Off-grid living in a Yurt during winter

I’m writing this post from a Yurt, deep in the heart of the Catlins on the south-east coast of New Zealand. We arrived two weeks ago after packing up our three-bedroom rental in easygoing Oamaru. The setup is entirely off-grid with nine solar panels, tank water and a composting toilet. 

“What on earth?!” you may proclaim.

“Wait, friend” is my reply. 

This is the next, entirely logical step in our digital minimalist plan to base ourselves in nature, working and creating. 

My dearest and I have been working towards this for some time. We’ve repaid debts, adapted our lifestyle, and secured work to make it happen.

I lived on the Catlins coast from late 2010 to mid 2013 (with some travel in between) and my dearest is from the Deep South originally. When the opportunity presented itself, we jumped.

It’s taken two weeks to settle in. There’s been a series of minor hurdles to overcome from power management to heating to storage, as well as finding a new routine – one that aligns with the weather, our new companion Tesla, the weather, the needs of off-grid living, and the weather. 

The internet connection is glorious! My greatest concern when embarking on this shift was our ability to work from such a remote location, but no worries there. The Catlins area has well and truly entered the digital age… I mean, even Owaka has fibre! 

Ten weeks have gone by since I wrote or constructed a collage. I focused all my energy and attention on closing a chapter in Oamaru and starting this one that creativity took a back step. 

Now that we’re here, finding space to play with paper isn’t straightforward, especially when you live in a one-room space. Today I resigned myself to the fact that the dining table will be my assembly space for the next while.

Tesla is the #1 reason we’re lucky to experience life in a Yurt. An eight-year-old Vizsla, Tes is beautiful in every way. She’s our buddy until she’s reunited with her family who have moved overseas. Covid19 has made it tricky for animals to travel internationally. Getting ‘the’ call from the pet travel company to say Tes has a place on an aircraft carrier is one great mystery and lottery. 

Tes or no Tes, we hope to stick around these parts. I have grand ideas for erecting a wee writing-slash-art ‘studio on wheels’ on the property here, making papercrete pots, eventually saving enough for a deposit on some land to build on.

Damn, it feels good to be back. The locals known to me are lovely and quirky as ever; the ocean is as wild and expansive as I remember; the bird life is still extraordinary, and the weather is as unpredictable as one can expect from a coastal rainforest during the winter months.

Let the extra glory days begin! 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *