Kim, Bodhi and I moved to the Big Island from Honolulu four years ago basically to live more simply. We bought 9.26 acres of blank ag land in the middle of an old growth 'ōhi'a lehua forest. We went to the woods to live completely off the grid and to also like Henry David Thoreau, "live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived." For a year and a half we produced our own electricity with a small solar panel and a 12 volt battery, we caught rainwater for cleaning and bathing (cold garden hose showers), weekly filled an ice chest with blocks of ice for refrigeration and used a five gallon bucket for a toilet.
When I saw divorce looming in my near future last year, I evaluated my life choices, realizing that my income would be reduced by 58 percent. Friends and family members assumed I would get a job to supplement my meager Social Security income, and they urged me to do so. But, as usual, I took the path of independence, carefully thinking over my needs and options.