I am remote. Mostly. Kinda. I mean, it is hard to claim legitimate remoteness when you write a blog, isn’t it? But that contradiction notwithstanding, I am pretty ‘out there’. Off the grid. Isolated. I am certainly not part of any influential information-sharing network. I am not milling about in the madding crowd. I am not in the least way hip. I am way, way out of the loop.
It was not always thus. I rode the merry-go-round. I rubbed shoulders. I chatted at cocktail parties. Been there, done that.
When I lived in Vancouver, I would even, on occasion, be in the news or be part of the news or be part of a news story. No biggie. I worked in Skid Row and the media love doing pieces about that. I helped refugees at one time and that, too, was easy grist for the media mill. Building KIDS ONLY MARKET at a time described as the ‘echo boom’, ensured another minute or two of my allotted fifteen minutes.
It was all less about me and more about the voracious appetite of the media to fill air in order to sell advertisements to, well, people like me. And I know that. But it happened.
So, imagine my surprise to have had several ‘contacts’ over the last few years from media-types doing ‘stories’ on people living off the grid? It is almost a phenomenon.
It isn’t, actually. It is considerably less than a phenomenon but living OTG has attracted a bit of attention. It falls short of a phenom for me because, so far, the media types don’t really want my story. My story is not what they are looking for. I think I am too dull.
So, we chat for a minute and part amicably. And then they write what they write. It is always about something else. Not just someone else but something else altogether.
It is amazing how far off the mark they are. At least from my perspective.
Nick Rosen wrote a book and is currently keeping a blog about living off the grid. But his sense of living OTG is people who live in cars, RVs and up North. He might include liveaboards or desert dwellers who just live far away. He sees some farmers as living OTG because they live remote not because they are actually off the grid. I think Nick misses the point.
And I just had contact from a woman who wants the story of someone who is “….just leaving the city and maybe just bought a farm and, like, maybe is getting chickens and stuff for the first time. You know, urbanites hobby-farming?”
“Oh. You mean like a hedge fund manager who picks up a hundred acres in upstate New York and has a funky barn he gets renovated?”
“Yeah! That would be great!”
“Well, you can contact Michelle Pfiefer, the actor. She has a home up here somewhere. She is rich and has staff, too. Comes in by helicopter. Does that work for you?”
“Ooh, that would be great. Do you have her number?”
I guess Michelle and the fund managers qualify as much as I do as living off the grid but, somehow, it seems like the wrong image. Most of the people I know who live OTG are not wealthy. They are rich because they want for little and rely on less. They do it all themselves (give or take) and they are off the grid because they do not even have direct road access, let alone piped in water, electricity and cable. My definition of OTG is more along the lines of Mother Earth News than it is Lives of the Rich and Remote.
But judging from the media contacts, I am off the mark as well.