I live off grid – my toilet is very unconventional, I shower in the freezing cold and don’t have AC or heaters | The Sun

AFTER biking across the country at age 19, an adventure seeker became hooked on the idea of living off grid.

They now live in the middle of the forest and have gotten used to taking freezing showers and not having access to a conventional toilet.

Calen Otto (@unruly_traveller) is passionate about connecting with nature and living off grid, revealing that they’ve become accustomed to the small inconveniences that come with their daily routine in the wilderness.

Life in a tiny home – made of soil, sand, and straw – is one they don’t want to give up.

“I live in the forest, so I’m removed enough to feel like I have privacy and I don’t have to interact with society,” Calen said in an exclusive interview with The U.S. Sun.

"But at the same time I can walk to my neighbors or drive my van to the local discount grocery store."

They live with a friend, who built the “cob house” they now spend their days in together.

While it’s not a traditional home, Calen said they have all they need, revealing that, as a freelance writer for nonprofits, they even get enough phone service to work from there.

She said: “The house has solar panels, which is how we get electricity.

"And I can take work calls from there, but if I need more Wi-Fi I just drive to the library in town.”

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As for the bathroom situation, that’s a little quirkier.

“We have a compost toilet, so we don’t need a sewage tank. We don’t need to pay for any of that.”

And what exactly is a compost toilet? Calen called it a “very simple” setup.

“You just use a bucket with a toilet seat over it.

“So, you go to the bathroom, and afterwards, you deposit organic materials into it – so that could be sawdust or leaves or anything like that.

"Eventually you compost your waste and it can be used for your garden to grow things.”

While it may seem a little unrefined, Calen said it’s more wholesome than you think.

“There’s a whole process that it goes through to break everything down. So, it’s healthy to use and clean.”

And speaking of the garden, that’s how they get much of their food – following a fully vegan diet.

Calen said: “We also have a discount grocery store that we go to a lot.

"And there are a good amount of places that rescue food that is otherwise going to be thrown out in the dumpster, and they give it out for free.”

They also have their own kind of stove and a sink, using fresh mountain water as its source.

They said: “We cook rice, beans, and veggies a lot.

“But because I’m not meal prepping, I don’t have to store much of it anyways, so we just keep a couple items that need to stay fresh in our cooler.”

That cooler doesn’t have ice in it, but Calen said the temperature is good enough to keep her food fresh for a couple of days – and installing a refrigerator would use up way too much energy.

There are other aspects of living off the grid that took a bit more getting used to.

They said: “You can’t just turn on the air conditioner when it’s hot or the heat when it’s cold.

“But you learn to become accustomed the natural elements.

"If it’s chilly, you put on more layers. If it’s hot, you take them off or go for a swim in the river.”

In the same breath, they said the shower situation might deter some.

“Our shower is outdoors, and obviously you can’t just turn the heat on.

“It’s not a luxurious shower and it’s pretty much always cold.”

That means no warm bath when you’re feeling sick.

“It’s a little annoying or inconvenient sometimes, like if I’m on my period and I just want a hot shower, obviously I can’t have that.”

Still, Calen thinks it’s all worth it and believes others should try it out for themselves in baby steps.

“It’s been really good for my mental health, and the benefits far outweigh any troubles.



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“People should try it, even on a smaller scale like just staying at an off the grid Airbnb, because we definitely need to head that way for the planet.”

Calen posts about their unique life in their blog.

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