Well, look who came crawling back

Sometimes escapees come back.

Unplugging from the electrical grid was easy, or relatively so. What we didn’t realise was that we needed the human grid, too. We could replicate it for a while, in our beautifully isolated little neighbourhood, but in the end the longing for deeper, sturdier, more numerous human connections pulled all of us away from the mesa.

From a nice account of living in a remote commune and then returning to civilisation.

This nicely demonstrates a point I’ve been pressing since the first issue of New Escapologist. You can always come back. Escape is not an irreversible reaction.

And in escaping for a while, at least you’ll have tasted real freedom, have stories to tell about it, have learned amazing things in the process and be able to say “I did”:

My family’s 15 years there changed the land, and it changed each of us. In our new town, we live just a block from a lively main street, in a house where the toilet flushes, the lights never dim, and the neighbours’ dinner conversation floats over the back fence. But we don’t use any more power than we did off the grid, and we drive less. The habit of frugality has stuck, so much so that it’s no longer a hardship.

Now I see the mesa as a kind of training ground, a place that prepared us to begin another experiment. We’re trying to take what we learned off the grid and sustain it in a new place, one that’s embedded in society instead of isolated from it.

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Robert Wringham is the editor of New Escapologist. He also writes books and articles. Read more at www.wringham.co.uk/about.

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