Are You Up to Living the Unhooked Life?

I live in a rural area, but I’m not a homesteader living off the grid. I have a great deal of admiration for those who can live that way. But what if one day we’re forced to survive without today’s modern conveniences?

Estar Holmes has lived what she calls the unhooked life and has written about it in The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living. She was my guest on DestinySurvival Radio this week to talk about it. It’s not an easy lifestyle, and several aspects of it are already illegal. So, are you up to living the unhooked life?

About Estar Holmes

Estar Holmes has lived in a variety of unhooked scenarios over the years. Though her book is about her minimalist lifestyle, she knows how to transition between the unhooked life and today’s modern living.

Estar provides content for traditional and digital media. She writes the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes Unofficial Guidebook. You can also find her writing in Holding Common Ground (a collection of essays), as well as in “Indian Country Today” and “Out There Monthly.” The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living is her first e-book. In it she shares knowledge meant to empower people to live well with less.

About the Book

The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living isn’t a narrative of what happened when. Nor is it a “how to” book, but you’ll glean a lot from her personal experiences and practical recommendations. As it says in the online description, her book “…is a mixture of memoir, polemic, and self-help.”

She wrote much of the book’s content in the mid ’90’s, but set it aside until fairly recently. She has updated it and capitalized on the growing interest in living green and prepping by publishing it as an inexpensive e-book. It’s not available in print at this time. However, you can find out more below on how to get it.

Chapter topics include…

  • Getting Water
  • Life Without Corporate Electricity
  • Good Eating Off the Grid
  • Staying Warm
  • Keeping House and Home
  • …and more

Estar gives practical tips and stories about collecting, storing, viltering and using water. She gets into down to earth issues like grooming and personal hygiene. Her chapter on toilets includes frequent references to The Humanure Handbook.

Estar says radical simplicity is a way for people to be empowered when things spin out of control. We spend a lot of our time and energy pursuing things that are unnecessary. She makes the case that you can have personal necessities without much money or environmental impact. Meanwhile, you can improve your quality of life and the state of the world at the same time.

Unfortunately, the steady march of regulations is tying the hands of those who want to do simple things like drink raw milk, plant seeds, light a fire or collect rain water.

You’ll find from her book and our interview that she’s quite opinionated and freely speaks her mind. Whether you agree with everything she says or not, I hope you’ll find this as refreshing as I do.

About Our Conversation

Our conversation didn’t get into how-to topics. We leaned more toward the philosophical side. I chose to direct our talk that way because you can read the book for all she has to say about her unhooked life experiences.

Estar deliberately didn’t make her book a how-to book because somebody would quibble over details or be inclined to file a lawsuit. By relating her experiences, she conveys the idea that it is indeed possible to live the unhooked life.

Permanently unplugged?–I asked why she doesn’t live that way all the time. For one thing, it’s difficult. For another, she has her own business and earns money in a way that requires the use of electricity. She’s happy in her off grid camp though when she’s there. And the more we all learn to live with less, the freer we will be ultimately.

What to expect–Estar believes we’re destined to go through greater difficulties. Whether it’s something like economic downfall or nuclear war, necessity will force even preppers who have cut back to live minimally.

The laws–In light of the growing number of regulations, is it possible to live where one won’t get caught? Or live where it doesn’t matter? This is
increasingly more difficult.

Is it possible to drop out of the system? Estar doesn’t think it’s possible to completely do so because we all have to pay taxes, etc. Most of us are constrained by money, or the lack of it. Nonetheless, she says we should be outraged that survival has essentially become illegal.

I can’t encourage you to do that which is illegal, but I do wonder why we put up with as much as we do without breaking foolish regulations. Those in power want to hold laws over our heads while they flagrantly break laws every day.

Mindset–Our ancestors lived without electricity and running water for centuries. Do we have it within us to do the same? It means separating ourselves from acquisition of possessions. What do we have in our hearts and minds that will keep us going? We must cultivate a different mindset than that of modern society.

Challenges and rewards–Estar has lived in a converted school bus as well as various cabins and tents. Procuring water was one of her greatest challenges. Rewards include growing her own food with little water, having fire wood to stay warm, and being safe and secure taking care of herself.

Community–It’s important to have a good support network. The proverbial lone wolf isn’t going to make it for long. A resource Estar recommends is the Fellowship for Intentional Community.

She says it’s not hard to find others who want to live simply. The trick is to get along. Our sin nature rears its ugly head, and conflict is inevitable. It’s important to agree on how to handle the situations that come up.

Can we build a new paradigm or system that’s more to our liking? Can we build trade networks to meet our needs? Can we set the example for others to follow? Will we run out of time before this can happen?

If it can go wrong…–There are plenty of bad things that can happen when you’re living unhooked. You could get seriously hurt. Learn from others with more experience.

Be in tune with your environment. Listen to your intuition. Be observant. Think things through before you act. Take time to do whatever needs to be done and don’t worry about the time you’re spending on it.

In a nutshell–and this goes back to mindset–be adaptable.

Find Out More

We talked about so much more, and I encourage you to listen to my extended interview with Estar Holmes on DestinySurvival Radio for June 20, 2013. Find more info at her blog, Simple Unhooked Living, and in pages about Simple Unhooked Living on Facebook and YouTube.

Buy The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living by clicking on its title anywhere in this post. You’ll find it in several formats. One is sure to be suitable for the e-reader of your choice, including your home computer. And it’s less expensive than a printed book.

Also, Estar mentioned during our chat that she has links to maps you should see if you’re thinking of moving to another part of the country so you can pursue self reliance. You’ll want to take a look at her article with those links. It’s 10 Maps About the Best Places to be Free in the US.

Author: John Wesley Smith

John Wesley Smith writes and podcasts from his home in Central Missouri. His goal is to help preppers as he continues along his own preparedness journey.