? Be flexible with your expectations and be willing to try new things!
We do think that living off grid is possible for both men and women, especially as a pair, but both genders need to have reasonable expectations. Men need to acknowledge that certain tasks may be more difficult for women, and that many women have higher desired levels of comfort. Women also need to keep expectations reasonable and know that they may need to let go of some of the comforts they are accustomed to, just to give the off grid lifestyle a chance.
So let’s all be reasonable, try new things and not be afraid to step out of our comfort zones! We would love to hear your thoughts on the subject matter whether you’re a man or a woman. How do you feel things differ for the genders (especially woman) as it pertains to this lifestyle?
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